Sarah Feldberg
Sarah Feldberg

For much of the country, the end of October means fall in earnest. Crisp days and cooler nights, leaves changing and less and less time spent outdoors as winter creeps ever closer. 

Not in Vegas.

Fall in Las Vegas is outdoor season, when summer's stop-in-your-tracks heat finally gives way to warm, sunny days that won't leave you feeling roasted. That means it's time to take advantage of the valley's natural attractions, which often come as a surprise to visitors who expect to the see the Strip in the midst of a scenic void.

Embrace the pleasant weather and natural environment with one of these easy-access adventures:

Find your inner cowboy
Strip away all the neon and glitz, and Las Vegas is an Old West oasis, a brief blip in an otherwise rugged desert that was once the domain of cowboys and miners. Just 30 minutes from the Strip, saddle up with Cowboy Trail Rides for a sunset tour ($169) of the Spring Mountains and Red Rock Canyon, taking in the sights on horseback before making your way back to camp for a cookout dinner. Toast a few marshmallows over the campfire, then it's back into town, 18 miles — and a whole universe — away.

Climb a cliff
Just west of Las Vegas, the Red Rock National Conservation Area is home to world-class walls that draw climbers from around the globe. But you don't have to be an expert to gear up and give them a try. Red Rock Climbing Center offers outdoor guides (starting at $175) and indoor classes, so you can learn the basics at their Las Vegas gym or hire a guide to help you apply your budding skills outside on routes like Amusement Park Wall or the Hamlet.

Slay the singletrack
The end of summer means the start of mountain biking season, when riders hit epic singletrack trails winding through scrubby hills. One of the top spots for riders is Bootleg Canyon, where over 30 miles of trails of varying difficulty levels crisscross the desert landscape overlooking Lake Mead. Rent a rig from the local experts at All Mountain Cyclery, then buy a pass for the weekend shuttle ($25/day), so you can take the easy way up before bombing down.

Paddle the Colorado
Just below the Hoover Dam is Black Canyon, a gash in the Earth carved by the Colorado River that is perfect for kayaking. This stretch of river is moving flat water, which means the current helps you along without any big bumps or rapids. Desert Adventures offers full-day trips ($199) for novice or experienced paddlers where you'll cover 12 miles of river while exploring beautiful canyons, gliding through Emerald Cave and taking a dip in natural hot springs along the way.

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