Saturday, June 30, 2012

Places to Run in Las Vegas

I've lived in the Las Vegas area for nearly 25 years.  Why people come here on vacation is beyond me. But they do.  Some who visit enjoy running.  Here are some good running spots.

Your Hotel Treadmill

Running outside June-September is not recommended unless you go early in the morning (before 7:00) or after the sun sets.  It's too darn hot.  Make use of your hotel treadmill.  Find one overlooking the pool if you want some refreshing scenery.

Red Rock Canyon - $7.00 per vehicle

Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock--as the locals call it--involves a 17-mile drive west on Charleston, if coming from the strip.  The 13-mile one-way loop is the only way to get to the canyon's hikes and vistas.  It also makes for a great impromptu half-marathon.  I'll warn you before you choose the impromptu half-marathon option: The first five miles involve a serious incline.  The remaining eight miles involve hills, most of them going down.  Red Rock hosts a half marathon and marathon in March as well as a five-mile ascent run in January.  If you prefer trail-running, there's plenty of trails.  Just don't get lost and require getting airlifted out.  Not only will you feel stupid, but you'll unnecessarily burden Southern Nevada taxpayers, including me.

Valley of Fire - $10.00 per vehicle

Valley of Fire
Take I-15 north for about 45 minutes and enjoy one of Southern Nevada's hidden treasures.  Valley of Fire features the same type of red rocks as Red Rock Canyon but has better hikes and a longer road on which to run.  The Valley of Fire is way too hot in the summer and is best enjoyed in spring or fall.  Winter's not bad either.  If you're feeling up to it after a night at the tables, the Valley of Fire Marathon is held annually in mid-November.

River Mountain Loop

The River Mountain Loop is accessible from numerous locations in Henderson, Boulder City, and The Lake Mead National Recreation Area (which charges a $10.00 fee per vehicle).  The loop is a paved 35-mile path that goes through Henderson, Boulder City and Lake Mead.  The easiest way to get there from the strip is to take I-15 south to I-215 east until it turns into Lake Mead Parkway.  Go about six miles and right before you enter the recreation area, there's a parking lot on the right.  If you're a triathlete and wish to get in some training, enter the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and head to Boulder Beach.  Boulder Beach is home to several triathlons, including the Pumpkinman in late October-early November and Showdown at Sunset in April. By the way, Boulder Beach is not a good swim beach.  It's main purpose is for triathletes and people too cheap to rent jet skis.

Mt. Charleston

Mt. Charleston in Winter
This is about the only place you can run in the summer with a reasonable expectation of not getting heat stroke.  The main problem is if you start at the top of Mt. Charleston, the descent goes quick and it will be hot soon.  There are, however, plenty of high elevation trails for hiking and running.  Try the Lee Canyon side if you desire an elevation over 7650 feet.

Sunset Park

If all you're looking for is a regular old run, then head south on the Strip, turn east on Sunset Road and drive about five miles.  The park is huge and you have several options: (1) Just park anywhere and run your little heart out; (2) Find a trail at Sunset Regional Park, just after McCleod on the right; (3) Run the 1-mile or 1.5-mile loop.  The entrance for this loop (my preferred running spot) is just North of Warm Springs on Eastern.  As you're coming down Sunset, turn right on Eastern and go about 3/4-mile.  Turn left.  The loop is on the right and is impossible to miss if you're in the correct parking lot.  If you reach the train tracks you've gone too far. The small loop is a mile. The extended loop is 1.5 miles. This loop hosts occasional Saturday morning fun runs and, if you're lucky, you'll see me slogging around the track.  By the way, beware of coyotes at night.

The Strip

It sounds glamorous, but running on the Strip is annoying.  The Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll Marathon and Half Marathon is held here in December.  It's an annoying race.  You'd have more fun at the Red Rock or Valley of Fire Marathon.


  1. Red Rock Canyon is where I want to run one day. Looks awesome!!

    1. It's a great place to run or hike. I planned on running a half there during marathon training but I got hurt a couple weeks before. If you're ever in Vegas, let's run it together (you'll have to slow down for me, though).