Las Vegas is one of the nation’s hottest destinations, perhaps a little too literally this time of year.
Escape to one of these five spots and you’ll be sure to find cooler daytime temperatures and possibly chilly but refreshing mornings and evenings.
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
The recreation area covers a large geographical area. In summer, your best bet will be to head up to Mount Charleston to hike, camp or just picnic.
The Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway sits at an elevation of 6,600 feet, with most trailheads starting even higher.
(A good rule of thumb, though not a scientific one, is to subtract about 5 degrees for each 1,000 feet in elevation. So if its 100 degrees in Las Vegas at a 2,000-foot elevation and you’re headed to Mount Charleston at 6,600 feet, it might be 20 to 30 degrees cooler there.)
Cedar Breaks National Monument
At an elevation of more than 10,000 feet, this is your best bet for cool temperatures.
Summer highs are usually 60 to 70 degrees with nights dipping into the low 30s and 40s.
The annual Wildflower Festival is in July, and you can enjoy free Star Parties throughout the summer.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Expect daily high temperatures for July in the low 80s with nighttime temperatures in the 40s.
On moonless, clear nights in the park, where there is no artificial light, you can see more than 7,000 stars.
Enjoy ranger-led hikes, trail rides, camping, lodging, astronomy programs and full-moon hikes (the next full moon will be July 16).
The rim’s elevation ranges from 8,000 to 9,000 feet.
Flagstaff — located at an elevation of 6,900 feet — makes a great central location for day trips to Grand Canyon National Park, Wupatki and Walnut Canyon national monuments and Sedona. The town also boasts excellent restaurants and lodging.
Be sure to visit the Lowell Observatory, the Museum of Northern Arizona and The Arboretum at Flagstaff.
South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Some of the best views into the canyon are from the Rim Trail. This is a great starter hike that can be done in small segments or the entire 12 miles.
A good way to do this is by hopping on the free shuttle at the Village Route transfer station and taking it to Hermit’s Rest, the farthest point. Walk as far as you feel comfortable — back to where you started, or get back on the shuttle at one of the 14 stops.
The average elevation here is about 7,000 feet.
If you go
What to pack: Bring clothes you can comfortably layer for the cold mornings and evenings. Afternoon thunderstorms are common this time of year, so be sure to bring rain gear. Also, a backpack, sunscreen, sunglasses and hiking boots or sneakers with good tread.
Length of stay: Except for the Mount Charleston area, be sure to plan on two or three nights minimum.
Caution: Many of these destinations have high elevations, which could lead to altitude sickness or other health issues. Don’t overexert, and if you start showing symptoms, head for lower areas.