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Hiking Las Vegas Blog
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Each spring, thousands of keen hikers descend upon Southern Nevada in a bid to tackle the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area trails. It is an incredibly fun and picturesque walk to embark on amid the springtime climate, so it’s popularity during this season comes as no surprise.
If you’re a hiker and want to try out Red Rock Canyon, you need to bear in mind that your safety is going to be put in jeopardy the moment you embark on the trail. By failing to plan beforehand or making one wrong move while you are out hiking, you could land yourself in serious danger.
Here’s how you can stay safe while you hike the length and breadth of Red Rock Canyon:
Keep the weather forecast in mind
As you are probably already aware, even during the spring, the Southern Nevada weather can be unforgiving at times. Forget to take Mother Nature into account in this instance, then, and you will more than likely land yourself in real danger.
Most of the time during this season, the Mojave Desert climate is warm and sunny — on the odd occasion, though, the blistering heat of the Nevada summer will come early, and temperatures will sore. If the temperature is forecasted to be particularly high, it’s best to avoid hiking completely. On the other hand, if it’s supposed to be excessively windy, rainy, or stormy (which it very well can be during the springtime in Nevada), then it’s best to stay at home and wait for the bad weather to pass. There’s absolutely nothing to be gotten from you choosing to, maybe quite literally, enter the eye of the storm and tackle Red Rock Canyon when the weather is tumultuous, so check the weather forecast before you embark on your trail to ensure that it is safe for you to do so.
Hike in groups
To ensure that there’s someone there to assist should you, say, fall victim to one of Red Rock Canyon’s many uneven and cracked surfaces, you need to resolve to only ever hike in groups. There’s nothing to be gotten from you trying to tackle this trail alone, so put that ego to the side and don’t do it!
If you have no friends or family members who want to hike the Canyon with you, then make sure to keep an eye on www.escapewithpro.com. Here, you will find information on a wide range of multi-day group hikes — it’s down to you to keep tabs on the website in order for you to be the first to see when a Red Rock Canyon hiking expedition is taking place.
Do not overexert yourself
Even if you have embarked upon your hike with a group of people that are far more accomplished at walking long distances than you are, it’s essential that you do not overexert yourself. Red Rock Canyon is home to a plethora of trials, each of which varies in difficulty, so you’ll always be able to find one that suits your hiking skillset.
If you ever choose to hike across Red Rock Canyon, you have to remember that staying safe is paramount. Take the above advice, then, and make sure you finish the trail in one piece!
In 2018, there were over 42.1 million visitors to Las Vegas, and odds are, most came to gamble in the casinos and take in the shows. But the entertainment capital offers a whole lot more, including some fantastic scenic hikes just a short drive outside of the city.
Keep in mind that the best time to visit for getting out on the trails is between November and March when it’s cooler. Hiking in the summer during the day isn’t advised as temperatures can reach as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit in some places – in the shade.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Just 17 miles west of Las Vegas in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area, there are over 30 miles of scenic hiking trails. The Calico Hills are near the visitor center and are the area’s signature feature. You can access it from several points along the trail that runs from the visitor center to the Sandstone Quarry which runs along the front side of the red stone ridge before leading into the heart of the stunning rock hills and boulders. While the total length of the hike is six miles, most opt to hike a shorter portion, making it easily doable as a quick day trip from the city.
If you’re looking for something longer, the White Rock-Willow Spring Loop traverses 4.4 miles of diverse scenery, from desert and cactus to mountains and pine trees, with opportunities to spot view petroglyphs, bighorn sheep and other wildlife along the way. Adding the La Madre Spring trail will bring you to a year-round spring and bring the trek to a total of six miles.
Valley of Fire State Park
Only an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, you’ll find Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. It’s home to stunning rock formations that make it look as if the landscape is shooting fire from the sands of the desert. Created more than 150 million years ago through erosion, you’ll be able to see them along with ancient petroglyphs and trees by hiking, with a number of easy, short and colorful options for all levels and ages of hikers.
If you only have time for one hike here, make it the 1.2-mile Fire Wave trail which brings breathtaking vistas of the colorful rock mounds and hills that are stretched out in every direction. In the spring, there are colorful wildflowers, and just about any time of year you might glimpse some bighorn sheep too. The trail leads across a sandy slope from the parking lot, bringing views of the red rock ridges and mountains in the distance. Brilliant hues or orange, pink, yellow and red will be laid out before you, bringing the opportunity to explore both on-trail, and off.
Less than 45 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, Lake Mead straddles the border between Arizona and Nevada as one of the world’s largest manmade lakes. It’s famous for its awe-inspiring scenery that includes views of Joshua trees, red sandstone rocks and lava hills in addition to providing the opportunity for all sorts of outdoor adventures, including hiking. While there are multiple options, the Red and Black Mountain trail is 5.6 miles round trip and brings spectacular views of both Lake Mead and Las Vegas.
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