Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest

Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest

by Deborah Wall


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Situated in the heart of the magnificent Southwest, Las Vegas is surrounded by spectacular natural landscapes.

Within easy reach are five national parks, including Zion, Grand Canyon, and Death Valley. Dozens of state parks, regional preserves, recreation areas, and public lands offer amazing variety, from sand dunes and salt flats to alpine meadows, waterfalls, and ancient forests. Unique plant and animal life as well as archaeology, paleontology, and fascinating Wild West history are all waiting to be discovered in this region, making Las Vegas an ideal basecamp: Hikers can enjoy solitude and unspoiled wilderness by day and world-class urban amenities by night. Base Camp Las Vegas includes 101 of the best hiking destinations within hours of Las Vegas.

The author has hiked each of the 101 featured routes more than once, and she describes each in detail, including route, elevations, terrain, flora & fauna, and historical details. She notes the best season for enjoying each one, what to wear, and what to take along. She describes any hazards or inconveniences that hikers might encounter and rates the difficulty of each hike from easy to strenuous. She's also included an easy-reference guide to the top five hikes in a variety of categories including birdwatching, stargazing, wildflowers, wetlands, kid and teen favorites, most strenuous, and most remote. Base Camp Las Vegas tells hikers where and when to go—and also how to prepare—to enjoy the best trails this unparalleled region has to offer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997236941
Publisher: Imbrifex Books
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Series: Base Camp , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 605,045
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Deborah Wall is a freelance writer and photographer specializing in both adventure travel and family excursions. She writes an outdoor column for View Community Newspapers, a division of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A lifelong hiker, she has been a ski racer and has taught skiing and sailing. A former television producer and news anchor, she also worked as a model for skiing and outdoor publications. This book, her fourth, is an expanded and updated edition of Base Camp Las Vegas a best-selling hiking guide first published in 2010. Ms. Wall is the author of Great Hikes: A Cerca Country Guide (2004). She co-authored Access for All: Touring the Southwest with Limited Mobility (2014) and was a major contributor to Road Trips and Adventures, two more of the Cerca Country Guide series. She has a Nevada Press Association award for excellence and writes columns on about little-known hiking routes in the Southwest and tips for taking fun and safe trips.

Read an Excerpt

1 Calico Basin,Red Spring Interpretive Trail

Calico Basin offers a mixed grill of the Red Rock area's best, including riparian habitat, meadows, springs, and even some cultural resources, all within the area's signature Aztec sandstone landscape.

An easy way to taste it all is to take the Red Spring Interpretive Trail, which starts directly behind the picnic area. This will take you up a small rise and to the grassy bench above. From here the trail makes a one-half-mile loop around the perimeter of the meadow. This trail is accessible for wheelchairs and baby strollers.

A boardwalk was installed in 2005 as part of a restoration project to protect the environmentally sensitive areas. This way, visitors can still enjoy the area without disturbing the fragile plant life. Outside the boardwalk there is a fence to keep burros and horses from trampling these areas.

As you travel along the boardwalk, stop and read the interpretive signs. Be sure and take time to sit quietly a while on one of the many benches along the way, listening and looking for wildlife. Because of a permanent supply of water, lush vegetation, and surrounding canyons, many animals thrive here. More than one hundred species of birds have been recorded, and the area is also home to mountain lions, kit foxes, coyotes, rabbits, ground squirrels, desert tortoises, and ringtail cats. I even had the good fortune of seeing a gray fox on one early-morning visit.

There are three springs in this vicinity. Ash Spring, Calico Spring and Red Spring provided reliable and vital water sources to humans for thousands of years. American Indians used this area and were followed by homesteaders and ranchers. As you make your way around the walkway and over to the sandstone cliffs, keep an eye out for rock art. There are two types in Red Rock Canyon, petroglyphs and pictographs. Here you will be seeing petroglyphs which have been pecked into the surface of rock, unlike pictographs, which were painted on the surface. Some of this rock art is thought to be more than five thousand years old.

Once you reach the far end of the boardwalk from where you started, you will see the waters of Red Spring itself, flowing from a small tunnel or cave. If you look carefully you will see many water-loving plants such as the stream orchid, watercress, Nevada blue-eyed grass and black-creeper sedge. The boardwalk protects not only these plants but also local inhabitants such as red-spotted toads and Pacific chorus frogs.

