R eal quick, let's do some word association. I'll start: LAS VEGAS.
Let me guess: neon, poker, tourists, strippers, the Strip, The Hangover, NEON, possibly also Cirque?
All that's well and good, but what if I told you that Las Vegas is one of the best places for outdoors enthusiasts in the country? And I'm not talking about ATVs or dune buggies or Jet Skis, though of course you can do all that crazy stuff too. I'm talking hiking, climbing, cycling, horseback riding, kayaking, skiing (in REAL snow!). I'm talking four seasons' worth of outdoor activities -- most of them doable damn near year-round. 
If you're wondering if people really come here for more than just $22 vodka Red Bulls and strippers, the answer is yes. There is a whole other side to Las Vegas. In a city with its whole seedy underbelly widely exposed, even celebrated, this is the Las Vegas underworld. And most of it is just 20 to 30 minutes from the Strip. So put down the poker chips. Get outside.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area | SeaLifeInspiration/shutterstock
Lake Mead | Daniel McLean / Flickr
Valley of Fire State Park | Travel Stock/Shutterstock
Lake Las Vegas | Josh Metz
Mount Charleston, Nevada | GO Mt Charleston
Death Valley, California | KennStilger47/shutterstock
Zion National Park, Utah | Vladimir Protasov/Shutterstock
Joshua Tree National Park, California | Standa Merhout/Shutterstock
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah | pixelshop/shutterstock
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona | David McNew/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Great Basin National Park, Nevada | Arlene Treiber Waller/shutterstock
Arches National Park, Utah | IrinaK/Shutterstock