Saturday, January 2, 2010

hiking around Vegas.

I am surprised at how many people who live in Vegas (especially who have for a looong time) are unaware of the places to go for hikes! I guess it's because my dad and grandpa practically have this placed mapped out in all their scouting and hiking experiences. Below is a tentative schedule of hikes around the valley based on increasing difficulty and appropriate weather. No one wants to hike in the sun at Red Rock in the dead of summer! I am planning on the 3rd or 4th week of each month. If a second hike is listed in a month it would be done earlier in the month and would not be appropriate for children because of difficulty or location etc. PLEASE keep in mind when hiking with children that while they are seemingly boundless balls of energy...their little legs get tired! If you have a kid 2 and under you must plan on them being on your back in a hiking backpack. Even up to 3 years old for some kids. They need to be able to follow rules and listen because not doing that while hiking can prove dangerous. Some hikes are largely walks with the occassional rock scramble or stream hopping. If you don't know how long your kids can last for a hike, I HIGHLY recommend taking them to Calico Basin (just before getting to Red Rock- there's also a nice picnic area there) and letting them run around there. I also think it is a really good idea to have them try out the Lost Creek or Children's Discovery Trail at Red Rock. It will give you a sense of their endurance and ability to handle hills and steps, rocks and streams. It's a good sampling of everything and even ends at a waterfall! Of course, I don't recommend having your first try at hiking with kids be in the snow like we just did.

Hopefully this list gives you an idea of places you can go around town and can take your family on your own as well. Most are roughly 2 hours but you should allot double that time just in case when hiking with younguns. It should be about enjoying the company and scenery, not just about getting it done. (Don't forget water and snacks or lunch, especially high protein)

January- Lost Creek (Red Rock)
February- Calico Hills (Red Rock)
White Rock/Arizona Hot Springs (possible backpack/overnighter) (Lake Mead area)
March- Oak Creek Canyon (Red Rock)
Anniversary Canyon (probably ok for kids) (Lake Mead area)
April- Willow Springs Loop (Red Rock) *Calico Tanks (Red Rock) if not doing Bridge Mountain in same month*
Bridge Mountain (all day)
May- Pine Creek Canyon (Red Rock)
Icebox Canyon (Red Rock)
June- Sawmill Loop (Mt Charleston)
Mary Jane Falls (Mt Charleston)
July- Little Falls (Mt Charleston)
August- Robbers Roost (this is less of a hike and more of a short walk and place to hang out- there's a cave)
September- Mouseys Tanks (Valley of Fire)
Keyhole Canyon (camping)
October- First Creek Canyon (Red Rock)
Subway (weekend trip- if can get permit- limited number of people)
November- Cottonwood Springs (Lake Mead area)

For information on a large number of hikes I really suggest this guy's website, especially if you like detailed information to find your way:

Also, please practice Leave No Trace Ethics. It's a good thing to teach your children, especially starting young.

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