Las Vegas Running Routes:
University of Nevada
For more running routes, see Routes List.
Having grown up in Florida, I was prepared to hate Las Vegas: a giant tourist-rip-off full of tacky amusements in what was once a beautiful piece of nature. I'd seen too much of that already. But somehow, I can't help loving Las Vegas, too. It's just a place full of fun-loving, normal folks, just out to have a few interesting nights-out. Everyone is pretty relaxed and good-natured about it, the shows are great, and some of the developments, like the Aria Resort, are beautifully done. Even if a lot of other stuff IS pretty tacky, what the heck.
|The Strip at night in Las Vegas|
A more immediate problem for runners, and all other pedestrians, is that Las Vegas is definitely NOT very pro-human in its transport system. Every second street corner along the southern Strip totally lacks a pedestrian crossing, and you have to go up high stairways to cross the cars from above. One such pedestrian bridge ended abruptly at the entrance to the Treasure Island casino, and I just kept running through the slot machines to get back out to the street. The same thing happens at the Belaggio Hotel, the hotel of hotels in Las Vegas. There are no real parks or quiet streets to run in the town center: the freeway of I-15 blocks access from the west, and the only park-like spots are fenced-off golf courses.
NOTE: If you have a car and free time (I had neither), you can drive 20 miles (30-km) west, out to Red Rock Canyon and run/hike in glorious nature. I would definitely try this, if possible!
Most of the big casinos and hotels are on the south end of the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) nowadays, so that's where we will start this run. And because there is hardly anywhere else interesting to run, we'll just do a simple run up and down the street. I have to say, this is an interesting street. And this is where just about everyone runs in the mornings. We'll just regard the various pedestrian bridges as hill work.
Las Vegas Strip Route
We have to start somewhere, so we'll do it at the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, where a lot of hotels are bunched up: the Tropicana, the MGM Grand, New York New York, Hooters and the Excalibur. We'll just run north, up one side of the Strip and back south down the other side.
NOTE: I assume that if you are there in the abundant hot weather in the summer, you'll have enough sense to run in the early mornings to avoid heat-stroke.
|Running the Strip in the morning|
Starting at the giant lion in front of the MGM Grand, on the east side of the street, we'll take off. With the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty across the street, as well as a Brooklyn Bridge without Brooklyn, off we go. We'll pass the Hawaiian Market and the Harley café, with the gargantuan City Center project on the left.
After Paris and its Eifel Tower and Arche de Triomphe, you'll see a landscaped courtyard in front of the Bally Hotel, with the fake waterfalls. Do a short loop there.
|Paris, Las Vegas|
The majesty of ancient Rome at Caesar's Palace is evident across the street, with its Colosseum and the Forum. A block later, and Venice rises up on the right side, with a simplified version of St. Mark's Plaza, but strangely lacking the canals.
And, in my eyes, even more majestic is Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, blaring out my kind of music.
We'll just keep running north to Circus Circus Drive, cross the street there, then run back south again. But you could really turn around anywhere you feel like it, of course. If you continued northwards, you'd run through the northern end of the Strip, where the old downtown gives it a feeling of the old Las Vegas of the 1960s, with fewer gigantuan projects (find the downtown route here).
|The route as it winds through the Treasure Island casino|
And at Caesar's Palace, the Bellagio and New York New York (run over the Brooklyn Bridge) you can run a bit away from the street through their landscaped property.
And once over the Brooklyn Bridge, you're back at Tropicana, and the end of this fun and interesting run.