Hike of the Month: Gypsum Ridge
This suburban trail offers stunning views ... and the chance to up your stewardship game
In Desert Companion’s (checks watch) 15 years (!) of publication, few topics have proven more consistently popular with readers than hiking. Our archives are a treasure trove of ideas about where to go for all types of outdoor walking pleasure, from the leisurely to the rugged. But you know what’s been missing? A nod to the folks who trod those places first, our Indigenous predecessors. So, we’re amending our recommendations with some advice for those who’d like to know how to honor the people who most accurately call Nevada home.
English trail name: Gypsum Ridge
We included this trek in our much-read March 2020 story, “Hikes After 5,” featuring trails that are so close to town, you can hit them on the way home from work. Running through former gold mining territory, this trail is a bit rough around the edges, but it offers spectacular panoramic views of the Strip. And because it’s shade-free, it’s best done in cool weather. There’s a little climb at the beginning, but it’s moderate overall.
How to get there: The trailhead is at the far west end of Wigwam Avenue, off Fort Apache.
Distance: 4.1 miles
Elevation gain: 450 feet
Ancestral territory of: Southern Paiutes
History Lesson: All of Nevada was, at one time, inhabited by Indigenous Peoples. This realization, and an understanding of colonization’s methods (genocide and theft) commonly leads to questions about reconciliation. What can non-Natives do today to, even in small ways, remedy the crimes of the past? Ecological stewardship is key to Indigenous sovereignty. You can help restore it by recognizing that Gypsum Ridge was once Indigenous territory and respecting the land accordingly.
Stewardship 101: Leave nothing, take nothing. Understand that all parts of an ecosystem play an integral role in the balance of life that exists in the natural world, and extracting any part can have severe consequences.
Learn more: Educate yourself at lvpaiutetribe.com. ✦