The scenery in Nevada will forever be associated with some of the greatest road trips man has ever undertaken.
Long, straight highways that stretch out forever, surrounded by dusty plains, sweeping hills, looming mountains, and giant azure skies, Nevada truly is some of the finest riding country in the world.
The legendary Route 66 runs across the lowest tip of the state, taking road trippers within spitting distance of sights like the Hoover Dam, and the great gambling city of Las Vegas.
Whether you’re taking your own bike out for the trip of a lifetime, or emulating your silver screen heroes and hiring a Harley Davidson for a high-powered holiday, you can hit some of the most iconic roads on Earth and see some incredible sights while you’re at it.
Here are some of the routes and landmarks we recommend adding to your Las Vegas biking trip itinerary.
One of the best ways to take on some of Nevada’s most exciting, challenging riding is to start your trip in Vegas. After soaking up the sights and sounds of sin city, and perhaps winning a few bucks at the casino, you can ride straight out into a landscape of canyons, desert, dunes and wildlife.
Head west to Pahrump and hit Highway 190, which stretches out for 135 miles before you reach Death Valley. While it might sound desolate, there are some great places to stay, such as Furnace Creek, where you can even find a visitor centre, museum, and plenty of hotels that will give you a comfortable bed and – if your time in Vegas gave you a love for casino games – free WiFi in case you need to login to pokies to see what new slots and table games are available online.
Red Rock Canyon
Just an hour to the west of Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon, where you can find some of the very best views in Nevada. The area benefits from being managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of its National Landscape Conservation System, meaning the scenery is wonderfully well preserved for you to enjoy.
The 13-mile scenic loop at Red Rock takes you from the visitor centre up to Calico Springs and High Point Overlook, where the views are breathtaking. You can park up and take a walk to Turtlehead Peak for an alternative angle, or continue on to Lost Creek, Ice Box Canyon, and the Red Rock Wash Overlook, all of which are not to be missed.
The Grand Canyon
No ride out from Vegas would be complete without a trip across the border into Arizona and into Grand Canyon National Park. This is not a ride for the faint-hearted, however. The Grand Canyon is 280 miles (450km) from Vegas and you’ll need to be ready for at least five hours of potentially hot riding on sweltering roads.
Grand Canyon North Rim and South Rim, within the national park boundaries, are popular and often crowded with tourists, but a more intimate end point for your journey can be found at Grand Canyon West, where there are only two main viewpoints but the setting takes you wonderfully close to the canyon floor, river and walls. This doesn’t offer the classic views of the canyon that you see on photographs, but you’ll be away from the crowds and in a perfect location to reflect on the ride of a lifetime.
- Article author is Steven Fraser.