Las Vegas has a natural advantage for hikers, with the multitude of hills, mountains and nature trails in the area. Whether you want to get away to the summits or just enjoy a family walk along the Bonanza Trail or Pittman Wash, there is something for almost everyone in the Valley. And best yet, the views are spectacular.
Las Vegas Overlook
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89135
This hike is of moderate difficulty. With a length of 6.3 miles, it takes the average hiker between one and three hours because of the elevation rise on the way to the Muffins and the Overlook. The reward is an amazing view of Red Rock Canyon and Las Vegas Valley before you take the steep trek downhill again. Make sure to bring plenty of water and hiking boots are essential. If you look carefully, you may find seashell imprints on Blue Diamond Hill. If you want to see your accomplishment afterward, take the Scenic Drive and see just how far you actually trekked.
Frenchman Mountain Summits
This challenging summit hike follows a rough-cut road and takes about half a day to complete the 4.9-mile route. It is dog friendly, but is recommended for more experienced hikers, and is definitely worth seeing in cooler weather between October and May. Be prepared, because there are no restrooms at the trailhead, which is identified by the gravel road that leads you south toward the ridgeline. The summit holds communication towers and one of the most spectacular views of Las Vegas. Bring lots of water, wear hiking shoes/boots, carry a pole to help with loose rocks and bring snacks to keep up your energy.
Bill Briare Park
650 N. Tenaya Way
The Bonanza Trail runs for six miles, following Summerlin Parkway and U.S. 95. The trail begins near Durango Drive at the Angel Park Trail (Point 1), running to Valley View Boulevard at the Pioneer Trail (Point 2). The Bonanza Trail ends at the Red Rock Bicycle Trail near Valley View Boulevard and Alta Drive (Point 3). Features include tunnels, a pedestrian bridge and bike lanes. This is a family-friendly trail and you can walk as far as you desire before turning back. Bring lots of water, a snack and bikes if you prefer.
White Rock Loop
This beautiful 6.3-mile hiking trail is of moderate difficultly and is dog- and family-friendly. You should be able to complete it within three hours. It’s fascinating to see how the Mojave Desert changes as you trek along the trail, from the barren desert vegetation of the east side to the more lush surprise of a juniper and pinon forest on the west side. If you have younger hikers with you, it is suggested that you hike clockwise from the picnic area to make the hike upwards take less time and effort before you once again head downhill. Because of the small water pool on the trail, sometimes you can see bighorn sheep. Other interests include pictographs (rock art), a Native American roasting pit and Indian paintbrushes.
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Pittman Wash Trail
The 80-mile Pittman Wash Trail is a phenomenal way to feel like you are actually within the desert, even with the greening of Henderson. You can hike the trail, jog, ride bikes, take photos of the animals and birds along the way and simply enjoy the adventure. You may have to cross a road to continue, especially with the on-going improvements, and sometimes you have to be careful going under roads, especially after a rainfall. It’s a fascinating introduction to the natural side of Las Vegas for children and newcomers, and there are picnic tables and benches located along the path. Make sure to bring hats, lots of water and snacks in a backpack as sunny areas are quite warm in summer. A portion of the Wash even has a little memorial to pets and people who regularly used the paths before passing on. Because of the urban nature of the trail, you can stop at any time and turn back to go home again (handy with children and leashed pets in tow).
Sharon Damon is a preschool specialist, avid reader, passionate writer and creative baker/ cook. She has been a cooking instructor at a local Rec Center in Henderson, NV since 2011, and has written for Examiner and other publications since 2010. She knows her way around the keyboard and the kitchen! Sharon moved from a small city in Canada to Las Vegas 6 years ago, to marry the love of her life, and has since been swept up in the whirlwind known as Sin City. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.