If you’re a hiker or you frequently find yourself outdoors, have you tried off-roading? Relying on your vehicle to navigate off roads while exploring national forests, mountains, and deserts is one of the most liberating feelings ever.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert off-roader, whenever you’re in the Las Vegas area, you’ve got to try adventuring through these 20 incredible off-road trails.
What makes a good off-roading spot? The answer is actually pretty simple: an abundance of natural beauty coupled with a drivable path.
The best off-roading spots around Las Vegas are going to be in the Overton, Indian Springs, and Jean areas. You’ll find some impressive off-roading spots in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Mount Charleston Wilderness, and the Valley of Fire State Park, so keep your eyes peeled.
Although Las Vegas is usually known for its many gambling opportunities, wild nightlife scene, and tourist attractions, it has some excellent off-roading spots that can’t be ignored.
Off-roading trails near the city are a great excuse to escape the noise of Las Vegas and trade it for some peace and quiet in the nearby desert. It’s a great escape.
You should definitely off-road near Las Vegas, if not for the escape, for the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and native plants you’ll see along the way.
1. Lucky Strike OHV Trail
One of the best off-road trails near Nevada is Lucky Strike OHV, a 12.5-mile point-to-point trail at an elevation gain of 4,685 feet. It’s a difficult route close to Las Vegas, known for both off-roading and hiking.
Still, you probably won’t run into many other off-roaders; it’s usually pretty quiet.
Lucky Strike OHV is beautiful to visit any time of the year, from January to December. From wildlife to the rocky views, this off-road trail hosts all the beauty of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
As of November 2022, there’s a reservation system in place for the route by the Red Rock Canyon.
2. Mount Potosi OHV Trail
If you’re out near Jean, Nevada, this 23.5-mile out-and-back trail could be right up your alley. It’s not the easiest route, so Mount Potosi OHV isn’t great for beginners.
Mount Potosi OHV is pretty popular, so chances are, you’ll see some other off-roaders, hikers, or campers.
You’ll want to visit Mount Potosi from June through October for the most scenic drive. It’s a steep climb with large boulders, making it a gorgeous but semi-difficult trek. People have even reported seeing wild horses on their drive.
Like Lucky Strike OHV, you’ll need a reservation from Red Rock Canyon for this trail.
3. Valley of Fire OHV Loop
The Valley of Fire OHV is a 22.2-mile loop trail with an elevation gain of 1,417 feet. Located near Overton, Nevada, it’s regarded as an intermediate or difficult trail for off-roaders. It’s more bumpy and rough than other trails.
Even though it’s a common off-roading spot, that’s not to say it’ll be crowded; going at “quieter” times will help. The Valley of Fire OHV has beautiful scenery, with stunning sand dunes and rolling hills. The trail goes right through the Valley of Fire State Park.
Although some trails allow them, you’ll have to leave your dogs at home for this trail.
4. Seven Magic Mountains
If you’re a beginner to off-roading, the Seven Magic Mountains trial could be perfect. It’s a 0.2-mile out-and-back trail close to Jean, Nevada. It’s a much easier route than many of the other trails on our list, so you really can’t go wrong with this.
At Seven Magic Mountains, you’ll see bright, colored boulders — an artistic roadside attraction — alongside the rugged natural landscape.
Although it’s a good first off-roading spot, it’s also great for walking and hiking. Seven Magic Mountains is a pretty popular spot, so you might have to beat the crowds if you don’t try to go during off times.
5. Mojave Desert
If you’re looking for a moderately challenging trail, the Mojave Desert trail might be your best bet. It’s a 137.9-mile point-to-point trail with an elevation gain of 8,513 feet.
You’ll want to visit the Mojave Desert trail from October through April. It’s stunningly beautiful, with far-reaching, constantly-changing desert views.
Make sure that if you have a group of more than 25 people or more than seven vehicles, you’ll need a permit. You can find applications on the Mojave preserve’s website.
It’s pretty popular, so expect to see some other off-roaders or hikers.
6. Mormon Well Road
Mormon Well Road is a 45.1-mile point-to-point trail running close to Las Vegas, Nevada. It has an elevation gain of 4,084 feet and proves moderately challenging for most off-roaders.
