Desert hiking

Amargosa Trail | McCullough Hills Trail | Canyon Point | Boulder City ride

In addition to the horse/mule trip with Joe Herbst, I spent several more days hiking in the desert. I’ve quite enjoyed being out. For the last few years my trips to Las Vegas have been short, down and back, mostly to see family and a few friends, and I’ve not taken the time to go hiking, but now that I am, I remember how much I love hiking in the area around Las Vegas, what a special treat it is. My sister lives only two blocks from Sloan Canyon NCA, so much of my hiking is there. This week I did the following trips:

small wash on Amargosa Trail
small wash on Amargosa Trail

Amargosa Trail: This trail heads north and then west from my sister’s house, following under the Amargosa intertie high-tension power line, for which is it named. Part of it is semi-natural, and part of it just suburban, but it is a nice path and easily accessible. I followed it as far at Reunion Trails Park, but, with gaps, it continues further west. Photos on Flickr. The photos with flowers are from from hikes in other years. There are very, very few flowers out at this time in this year. Trail on

North McCullough Range in morning light
North McCullough Range in morning light

McCullough Hills Trail: This new trail heads south from the under-construction McCullough Hills Trailhead, just a few blocks from my sister’s house. The trail goes in and out of washes coming off the east side of the McCullough Hills, which are the far northern reaches of the McCullough Range that runs south all the way to California. The trail crosses over to the west side at a low pass, then wanders down to Anthem Hills Park. The eight miles are pretty easy, as a one way or round trip. Just short of the 7 mile mark there is a welter of trails, with the Anthem South Trail, the Bursage Loop, and numerous unofficial trails heading off in all directions, but following the ridge and then the power line downhill leads to the trailhead kiosk on McCullough Hills Parkway, and into the park. The park does contain the Anthem South trailhead, but it is not clearly marked. The trail is a dirt surfaced but wide multi-use trail, constructed mostly with SNPLMA (Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act) funds. Photos on Flickr. Trail on

Note: I’ve posted these two trails to I have used AllTrails a bit, and think it may be the best of the online trails resources. All of them leave something to be desired, but this seems to have fewer limitations and a better sense of the crowdsourcing that many sites don’t acknowledge. The iPhone app that goes with the site sucks, at least on my iPad. I used Motion-X GPS HD on my iPad to create the tracks for these trails. Using this professional grade application allows me the most flexibility to then use the gpx track in other ways.

Black Canyon, view south, Jeff vanEe
Black Canyon, view south, Jeff vanEe

Canyon Point: When I was a kid we’d drive out past the Boulder City dump to the edge of Black Canyon, and drop off the edge. There is an intermediate bench about half way down to the Colorado River / Lake Mojave, and canyons from there down to the river, but they are all difficult or impossible to navigate. Howard Booth introduced me to the pleasures of staying up on the canyon rim and heading north, an area the park service call Canyon Point Mesa. The mesa narrows and ends above Boy Scout Canyon and Black Canyon, with great views all around. Jeff vanEe and I headed out for a walk and talk, enjoying the scenery and the beautiful day, talking about trips long past, and staring plans for some future trips to southern Utah, were we both have spent far too little time in the last few years. We followed out the old road which hooks back south to the Black Canyon rim, where the views and feeling of space remind a bit of Toroweap. Photos on Flickr.

shelter at end of Railroad Trail
shelter at end of Railroad Trail

Boulder City ride: To give my feet a break, I rode my bike on Saturday. Of course now I need to give my left knee a break. I rode streets and the Railroad Trail towards Railroad Pass, hoping to connect with the River Mountains Loop. Unfortunately the trail ends at a trail shelter short of the destination, and there is no clear way to gain the loop. I walked my bike for a while, used the highway to get to the casino, and joined the loop there. The loop is a nice trail, not remote and highly scenic, but enjoyable. I left the trail and rode into Boulder City, rode around town for awhile seeing what had changed and what remained the same, and then had soup and a glass of wine at Milo’s. I took the HDX bus back about 2/3 of the way, then rode streets back to my sister’s. I think I’ll fit in a ride to Boulder City more often, and sample some the restaurants. I also would like to ride the entire loop, 34 miles, but with some pretty signifiant elevation loss and gain. Photos on Flickr.

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