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Hiking Las Vegas Blog
Figure 1 Hiking is an unforgettable experience. But you need to be prepared
We all know why most people come out to Las Vegas. The bright lights and excitement of the entertainment capital are a major attraction for people from all over the country – and the wider world. The Vegas betting establishments are the best on the planet – if you like that sort of thing – and the casinos are always doing good business.
We don’t have anything against the casinos of our home city. But we also know that there is a lot more to this place than just the tables and slots. The desert is a beautiful and vibrant region and one that is ideal for exploring by hiking. More people seem to be discovering this these days. But newcomers and experienced hikers alike should ensure that they are aware of the following safety tips before they head out.
This probably sounds a little vague. But hiking in the Nevada desert is not like other places in the country. The heat and the conditions can really get to you, so preparing well is a necessity.
Figure 2 You must keep hydrated when hiking
Don’t be under the misconception that the heat is the only weather effect you could encounter on a hike in the desert surrounding Las Vegas. You should ideally be hiking in the early mornings to escape the worst of the heat, but make sure you dress in layers to deal with other temperatures as well.
You should check the weather reports before you set out, but you need to know that there are monsoons in Nevada at certain times of the year – and that the weather can change suddenly in the desert. Again, most of the knowledge here will be in the preparation – but don’t head out thinking you are only likely to get hot.
Water is Life
We briefly mentioned this at the start, but we really can’t understate just how important hydration is for hiking in this area. You should really have at least a liter of water for every hour of a hike – but always take extra anyway. You never know when you might come up against unforeseen circumstances.
You should also pack water in a cooler and leave it where you start and finish your hike. That way you can rehydrate immediately after returning. Hiking around Las Vegas is incredibly rewarding but you want to be able to enjoy it to the fullest. Preparing thoroughly is the best way to get the most out of the experience.
We will cover hydrating and hydration in a moment, but there are other things that you absolutely need for a Las Vegas hike.
You should bring sun protection – and that includes hats and sunglasses as well as sunblock to keep out those UV rays. But your feet will also need some looking after. Comfortable hiking boots will give you better traction on what can be dangerous terrain. You should also make sure you have maps, compasses and GPS equipment – and, ideally, already downloaded versions of your route to consult.
The scenery of the desert surrounding Las Vegas is just stunning. But there are plenty of dangers in the sometimes desolate landscape. You can be prepared all you like, but make sure that you recognize the danger signs before it gets too late out in the sun and the heat.
Nausea, cramps and headaches could all mean that you are suffering from heat exhaustion. Make sure you take in water and rest in the shade. Eating high-energy foods is good here too. A flushed face, confusion and dry skin could all mean heat stroke. This is incredibly serious and if you are with someone exhibiting these kinds of symptoms you should cool them down as quickly as possible. Try to get help as well, as hospital attention will be needed.
Spotting animals in the desert is a thrilling experience – and one of the main reasons why many visitors decide to go on a hike in the first place. But you should also be aware that these creatures will be wild and many could be very harmful if they are not afforded the respect they deserve by a visitor – i.e., you.
The animals you encounter should not be dangerous unless they feel threatened but do keep your eye out for any movements in the brush. There are also rattlesnakes to consider. Again, they should keep out of your way, but do carry a first aid kit and include knowing what to do about a rattlesnake bite as part of your hike preparation.
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