Top Ten Running Spots near Las Vegas, Nevada

Top Ten Running Spots near Las Vegas, Nevada

By Theresa Schill

     Being an athlete in Las Vegas may seem impossible with all of the partying, but locals know otherwise. There are all different types of athletic groups in Las Vegas, which includes avid runners. Even beginners can find a niche here. For those who are tired of running around your neighborhoods, here is a compilation of ten of the best spots to run in Las Vegas. Some of the routes below were created using MapMyRun (website: mapmyrun.com), which is a free, useful tool for any runner. The runs listed below are ordered from least challenging to most challenging with distances and elevation taken into consideration.

  1. Parks (0.5-2 miles, zero-light elevation gain): Many parks in Las Vegas host nice walking/running courses. Normally, the course has a sign detailing the length and sometimes explaining different routes to take. Below are two examples:

 

-Sunset Park: Sunset Park is home to two courses. One, currently under construction, is the mile long course surrounding the pond. Second, is the new addition on the South side of the park where a paved course winds through the underbrush and splits off in different directions. Both courses are relatively flat, dog friendly, and are excellent choices for beginners and seasoned runners.

Route Instructions: Park in the parking lot on the South side of Sunset Park. The entrance to the trail around the underbrush is at the South end of the parking lot. Make sure to read the sign near the entrance describing the routes to take. Then, enjoy a beautiful run.

http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/depts/parks/Pages/parkslocator.aspx

 

-Wetlands Park: The Clark County Wetlands Park is a beautiful place for a sunrise run. Home to many birds and other wildlife, the trails around the Wetlands are paved and well kept. It is a great place for a relatively short run with your camera. All of the trails are half of a mile long, and dogs are only allowed on the Duck Creek trail.

Route Instructions: Start at the trailhead and continue following the paved pathway, stopping to take pictures and enjoy the scenic view. Make this your fun run!

http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/Depts/parks/Pages/wetlands-park.aspx

  1. Fremont Street (2.2 miles, zero elevation gain): Fremont Street is one of the most cultural parts of Las Vegas where a wide variety of people can be found. Running Fremont would be a fun experience at night during the lights show. Dodging people will be a constant during your run, so make sure to bring plenty of patience and the desire for a great time.

Route Instructions: Start at Stewart and Main Street. Run down Main St. to the Fremont experience. Continue on Fremont and turn left onto 13th St. (right after Maryland Pkwy.). Take the first left onto Ogden Ave. Turn right onto Las Vegas Blvd and left onto Stewart.

http://www.vegasexperience.com/

  1. City of Henderson Running Trails (varying distances and elevation gain): There is an extensive trail system throughout the City of Henderson where bikers and runners alike are welcome. The trails are paved and have some lighting for evening runs. The trails are also wide enough for a group of people and are of varying distances with access to the main streets for runners who prefer to run in a loop. Below is one example of a trail along with a link to the City of Henderson: Trails and Bike Lanes website.

 

-Pittman Wash Trail: The Pittman Wash Trail is a 4 mile trail stretching from Pebble Road to Arroyo Grande Blvd. It is probably no surprise to say it runs alongside the Pittman Wash. It is easy to access with parking at three spots: Pecos-Legacy Park, Silver Springs Recreation Center, and Arroyo Grande Sports Complex. It is well paved, dog friendly, and wide enough for larger groups.

Route Instructions: Park at any one of the above parks and start running along the wash. When you feel tired, either turn around and run back or hop onto the main streets and loop back to the start. Make sure to look at the routes ahead of time since there are many directions to take.

http://www.cityofhenderson.com/parks/parks/trails_and_bike_lanes.php

  1. Railroad Tunnel Trail (4.4-7.4 miles, light elevation gain): The trailhead is located at Lake Mead, SE of the entry to Boulder Beach, between the visitor’s center and Hoover Dam. The Railroad Tunnel Trail is another great sunrise run. Dogs (on leashes) are welcome on a gravel walkway. Runners will travel under five tunnels before reaching the Lakeview Point scenic outlook. This is a great place to rehydrate before running back the same direction. Due to the location of the trail, it can get extremely warm during the summer, so many do not recommend running after 9am.