Luckily, Mormon Well Road is beautiful year-round, no matter what month or season you visit. It runs right through the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
Because it’s not a gravel, maintained road, you’ll probably want a four-wheel drive for this trail. Don’t forget to sign in at the visitor center and bring lots of water to combat the dry heat.
Although it’s perfect for off-roaders, lots of people visit the Mormon Well Road trail for hiking and camping, too. That being said, it still shouldn’t be very crowded if you’re considering taking your vehicle.
7. Lava Butte OHV Trail
Located near Las Vegas, Nevada, the Lava Butte OHV route is an 8.6-mile point-to-point off-roading trail. It’s a moderate route but can be appropriate for beginners. Just be aware of potential rutted or washed out areas.
This mellow trail might not be as scenic as the Mojave Desert or the Mount Potosi loop, but it’s still worth the drive, especially if you already have a love for off-roading.
The trail shouldn’t be super crowded, and it’s likely you’ll get some peace and quiet while exploring Lava Butte OHV. On average, people report the trail taking them about a bit over an hour to complete.
8. Burro Wash OHV Trail
Running right through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Burro Wash OHV trail is a 4.2-mile out-and-back trail. This route is moderately challenging, with an elevation gain of 2,604 feet, and is located close to Boulder City, Nevada.
Burro Wash OHV is a bit less crowded and quieter than other trails, and you probably won’t run into loads of people while off-roading here. It’s pretty rocky, but by the end of the trail, you should be greeted by the Colorado River.
Because Burro Wash runs through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you’ll have to pay a fee to enter. If you’re planning to off-road here, know that the fees to enter will be per vehicle (or per person if you’re hiking).
9. Wheeler Pass OHV Trail
For those who’re more experienced off-roaders, the Wheeler Pass OHV trail will be a challenge. It’s a 26.9-mile point-to-point trail with an elevation gain of 2,417 feet, located close to Indian Springs, Nevada.
Although it’s well worth the journey, the Wheeler Pass OHV trail usually isn’t crowded, so you’ll get to enjoy some solitude during your trek.
You’ll drive right through the Mount Charleston Wilderness, and all year round, this area is gorgeous. Some of the more scenic views (besides the wildlife, of course) include sprawling forests and rocky inclines.
10. Devil’s Peak Trail
Although it’s relatively short in distance, Devil’s Peak Trail is decently challenging, with some significant obstacles, making it better suited for more experienced off-roaders. It may even be considered one of the more intense trails in the Las Vegas area.
Devil’s Peak Trail runs just over a mile and is pretty steep as far as off-roading spots go. In fact, this trail is the most visible peak in Nevada’s southern end. The trail goes all the way to the top of the pass; however, it’s possible for you to keep going when off-roading.
When tackling the Devil’s Peak, it’s best done in a four-wheeler with an experienced spotter. Even so, expect some damage or even scraping.
11. Rocky Gap Trail
The Rocky Gap Trail probably gets its name from its seriously rugged route, running from the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
It’s an 8.9 mile trail with beautiful canyon views. The wildlife is also a wonderful part of this off-roading spot, as it’s not uncommon to see bighorn sheep or other animals. As you drive along the Rocky Gap Trail, you might see some agave roasting pits created and used by indigenous tribes.
You can tackle this trail with a four-wheel drive, but keep in mind it’s still pretty rough and washed out in some areas. To combat this, you can bring a good spotter, a shovel, a high-lift jack, and a tow rope.
12. Tie Rod Canyon
For a moderately secluded, more challenging route, try off-roading at Tie Rod Canyon near Sloan, Nevada. It’s an out-and-back trail that runs 19.7 miles with an elevation gain of 1,758 feet.
As you might expect, the scenery while driving through Tie Rod Canyon is picturesque. Among the views you’ll see, hikers and off-roaders alike rave about the gorgeous waterfalls and rocky landscape. There’s not much shade, so the sunlight really illuminates the route.
13. Railroad Canyon
If you’re interested in history, the Railroad Canyon trail might interest you. It’s moderately challenging and crosses under a tunnel with railroad tracks (hence the name) built in the 1920s. It’s a 4.2-mile trail with an elevation gain of 1,062 feet.
Railroad Canyon is just south of Las Vegas, and offers some unique views that are best enjoyed any time of the year. From rolling hills to stretches of desert, off-roaders often mention the impressive scenery.
