Desert Companion

Open Season

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Photo by Christopher Smith

Sloan Canyon is open, as are most of the region's most popular outdoor recreation areas

 

Fall is a good time to hike around the Vegas Valley, but … what’s open now?


Fall is the most popular season for outdoors activities around Las Vegas, when the oppressive heat finally abates and the air turns temperate. Navigating the various COVID-related closures and restrictions has been difficult, but currently, all of Southern Nevada’s parking lots, trails, and outdoor spaces are open as normal. Visitor centers and other park buildings do require indoor use of face masks, though, regardless of vaccination status.

Here’s the 4-1-1 on the area’s popular recreation spots:

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Now through May 31, 2022, a reservation is required to enter the Scenic Loop from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The loop is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through the winter months. The visitor center and the gift shop are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Interpretive talks are held on Tuesday mornings, and guided hikes are scheduled on Sundays. To mark National Take a Hike Day, November 14, the Southern Nevada Conservancy will host a hike to La Madre Springs, one of the few reliable sources of water in the park. West on Charleston Boulevard, past the edge of town, redrockcanyonlv.org

Mount Charleston

The Spring Mountains Visitors Gateway is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday, offering interpretive talks and interactive programs every day. The main building has a gift shop, restrooms, and water. Beginner-level, family-friendly trailheads can be found here, too. The group picnic area remains closed, but all other infrastructure is open. West on Highway 157 from US95, gomtcharleston.com

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire is a great place to enjoy breathtaking sandstone without the crowds of Red Rock. Rangers partner with local hiking experts (including me!) to offer a variety of guided hikes on New Year’s Day every year. The visitors center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. North on I15 to Exit 75, parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire

Desert National Wildlife Refuge

Corn Creek is the only visitor center that remains closed; however, the restrooms are open and potable water is available. DNWR’s roads and trails are open as well. The Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages DNWR, has proposed gated access and a $10 entry fee to help deal with increasing crowds here and at Pahranagat Lake. The public comment period ended in September, and any changes would not go into effect until late 2022. US95 North to Corn Creek Road, fws.gov/refuge/desert

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

The visitor contact station is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  seven days a week. Because of the sensitive nature of the site, the petroglyphs are only accessible during these hours, and pets are not allowed in Petroglyph Canyon. Multiple entry points with varying levels of accessibility, blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/nevada/sloan-canyon-nca

Clark County Wetlands Park

Photo by Christopher SmithThe Wetlands Park hosts numerous nature walks and interpretive talks every weekend, and there is a guided birdwatching event on November 21 (registration required). The visitors center is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 7050 Wetlands Park Lane, Las Vegas, clarkcountynv.gov

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