Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Hiking Las Vegas: Explore the Beautiful Desert

The average temperature in the Mojave Desert jumps 20 degrees between the months of April and June, meaning May is the best time to get outside and enjoy the brief window of spring weather before the mercury spikes. There are plenty of great Las Vegas hiking trail systems around the valley. Ditch the slot machines, put that rental car to good use and slather on the sunscreen!


Red Rock Canyon

Las Vegas hiking doesn’t get much better than the trails within Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The numerous trails of the park vary in length and difficulty. The park entrance fee of only $7 per vehicle grants visitors access to 20 different trails along a 13-mile scenic loop. World renowned for its rock climbing, the park employs a full-time “climbing staff” to answer visitors’ questions, recommend routes and provide directions.

Calico Hills trail is rated easy to moderate. The 2- to 6-mile loop boasts stunning views of the brilliant rock formations stained a vibrant red by the oxidized iron deposits. Hikers can expect a 1- to 4-hour round trip. Ice Box Canyon trail is another popular hike in the park. Perfect for a hot day in the desert, this canyon sees little sun during the day, resulting in much cooler temperatures. The 3-mile trail is considered moderate, but hikers should expect plenty of rock scrambling. Efforts are rewarded tenfold when the trail ends in a waterfall feeding a pair of crystal clear pools.

Estimated cost of Uber ride from mid-Strip: $30

Springs Preserve

This 180-acre nature preserve in the heart of the Las Vegas Valley offers hiking and biking trails, an art gallery and interesting exhibits. Explore the nearly 4 miles of easy trails to discover native habitats, archaeological sites and historical displays. Highlights include a butterfly habitat and fully restored “railroad cottages,” some of the first permanent structures built in the valley for the railroad workers and their families.

Admission to Springs Preserve is $18.95 for non-resident adults and $10.95 for non-resident children ages 5 to 17. Kids will love the interactive exhibits in the Nevada State Museum on site, and the whole family can grab nutritious meals at Divine Café.

Uber: $12

Wetlands Park Nature Preserve

Operated by Clark County Parks and Recreation department, Wetlands Park encompasses 210 acres along the Las Vegas Wash in the eastern valley. Visitors will find eight hiking trails, picnic areas and cycling access. There are both unpaved and ADA accessible paved trails within the preserve. Wildlife viewing areas abound as hikers can catch a glimpse of 212 species of birds and 70 species of mammals that call the area home. Be sure to bring along a camera because you’ll want to capture the natural splendor of these desert wetlands. The on-site Nature Center and Exhibit Hall are free to enter and open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Uber: $16

Mount Charleston

The highest point of Clark County at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, Mount Charleston and the surrounding Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest provide a pine-filled reprieve from the busy Las Vegas Strip. Some of the best hiking outside of Las Vegas can be found here. More than 10 trails and a half dozen campgrounds welcome visitors. More importantly, temperatures on the mountain average as much as 30 degrees lower than in the valley.

Mary Jane Falls is one of the more popular hiking trails in the area. A round-trip of only 1.5-miles, hikers can spot plenty of local fauna, a variety of wild flowers and a pair of cascading waterfalls. The trail is considered moderate, and hikers should come prepared with additional clothing, plenty of water and appropriate footwear. The falls flow year round but are most spectacular during spring months.

Uber: $53

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