However, some areas are washed out, so you might run into trouble if you don’t have off-road tires and a lift.
14. Pine Nut Road
Running about 6 miles long off of another off-roading trail, Mormon Well Road, Pine Nut Road is an in-and-out route.
Pine Nut Road isn’t too challenging, but keep in mind it’s a little bumpy, rocky, and washed out in some places. It’s also pretty secluded compared to other off-roading spots, so you can enjoy some peace and quiet while you’re here.
This trail runs inside the Pinyon-Juniper Woodland zone, which provides a lot of shade to off-roaders and campers alike, thanks to which means the campsites are shaded by the local greenery, including twisting Utah junipers and single-leaf pinyon trees.
If you like camping, there are some sites near the end of Pine Nut Road that you can camp at.
15. Amargosa Dunes
The Amargosa Dunes are an incredible stretch of land that runs through Southern Nye County and covers about 3,200 acres.
When off-roading through the Amargosa Dunes, you’ll be treated to grand views of the natural sand dunes. Because of the firm sand, sand tires are recommended, but not necessary. There’s also plenty of native plants and animals to be aware of. Off-roaders are the largest threat to sensitive species like the big dune beetle.
If you like camping as well as off-roading, dispersed camping is allowed. Although camping is a viable option for off-roaders, if you have any mobility or other disabilities, keep in mind that it’s not ADA accessible.
16. Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Road runs about 17 miles at an elevation gain of 4,930 feet and is open all year long. It’s a pretty easy drive on mostly gravel and dirt roads.
Because Gass Peak Road goes through the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll be able to enjoy truly impressive mountain and desert landscapes. The scenic desert views are praised by off-roaders, hikers, and campers. The trail finishes in Las Vegas, so you can also appreciate the lights and ambiance of the Las Vegas Strip.
Although it’s better to travel on Gass Peak Road with a four-wheel drive, it’s still possible with a two-wheel drive.
17. Color Rock Quarry
The Color Rock Quarry Road is a pretty rough dirt road at the edge of the Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area, north of Las Vegas by about an hour.
You should be totally fine in a two-wheel drive for this off-roading trail. It could be a bit washed out in areas, but for the most part, it’s an easy, safe drive.
Among the desert views, you’ll also be able to see some of the natural wildlife and native plants, including cacti. While off-roading here, you’ll be able to gain access to rock climbing spots, camping sites, hiking trails, and petroglyph sites.
18. Cow Camp Road
If you’re familiar with Alamo Road, Cow Camp Road is a side shoot of Alamo. It’s a bumpy, rough off-roading trail that stretches from the desert flats all the way up to the Sheep Range’s west edge.
There are plenty of sightseeing opportunities, from Wagon Canyon, Cow Camp Spring, and Picture Canyon, among other spots. Because it’s not very developed or maintained, it’s quite possible that you’ll be the only person for long stretches of the trail.
As long as there’s good weather, you should be fine in a two-wheel drive.
19. Joe May Road
Sometimes referred to as Joe May Canyon Road, Joe May Road is a trail that stretches up the Sheep Range’s west flanks from the desert flats.
Joe May Road can be washed out, rough, and bumpy in a few places, but a two-wheel drive should suffice in good weather. It’s perfect if you’re looking to take a short off-roading trip to enjoy the desert views or see the sprawling wildflowers.
It’s a wild, remote trail, meaning it’s extra important to bring appropriate supplies. Things like a shovel, a tow rope, a spare tire, and food and water are must-haves for this off-roading trail.
20. Kodachrome Road
Last but certainly not least, we have Kodachrome Road. If you’re trying to escape the sounds, sights, and lights of Las Vegas, Kodachrome will take you from Lake Meade to the Las Vegas Wetlands park area in about 17 miles. It has an elevation gain of 1,198 feet.
The geologic features are the star of this trail. You’ll be able to see black and white rock and red sandstone, among other interesting views. Feel free to bring your bike, too, just in case you’d like to take a quick ride through the trail and surrounding areas.
The Las Vegas area has a lot to offer, from the Las Vegas strip to the sandy stretches of deserts. However, the off-road trails of the Las Vegas area are severely underrated. If you’re ever in the area and have an interest in off-roading, try your hand at one or two of these trails.
You’ll be able to escape the chaos of the city and trade it for sprawling landscapes and scenic views. What’s better than that?
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.