What Happens When A Hiker Goes to Las Vegas

When I booked a trip to Las Vegas, I figured I would feel out of place around all the lights and people and noise. I went with an open mind and zero expectations. I didn’t have any “outdoorsy” things on my schedule, because I knew all my time would be spent within the city. And boy was I pleasantly surprised! After spending just a few short hours wandering The Strip, I realized just how similar Las Vegas is to being out on the trails.

At first glance, Las Vegas does not seem like a typical outdoor destination. It’s actually a hiker’s paradise. Yes, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park, and the Grand Canyon are all a short drive away, but I’m talking about the actual city of Las Vegas. The Strip. Downtown. Fremont Street.

If you are more comfortable with canoes than casinos, bears than Blackjack,

You need to hydrate

Rule #1 of being a hiker is drinking a lot of water, lest you get dizzy and dehydrated. The same rule applies in Las Vegas—hydration is key. And I mean drinking actual water and other hydrating beverages, not alcohol. Whether you’re busy sightseeing, enjoying those giant daiquiri bombs, or just plain thirsty from the dry desert air, hydrate hydrate hydrate!

And fuel properly

Rule #2 of going on a long, arduous hike is bringing plenty of food so that you don’t get weak and slip into a calorie deficit. The same holds true for being a tourist in Las Vegas. Yes, you’re surrounded by buffets and In-N-Out and cupcake ATMs, but it’s really easy to lose track of time, skip a meal or two, drink too much, and… Make it a point to stop every few hours to sample local food (I personally loved rattlesnake sausage pizza) so you have enough energy to party all night.

There will be walking. Lots of it.

Hikes can be lengthy. Duh. But you will log just as many miles trekking through the streets of Las Vegas. The Strip is deceivingly long—4.2 miles, to be exact—so you can’t exactly walk from the Wynn to Mandalay Bay in a few minutes. Pair that with walking through the expansive maze of casinos, and you will easily log double-digit miles in just one day.

You will lose all sense of time

Anyone who has spent more than a day in the wilderness knows how it goes—when you’re outside, away from your daily routine and work schedule and cell phone service, time essentially stops. Days of the week don’t matter. Time of day doesn’t matter. You just…exist.

And boy does this hold true for Las Vegas as well. They purposefully have no windows inside any casino because they want you to lose all sense of time. Which is wonderful and disorienting all at the same time.

Would I go to Las Vegas again? Probably. But next time I will be sure to hit some of the local parks during the day for some real hiking, then come back into the city to indulge in all the buffets.

Tanya Twerdowsky

I am a Jersey girl living in Alabama who loves to run far and eat lots.

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