The days are feeling longer, your skin is wearing thin, and your legs just can’t seem to move like you want them to. It’s time for a rest day whether you want to admit it or not. Fear not, there’s lots you can do to bide your time until your body is ready to climb again!
Keep in mind, even outdoor activities can cost money unfortunately so many of these outings will cost ya. However, you can save a considerable amount of money if you stick to the basics.
For your convenience, I have ordered these activities from nearest to farthest using the Red Rock Campground as a starting point. If you are staying in Las Vegas, many of these approach times will be shorter!
1. Hiking the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop
8mins or 5km // 7$ per day or 30$ per year
You might have already purchased this pass and are already tired of entering this loop for climbing purposes, but if not, why not stretch your pass to its limit! This loop is full of hiking trails that range from short and easy to long and strenuous. Spend the day trying out a few trails and see where it takes you. Many trails have information boards to educate you about particular vegetation or rock formations, and you might just learn something. Make sure to arrive early in the morning, especially on weekends, to guarantee a parking spot. Tourists love this place!
2. Las Vegas Strip
30mins or 26km // FREE
You might be a climbing dirt bag, but who who can resist the charm of Vegas? Though parking is usually free, I would recommend parking off the strip (at the Gold Coast or Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino) and taking their complementary shuttles onto the strip to avoid traffic. Once there, you can spend as much or as little money as you want! Walking the strip and touring all the casinos are free – it only costs money if you start to gamble or shop. Drinking alcohol on the strip is legal too – which is great when you’re offered free drinks at the penny slots but don’t feel like playing penny slots for too long!
The Strip is much longer than it seems, so be prepared for a long day of walking. It’s worth walking the entirety of the strip, but my favourite walk was between Harris and the Bellagio on the Flamingo side. I like being able to detour through a casino and re-enter the strip with ease. Makes for a very fun day, and can be entirely free if you want it to be!
3. Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
27mins or 30km // 2$/hr up to 12$ (for parking)
This is also known as the “Old Strip”. This strip is pedestrian only and covered by a roof of lights. This is what I think of when I think of Vegas. Fremont Street houses famous casinos like the Golden Nugget and 4 Queens, as well as non-stop street shows and music. This place is worth it merely for the pretty lights!
They have the famous Slotzilla Zipline which zips you above a portion of the strip (prices range from 20$-40$ depending on how far you go). They have different vendors set up as well such as funny t-shirt kiosks, real-live artists, Chippendale models, and more. We had dinner at the Heart Attack Grill where you wear patient scrubs while you eat, drink wine from an IV, and devour large but affordable burgers. Just like the other strip, you are free to enter and exit casinos at your leisure. Again, you’re free to spend as much or as little as you want here.
4. The Hoover Dam
58mins or 79km // 10$ for parking + 10$ for visitor centre
Expensive, but such a famous landmark that it’s hard not to visit. It is free to drive and walk across the dam, but if you wish to park you must pay a 10$ fee. It will then cost you another 10$ if you want to enter the visitor centre, and then more money if you want to take a tour (they offer 30min and 1hour tours). Tour prices include the cost to enter the visitor centre, so if you can find a free place to park (which I’ve heard exist) you can moderately lower your costs.
I did not have a chance to visit the Hoover Dam, but if I did I would probably find a cheaper place to park and do the long walk in. Worth it in my opinion!
5. Arizona Hot Springs
55mins or 81km // FREE
My favourite rest day activity by far. The approach takes about an hour and takes you through a canyon wash surrounded by tall rock walls. The hike is easy to follow and is quite enjoyable. The trail eventually ends with the hot springs, so it’s impossible to miss. The hot springs are divided into the 3 pools with stacked sandbags and filtration pipes, which are the only indications of human involvement. The first pool is incredibly hot, the second pool was slightly less uncomfortable, but the third pool was just right (call me Goldilocks!). We bathed in the 3rd pool for quite some time.
We chose to visit during a full moon after a long day of climbing. The trail was beautiful with the moon light cascading on the canyons around us. Someone had put tea-lights around the walls at the springs so we could see only by candle and moon-light. We met a climbing celebrity there too, which was icing on the cake. I am very fortunate we visited at night, but visiting by day would be just as great.
6. Zion National Park
3 hours or 291km // 30$ per vehicle
Zion is a beautiful park to visit. Leave early in the morning to ensure you have enough time to spend here if you plan on a day trip. There are tons of hiking trails you can do that vary from easy to difficult, as well as tons of climbing if you feel like only taking a mini-rest day. They only offer weekly passes, not day passes so feel free to stay a couple of days to maximize your 30$ entry fee. You are not able to camp in your car or on the trails unfortunately, so make sure to reserve a spot in the designated campground.
We drove there and back in one day, but only had enough time to check out the visitor centre and hike one short trail. However, we still were able to get some beautiful pictures and see some mountain goats up close. It was a short visit, but definitely do-able for a day trip.
7. The Grand Canyon
4.5 hours or 469km // 30$ per vehicle
Another popular landmark! If you are visiting from afar, why not visit while you have the chance? This place speaks for itself – something everyone has to see at least once in their life. It is a far drive, and maybe tiring to do in one day, though I haven’t attempted it myself.
I hope you find some these ideas helpful! Most of all, I hope you enjoy your much needed day of rest. 🙂
Climb on xx