Route Instructions: Directions to the trailhead can be found in the last three links below. Once you have parked at the trailhead, follow the trail from the beginning to the end (after the fifth tunnel). If you want to add an extra 3 miles to your run, continue through the gate after the fifth tunnel. It will take you further around then force you to double back.

http://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/hikerr.htm

http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/LAME/Railroad/_Railroad.htm

http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/RailroadTunnelTrail_4120.asp

http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/LAME/Railroad/rrtunnel.pdf

  1. River Mountains Loop Trail (varying distances and elevation gain): The entire trail is 35 miles long and circles through City of Henderson, Boulder City, and Lake Mead. If you’re looking for an in-town weekend getaway, this is one place you consider. There are camping spots on the Lake Mead area of the trail, so grab your sleeping back and lace up your shoes for the perfect athletic weekend.

Route Instructions: This one is up to the runner. There are too many places to begin this trail to be listed here. The link below is a map of the entire trail, including parking and camping spots.

http://www.rivermountainstrail.com/trail%20map/images/32miles.gif

  1. Seven Hills Loop (3-8 miles, 174-285 ft. elevation gain): Think hills and lots of them! The Seven Hills Loop route will challenge any runner to pick up their feet and keep going. There are a couple of parks along the way if you need to stop for water or the restrooms, but the fountains do not always work so be prepared to carry some water.

Route Instructions: The 3 mile run starts at Allegro Park on Seven Hills Drive, continues around the Seven Hills Loop, and ends right back at the park. This route can easily be made longer by moving the starting point further away from the loop. Otherwise, a more challenging route can be seen in the map to the left where the run starts on the corner of Coronado Center and Horizon Ridge Pkwy. If you want to add a few extra miles and more hills turn onto Grand Hills instead of completing the Seven Hills loop. Beware of steep drops!

  1. The Strip! (10 miles, zero elevation gain): Many locals stay as far away from the Strip as possible, but runners know this is prime training grounds. Running the Strip at 5am includes dodging cleaning crews, stairs galore, random tourists cheering you on, taking elevators, and witnessing “the walk of shame.” Starting before the sun rises gives you the best of both worlds: seeing the Strip lit up in the dark and watching the sun rise over the casinos and hotels.

Route Instructions: Park in the Mandalay Bay parking garage, then run North on Las Vegas Blvd until you reach Charleston. Cross the street and run back on the opposite side of Las Vegas Blvd.

http://www.visitlasvegas.com/

  1. Bristlecone Trail, Mount Charleston (6 miles, higher elevation): The Bristlecone Trail was featured in the Las Vegas Track Club Annual Forest Challenge. There are no paved pathways during this run, so it is important to watch where your feet land. If you are looking for a run with clean air away from the city, this is the place for you. Plus, you will get the added bonus of elevation training!

Route Instructions: Park at either the upper or lower trailhead. Directions to the trailhead can be found in the links below. Run from one trailhead to the other (about 5 miles). Then take the paved road back to your car (1 mile). Use the last mile on the paved road as either a cool down or an addition to your run.

http://www.eatstayplay.com/html/nv/a3643p1062c2079.html#

http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/Mt_Char/Bristlecone/_Bristlecone.htm

  1. Valley of Fire (11 miles, will be hills): Rocks have never looked so beautiful as the do in the rising sun until you have been to the Valley of Fire. Another place for a weekend getaway, the Valley of Fire has campsites with a beautiful view, including a few free spots if you get there early enough. There are several great hiking trails and wonderful photography locations to explore. Plus, the Valley of Fire is the perfect location for a scenic run. This is a fairly challenging route filled with hills and pleasing views.

Route Instructions: Start at the visitor center parking lot and run up the scenic drive to the top (White Domes) then turn around and come back to the visitor center.

http://parks.nv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/2012-VofF-screen.pdf

  1. Red Rock Canyon (13 miles, difficult): Anyone training for a marathon should consider running the one-way scenic drive in Red Rock Canyon. The route is composed of sharp inclines and declines to prepare anyone for major hills. If you want a shorter route, most of the easy-moderate trails are decent for running. It is extremely important to watch where your feet land since it is fairly easy to roll an ankle on loose rocks. Depending on the time of day, some of the trails can get busy. Early morning is less busy and very beautiful as the sun first hits the rocks. Enjoy the sights and breathe in the fresh, clean air of Las Vegas without the smog.

Route Instructions: Park at the visitor center and run the entire loop. The end will take you out to the freeway. Turn left and walk back to the entrance using the time to cool down from the long run. Otherwise, choose a trail from the link below, park at the trailhead, and enjoy.

http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/hikes_trails.php

Now that you have all of the routes you need to keep you busy, grab your shoes and a good friend, and let’s go!

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