If you’re looking for lesser-known hikes in Southern Nevada, here’s a hint: They’re not in the Red Rock loop.
The area is beautiful, and we love it, but today we’ll be talking about secret spots that deserve more love.
Alan Gegax is the founder of the Vegas Hikers Meetup group. He worked with Desert Companion staff writer Heidi Kyser on an article for the March issue of the magazine about off-the-beaten-trail hikes people should be checking out.
Gegax told KNPR's State of Nevada that sharing so-called secret hikes helps relieve some of the overcrowding on popular trails and helps people see some of the under-appreciated areas of the state.
Gegax suggested the Fire Canyon trail, which is just a few paces from Mouses Tank in Valley of Fire State Park.
"There is almost nobody back there and it goes through this maze of slot canyons where, honestly, I've gotten lost," Gegax said. "It is the adventuresome, untouched part of Valley of Fire."
Gegax also recommends hikes in Eastern Nevada because there are fewer people living there and even popular hiking areas are not overburdened. He suggested Cave Lake State Park as a great place to hike.
Kyser suggested hiking in Sloan Canyon, but she said you don't have to drive down I-15 to get there. Instead, she said you can park in an area behind Del Webb High School.
"It's just a lovely little hike, very friendly, very accessible you can go as far as you want," she said. "The first — I believe — mile is paved. So, it is wheelchair accessible."
She said the area is home to lots of wildlife.
Paved hiking paths aren't accessible just to wheelchairs; families who need strollers can also use them. Gegax suggested the Historic Railroad Trail near Lake Mead and the Wetlands Park stroller friendly hiking options. Kyser suggested walking the Pitmann Wash trail in Henderson.
As far as family-friendly, Mahogany Grove, which is on Deer Creek Road, is a good place for families. Gegax said it is less than a mile total loop that goes through an old campground area.
Kyser suggested some of the hikes around the recently opened Spring Mountain National Recreation Center can be a great place for families to enjoy Nevada's natural beauty.
If you've got just an hour or two after work, Gegax suggests hiking the Lone Mountain trail. The view of the Las Vegas Valley is spectacular and the area is loaded with fossils.
If you're willing to drive a little bit, Gegax says drive almost to Caliente and you'll find a bed of fossils that you can not only walk around in but actually dig up your own fossils. It's the Oak Springs Trilobite area, which is about two hours northeast of Las Vegas.
For something off the beaten path but close to home, Kyser suggested checking out the trails in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
"You don't see a lot of hikers," she said, "and there are some gorgeous hikes out there where you get a chance to see lots of wildlife and really pretty forests."
For a hike where you can see beautiful vistas and Nevada's state tree — the bristlecone pine — a caller suggested the Raintree trail. Gegax agreed but cautioned the trail is not for a beginning hiker.
It is important to know the kind of trail you're getting into before you head out. You should also brush up on trail etiquette — including the policy that people going down the trail should yield to those going up the trail.
Finally, make sure to be prepared for weather conditions and most importantly bring lots of water. Kyser says she often sees people who don't have enough water for the length of the hike.
From Desert Companion: Off the Beaten Path: Remember getting away from it all?
From Desert Companion: Trail Mix: Eating Out: Hike to Eat, Eat to Hike
From Desert Companion: 15 Great Hikes (Practically) in Your Own Backyard
Alan Gegax, founder, Vegas Hikers Meetup group; Heidi Kyser, staff writer, Desert Companion