Chances are, when you think about Vegas, you think about greed, sex, drugs, and money. When I think about Vegas, I think about wellness. Here’s why.
Some of the most breathtaking hikes in the world are in and around Las Vegas. About half an hour in any direction from the Las Vegas Strip will land you in God’s country. A few of my favorite trails are: 3. Fire Wave Trail at Valley of Fire State Park, which is a beginner-friendly one and a half mile hike with such beautiful sandstone rock that you may forget whether you’re in Nevada or Utah! 2. Ice Box Canyon at Red Rock Canyon, which is a two and a half mile intermediate hike that apexes at a colossal canyon wall. 1. Arizona Hot Springs Trail, which is a 5-7 mile out-and-back or full loop option that can (if you’re taking the fun route) take you past the Colorado River and up a 20’ ladder (recently replaced with sturdy, safe stairs) to three approximately 110-degree hot springs. Either route you take is family-friendly, but if you take the trail by the river, it’s more scenic and longer – so, expect young’uns to want to be carried.
Pro Tips for hiking Arizona Hot Springs:
> Dress smart.
MudGear provides compression socks, sleeves, shorts, and breathable tanks and tops — MudGear has quickly become my top apparel recommendation for running, rucking, and hiking.
> Bring extra socks and shoes.
You never know what may be at the bottom of the hot springs, with plenty of people frequenting them a day (lots with bottles and cans). You’ll want to wear your shoes into the hot springs and have an extra set to hike back.
> Stay the course.
We used AllTrails app to be sure we didn’t veer off the trail. They offer a 7-day free trial.
> Plan seasonally.
The hot springs are closed during the summer months. Plan to hike to the Arizona Hot Springs during modest-weather months. Right now is prime!
> You may see some birthday suits.
Wear what you’d like to dip into the hot springs. Some wear their hiking clothes; some change to swimsuits; some wear nothing at all.
Arizona Hot Springs Trail is located just past the Hoover Dam, on the Nevada/Arizona border (40-miles from the Las Vegas Strip).
Outdoor adventurers are often mistakenly thought of as campers. I live for a great hike, but pitching a tent and sleeping on the ground is a hard no. I don’t even care much for the trendy euphemism they call “glamping.” When the day is done, I prioritize a solid night of sleep in a temperature-controlled room with obnoxiously-large thread count sheets, a bathtub that looks like it came right out of a Restoration Hardware catalog, and pin-drop quietness. Obviously, lavish hotels aren’t hard to find on the Las Vegas Strip, but quietness can be. Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is located on the far south side of the Las Vegas Strip, just removed from the cacophony up the street. It’s cleverly positioned a quick walk away from the sensory overload Vegas is known for. It provides peace and respite for the health-minded traveler.
Waldorf Astoria Spa Las Vegas is routinely nominated as Nevada’s Best Hotel Spa by World Spa Awards. One visit and you’ll see why. This luxurious retreat sits high above the Las Vegas Strip, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the opulent scene. Upon arrival, you’ll be offered prosecco or a beverage of your choice. A mocktail in a champagne flute is sobriety with panache. (Teetotalism is “in.” It tops my list of wellness recommendations). You’ll also have access to lite bite snacks. Nosh as you explore the spacious relaxation rooms. Start with a heated lounge chair, where gentle heat emanates through a tiled surface creating an inviting place to rest. From there, grab an iced towel and explore the sauna and laconium. You can’t go wrong with any of the massages, facials, or body therapies for your rejuvenating spa service.
Pro Tips for Waldorf Astoria Spa:
> Book your spa treatments in advance. Waldorf Astoria Spa is accessible to hotel guests and visitors, alike. Appointments fill up quickly.
> Arrive early. You will not want to rush your time in the steam room, laconium, cold therapy, warm therapy, or lounger.
> Bring a book to read as you relax in a heated lounge chair. I recommend A Short Guide to a Long Life by David Agus, MD.
> Bring a swimsuit. Don’t make it weird in the jacuzzi for other people.
> Bring a change of clothes. The locker rooms provide hair styling products and all the goods for you to shower and clean up for whatever you do next. I recommend sushi at SkyBar on the 23rd floor.
Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart and lungs, and triggers the release of pain-killing, brain-happy endorphins and serotonin. It’s sometimes said that laughter is the best medicine. But dark and dirty comedy is a bad pill. What you allow into your eyes and ears triggers thoughts and behaviors. To live a well life, you have to control what you permit into your senses. For a show in Vegas, choose a clean performance to inspire joy, laughter, and positivity. My choice was Nate Bargatze. Bargatze’s signature self-deprecating humor, relatability as a parent in his 40s, and explicit-free language make him my favorite comedian. Bargatze will be back in Las Vegas on June 10, 2023.
Whether hiking glorious trails in MudGear, basking in the peace and quietness of Waldorf Astoria, or sharing a laugh at a clean comedy show, you’re sure to experience wellness in this desert paradise, formerly known as Sin City.
Cover Photo Courtesy Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas.
Brook Benten, M.Ed., is a professional life coach in Austin, TX. She has over two decades of experience as an exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer. Her Texas Lifestyle Magazine articles have an overarching wellness message. She wants you to be well, not just because it’s good for you. She wants you to be well because it’s good for everyone. @BrookBenten