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Hiking Las Vegas Blog
Nevada is not only popular for its vast expanse of desert landscape but also for the hidden surprises of Mother Nature that’s waiting to be discovered. Desert hiking, however, needs more preparation and carrying the right gear can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
This is why you must have these essential items in your backpack before heading out to hike.
Things You Must Carry on a Nevada Desert Hike
1. Enough of water: Even though this sounds obvious, many people ignore the need of carrying water in large quantities and end up suffering later. Nevada desert is indeed arid and receives negligible precipitation, so it is very likely to assume that water supply would be scarce.
Hydration bladders are the best way to keep hydrated. Sipping water from time to time will keep you hydrated and make the extreme conditions bearable.
2. Sun block: Again, this is one of the essentials every hiker must have in their backpack, but don’t due to their own negligence. Desert hike will expose you to the harshness of the sun for extended periods of time that may cause serious damage to your skin.
Always go for sweat-proof and higher SPF level sunscreens that will act as a shield to keep your skin safe. Remember, Sunburn is not just an EDM concert; they’re a real thing and can be very nasty!
3. Hats and sunglasses: Admit it or not, most of us forget to pack these two essential items before leaving on a trip. Not having sunglasses will make you regret the whole hike as you’ll be facing the sun glaring into your eyes most of the time.
A wide-brimmed hat comes in handy for extra sun protection for your face and neck, so be sure to include this in your backpack before leaving.
4. High-energy food: One thing that you must carry during every hike is high protein, energy-rich food that can replenish you with the lost calories and other nutrients. Snacks are excellent things to eat on a hike because they contain plenty of healthy carbs, protein, and calories to keep you energized.
While walking in the Nevada desert, you’ll need the energy to persevere through difficult stretches of terrain. Munching on snacks will make traversing through this land a bit easier.
5. Map/GPS: Ever heard about mirages? While the appearance of a Mirage may not entice you with visions of an oasis and fair maidens, it can certainly make you get lost in the desert. This is why you always keep a map and a GPS, particularly when hiking in the desert.
The last thing anyone would want to experience is to lose their trail and end up in the outskirts with nothing but stretches of desert in sight. A printed map and a GPS are must have things in your backpack. Oh! Don’t forget to tell someone that you’re going hiking in the desert.
Also, a cell phone can come in handy if their is an emergency. More and more remote areas now have cell phone service.
Things to Include in Your Survival Kit
Hiking is no doubt very enjoyable, but in the wilderness, things can take a turn for the worse in a matter of minutes. This is where an emergency survival kit comes in handy and may as well pull you out of a life-threatening situation.
This kit generally contains items that are not one-size-fits-all; meaning an excursion in the desert would require things that are much different than a hike in a cold area. So before you head out, make sure you’ve got these things in your survival kit:
• A police type whistle that can act as a vital signaling device
• A multipurpose, sturdy two-bladed knife
• A trusty magnetic compass to keep you on the route
• A small size signal mirror
• Magnifying lens
• At least a dozen water purification tablets
• Adhesive tape for first-aid, repair of clothing, and the removal of cactus thorns
• An energy source if possible
• Flint and steel for the purpose of starting a fire
• At least a dozen pack of matches that are waterproof
• A solid, low energy flashlight
The Beauty of the Nevada Desert
The majestic desert of Nevada boasts of little creeks, rock formations that are a thousand years old, and native wildflowers that bloom once in every ten years or so. To discover all this destination has to offer, you’ve got to be prepared.
So, don’t ignore the essential items we discussed in this guide and get ready to have the best time of your life. Happy hiking!
Hamblin Mtn. is a local favorite hike around Lake Mead. It has a fantastic view of Lake Mead at the summit. Being less than 60 minutes (driving time) from the city of Las Vegas, NV, it seems like a million miles away.
Below is my video review of the hike. It's a moderate hike that follows a wash and then a path to the summit. Most hikers can do this hike.
The 52 Peak Club offers this hike frequently to members during the winter months.
One word of warning: Do NOT do this hike when it's hot. There's no shade or water along the route.
Northshore Peak is one of the best peaks around Las Vegas. It's located near Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake in the country. This is a fairly easy hike with great views. Watch my video review below and let me know what your think.
Hiking is a great way to exercise, connect with nature and relax away from city life. But when we journey out into the wilderness, there are several etiquette tips that must be considered on the trails. Here are a few.
Share the Trail
If you are descending a hill and you see another hiker coming up, be kind and move to the side. It takes more energy to ascend a trail than to descend, so keep this in mind no matter how much of a hurry you might be in. Also, if you are hiking in a group, don’t clog the trail by walking side by side. Instead, hike in a single file line so others can easily maneuver around your group. Also, keep your group size manageable. 50+ hikers in a group is too many.
Leave No Trace
This is a rule for venturing out into the wilderness at any point. Granola wrappers, water bottles or any other type of waste should be disposed of properly, not left on a trail. This even goes for gum wrappers and apple cores etc. While they might be small, it’s disrespectful to other hikers, animals and nature in general. If there isn’t a garbage can around, stick your wrappers and papers in your pocket or your backpack, like the Carhartt Elements hybrid backpack, and discard when you reach a trash bin. Most importantly, leave the trail and surrounding forests as good as, or better than, when you arrived.
We understand. Sometimes there isn’t a bathroom. Sometimes you don’t want to carry your dog’s poop for miles and miles. But you cannot ever leave fecal matter on or near a trail. It is disrespectful and can attract animals which can endanger other hikers. Be sure you walk 200 paces away from any trail, campsite or body of water to bury human or animal waste.
Don’t Destroy Cairns
We know that some people might not appreciate man-made objects in nature, but destroying cairns, the pyramid statues of rocks, is not the answer. These formations are used as guides for other hikers at times, too. Also, don’t add rocks to an already formed cairn. Simply take a photo and keep moving. You can create one of your own later.
Mind the Horses
You are likely to pass horses and bikers on the trails at some point. As a hiker and the slower of the three, allow them to pass as easily as possible. There’s no need to hog the trails. We can’t think of many things worse than getting a hoof to the face while hiking your favorite trail.
Stay on the Trail
Getting lost in the wilderness shouldn’t be at the top of your bucket list. Unless you are an experienced hiker and navigator, stay on the trail.
Leave the Tech Alone
We understand your desire to take photos of the stunning views you encounter. We even understand having a phone in case of an emergency, but answering a phone call or listening to music while on the trails is just rude. Think of the animals in the woods as well as the other hikers. So keep your phone on silent and use it only for picture taking. If battery life is an issue, turn your phone off. Other hikers will thank you later.
Now that you have all the rules of the trail, don’t forget to outfit yourself in the best hiking gear, like the stuff sold by trusted brands like Carhartt! Have a great hiking trip, and pass these tips along to your fellow hikers.
I have created a new video review of another hike that I know you will like.
This time I am reviewing the Fortification Hill hike near Lake Mead.
As you will see in the video the vistas from the summit of Fortification Hill are some of the best in Southern Nevada.
This is a fairly easy hike and 99% trail/path.
Take a look at the two minute video and if you have any questions or comments, leave them below.
Branch Whitney is the author of Hiking Las Vegas and creator of the 52 Peak Club where members hike to the best 52 Peaks around Las Vegas, NV