Oct 14, 2022

5 Best Outdoor Winter Activities in Las Vegas

woman kayaking in the colorado river

Winter is usually considered off-season, especially in the city of Las Vegas. It’s the time when many people choose not to travel and just enjoy the warmth of their homes. But guess what? It’s also a wonderful time to go on a trip, escape our stressful routines, and engage in various new activities. Ready to plan your next winter adventure? Las Vegas is one of the best cities to explore, with its glittering lights, holiday festivities, seasonal activities, and wintry nature landscapes.

Visit Las Vegas During Winter

Las Vegas weather is usually dry and humid. Summers are scorching hot, while winters are mostly mild. Freezing temperatures in this city are harder to come by, but they do happen in the colder months. From December to February, expect sunny days and chilly evenings at around 32 °F. Despite cold winter evenings, snowfall is rare and usually occurs in the surrounding mountains above 3,300 feet.

Snow, however, does come on rare occasions, like what happened in 2008 when a historic snowstorm lashed Las Vegas. Its delicate winters make Sin City a perfect destination for people who wants to explore the great outdoors without dealing with huge crowds and hot weather. 

The Most Exciting Winter Activities in Las Vegas

So, how exactly can you enjoy Las Vegas in the winter? Try these outdoor activities.

1. Kayaking

Many kayakers prefer winter months to see nature from a unique perspective. The glassy waters and serene environment contribute to a nature experience they won’t encounter amid summer’s sweltering heat. Although Las Vegas’ winter is generally warm, it’s still best to prepare for fluctuating temperatures and safety.

Black Canyon Water Trail is one of the most extraordinary winter kayaking spots in Las Vegas. It’s located along the remote sections of the Colorado River, only 45 minutes from the Strip. Guided kayak tours are offered all year round through Evolution Expeditions, starting from the base of the Hoover Dam or at Willow Beach and sometimes ending at the Eldorado Canyon.

kayaking in Las Vegas during the winter

Traversing this 30-mile stretch means exploring the Colorado River’s stunning secrets, from hot springs and waterfalls to caves and slot canyons. Among its many highlights is the Emerald Cave, an attraction famous for its bright green waters and tight passageways.

Even if you’re just kayaking a small section of the Black Canyon Water trail during winter, wear insulative clothes and keep your things in a dry bag. Meanwhile, those planning to navigate the entire route must plan their paddle itinerary well, as days are shorter during winter. 

2. Ice Skating

Visit an ice skating rink in the heart of the desert. Each year, the 4,200-square-foot pool at the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Tower transforms into an ice skating rink, featuring different themes throughout the season.

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is a luxury casino hotel consisting of two towers, the Chelsea Tower and Boulevard Tower. Its rooftop ice skating rink is a popular destination at the Strip, visited by families and friends who want to have some holiday fun. Come Christmas, the entire place turns into a magical land filled with fun music and fire pits for smores-making.

There’s also a dining area where you can enjoy seasonal food and beverages. Of course, some people prefer to skate indoors in a controlled environment, but gliding in an outdoor rink while breathing fresh air and enjoying beautiful scenery is definitely more memorable. 

3. Winter Hiking

During winter, Las Vegas trails are quieter and more forgiving. Fortunately, you don’t need to travel far from the city for an invigorating winter hike. The Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs Trail is a moderately strenuous path featuring breathtaking canyon views.

Some sections require scrambling, but the challenge is worth it! This trail leads to natural hot springs you can soak in after a difficult journey. Another winter hiking destination is Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, also known as Mount Charleston. It covers more than 50 miles of campgrounds, offering recreational opportunities all year round to residents and visitors.

Within the park is the 5.7-mile Bristlecone Loop Trail, home to Bristlecone pine trees, some of the oldest living trees in the world. It’s quite a long, exhausting hike that takes more than two hours to complete.

You may encounter some rocky spots along the way, so navigate carefully. These hazardous areas can be dangerous during winter when snow settles on steep slopes.

Want to combine kayaking and hiking? Try our Hoover Dam kayaking tour and hot springs hike.

4. See Glittering Lights 

After ice skating and spending time in Mother Nature, see the Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It’s the biggest holiday drive-thru event in Nevada, brimming with five million glistening LED lights and 1,000 display elements. View sparkling decorations from your car while listening to catchy holiday music.

The best thing about this event is that it’s more than just an elaborate holiday attraction in luxurious Sin City. Glittering Lights is actually an initiative to support local schools, charities, and churches. Many local organizations and businesses unite to make this annual display a reality and spread holiday cheer around the community.

As drivers pass by, local coupons are also given away for hot cocoa, gift bags, and other access to other community events.

5. Go Camping

During winter, there's less noise and more roaming space, helping you appreciate the wonders of outdoor living. Boulder Beach Campground, just a few minutes from downtown Las Vegas, provides an excellent winter camping experience for people all year round.

Paved areas can accommodate large RVs, tents, grills, and fire pits, perfect for family getaways! The Red Rock Canyon Campground is also worth exploring, especially for campers who want to spend time in a remote location. 

While it's just 20 miles from the Strip, it's a bit isolated, with the visitor center set two miles from the campground. On the site, you'll find individual and group campsites with walk-in and reservable areas. Wherever you choose to camp, don't forget to bring a quality sleeping bag and wear warm clothing. 

Plan Your Las Vegas Winter Trip Today

Get outside and take full advantage of Las Vegas’ mild winter months. Traveling during the cold season gives you a chance to book at the very last minute, take more unique photographs, and do one-of-a-kind activities that you can’t always experience in the blistering summer months.

Ready for your next big adventure? Book a guided kayak tour in Las Vegas with Evolution Expeditions today.

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