Nevada is home to numerous hiking trails throughout the state. For the novice hiker—or one who just doesn’t have a lot of free time—the Silver State also has several shorter hiking trails for hikes under 3 miles. From the splendor of Red Rock Canyon and Great Basin National Park to neighborhood parks with scenic trails to alpine lake trails, here are 12 of the most amazing Nevada hikes under 3 miles.
1. Calico Tanks Trail
Located in Red Rock Canyon, this 2.2-mile moderately trafficked out-and-back trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature exploration, and birding, and is best used between February and October. Dogs are welcome on this trail; however, they must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Ice Box Canyon Trail
This 2.4-mile, lightly trafficked loop trail is also located in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just west of Las Vegas. This difficult hike is best done between September and May due to the potential for scorching southern Nevada summer weather. While dogs are permitted, they must be leashed at all times.
3. Silver Willow Trail
This moderately trafficked 1.7-mile trail is located in Reno, follows Morgan Creek, and is perfect for all skill levels.
4. White Domes Loop Trail
One of the more popular hikes in the Valley of Fire State Park, this easy 1.3-mile, well-marked loop hike features sandy terrain, a natural arch, and a slot canyon. It does get a bit rocky, however, so be careful when walking and taking pictures in this beautiful area.
5. Alpine Lakes Trail
This gorgeous three-mile loop trail in Great Basin National Park takes hikers by Teresa and Stella Lakes at the base of Wheeler Peak. Hikers travel through a forest of forest of Englemann spruce, aspen, and timber pine before reaching a dramatic alpine setting decorated by the stunning lakes and spectacular views of Wheeler Peak. Further up, blooming primrose and shooting stars reveal a small spring. This is a perfect hike for small children and can be combined with Bristlecone and/or Glacier Trail for a longer, more difficult hike.
6. Lone Mountain Trail
This 2.2-mile up-and-down ascent of Lone Mountain upon a moderately trafficked trail provides amazing views of the surrounding Las Vegas Valley. This slightly challenging hike features beautiful wildflowers and a rugged, well-worn path
7. Keystone Thrust Trail
Located near Las Vegas in Red Rock Canyon, this 2.2-mile hike allows hikers to see the intersection of large, colorful geologic eras from 60 to 65 million years ago when North American continental plates pushed up the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west, elevating deep limestone layers over the sand dunes in what is now Red Rock Canyon.
8. Dorostkar Park Nature Trail
This 1.5-mile moderately trafficked loop trail is located off Mayberry and Aspen Glen Drives in Reno. Alongside the Truckee River, hikers are treated to beautiful views. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept leashed.
9. Moenkopi Trail
This two-mile easy hike in Red Rock Canyon traverses a limestone ridge and provides spectacular views of the Wilson Cliffs and local desert wildflowers.
10. Cottonwood Canyon Loop Trail
Located in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas and tucked away behind a residential/commercial area, this nearly two-mile-trail winds around Cottonwood Canyon Park and provides beautiful desert scenery and green clearings.
11. Whitney Mesa Nature Preserve Trail
This 2.8-mile, moderately trafficked hiking trail near Henderson features gorgeous wildflowers and stunning views of Henderson and Las Vegas. As there isn't much shade, if you plan on hiking this trail later in the day, bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
12. Cathedral Rock Trail
Located in Toiyabe National Forest, Cathedral Rock Trail is a 2.7-mile, out-and-back moderate trail near Las Vegas that is used primarily for hikers and horses. Mt. Charleston Lodge, Mary Jane Falls, and Mummy Mountain are visible near the top, and the Palmer chipmunk often makes an appearance.
Nevada is a great place to hike, and with the large variety of hikes under 3 miles across the state, hikers of all ages and skill levels have many options. Whether you are looking for a quick and easy early morning hike, a lunch break jaunt, or a take-your-time picnic hike, there are several shorter hikes throughout this wonderful state. Have you had the pleasure of hiking any of these trails? Did I leave any of your favorite hikes under 3 miles off this list? Please share your thoughts, experiences, and comments below.