A few biologically sensitive species also call this area home. The Spring Mountain springsnail, Pyrgulopsis deaconi, is found only in four springs, all of them nearby. The alkali Mariposa lily, which grows in the surrounding riparian meadow, is found only in a few other places in Southern California and Nevada. The largest population in Nevada is said to be the one here.

If you visited this area before the boardwalk was installed, you might remember being able to drive almost up to the base of Red Spring, and park there. As you travel along the boardwalk it's worth a look in that area to see how it has been transformed. The old road has been covered over and replaced with native vegetation. It's on its way to restoration as original habitat.

Although this is an excellent place to go when your time is constrained, there are hiking trails just outside of the boardwalk area that are well worth exploring when you have more leisure.

Table of Contents

Area Locator & Maps Index

Foreword 10

Before You Hit the Trail 12

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area 27

1 Calico Basin-Red Spring Interpretive Trail 30

2 Calico Tanks Trail 33

3 White Rock Hills/La Madre Spring Loop 36

4 La Madre Spring Trail 38

5 Children's Discovery Trail and Lost Creek 42

6 Ice Box Canyon 44

7 Pine Creek Canyon 47

8 First Creek Canyon 51

Mt. Charleston/Spring Mountains National Recreation Area 55

9 Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway 58

10 Mary Jane Falls 60

11 Cathedral Rock 62

12 Big Falls 65

13 Fletcher Canyon 67

14 Robbers Roost 70

15 Bristlecone Trail 72

Lake Mead National Recreation Area 77

16 Railroad Tunnel Trail 79

17 Fortification Hill 83

18 Liberty Bell Arch 86

19 Black Canyon National Water Trail 88

20 St. Thomas 92

21 Bowl of Fire 95

22 Grapevine Canyon 98

23 Spirit Mountain 101

Nevada State Parks 105

24 Spring Mountain Ranch State Park 108

25 Atlatl Rock, Valley of Fire State Park 111

26 Mouse's Tank, Valley of Fire State Park 114

27 White Domes Loop Trail, Valley of Fire State Park 117

28 Kershaw-Ryan State Park 119

29 Cathedral Gorge State Park 122

30 Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park 125

Nevada's Other Public Lands 129

31 Sloan Canyon's Petroglyph Trove 131

32 River Mountain Hiking Trail 134

33 Bridge Spring Trail 136

34 Keyhole Canyon 140

35 Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness Area 143

Desert National Wildlife Refuge 147

36 Corn Creek Visitor Center 149

37 Hidden Forest 151

Basin and Range National Monument 155

38 White River Narrows 160

39 Mt. Irish Petroglyh Site 162

Great Basin National Park 165

40 Wheeler Peak 168

41 Alpine Lakes Loop Trail 173

Ruby Mountains 175

42 Alphine Lakes 177

43 Ruby Crest Trail 180

Death Valley National Park 185

44 Zabriskie Point to Golden Canyon 188

45 Badwater 191

46 Telescope Peak 193

47 Darwin Falls 196

48 A Racetrack for Rocks 199

49 Eureka Dunes 202

50 Lone Pine/Alabama Hills 204

51 West Side Road 208

52 China Ranch 211

Mojave National Preserve 215

53 The Rings Trail 217

54 Rock Spring Loop 221

55 Teutonia Peak Trail 223

56 Lava Tube 225

57 Fort Piute 227

58 Amboy Crater 229

Zion National Park 233

59 Pa'rus Trail 236

60 The Watchman Trail 239

61 Angels Landing 242

62 Riverside Walk 244

63 Zion Narrows 246

64 Grafton 251

65 Huber Wash 254

66 Kolob Arch 257

Cedar Breaks National Monument 261

67 Alpine Pond Trail 265

68 Winter Yurt 267

69 Bunker Creek Trail 270

Bryce Canyon National Park 275

70 Fairyland Loop Trail 276

71 Mossy Cave Trail 279

72 Bryce Canyon in the Winter 282

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 285

73 Calf Creek 288

74 Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyons 291

75 Coyote Gulch 294

76 Willis Creek and Bull Valley Gorge 297

77 Hackberry Canyon 301

Capital Reef National Park 305

78 Fremont River Trail 308

79 Capitol Gorge 309

Canyonlands National Park 313

80 The Maze 314

81 Horseshoe Canyon 317

Arches National Park 321

82 Delicate Arch 322

83 Landscape Arch 324

Grand Canyon National Park 327

84 Bright Angel Trail 329

85 Rim Trail 332

86 Cliff Spring Trail 335

87 Greenland Lake Trail 336

88 Widforss Trail 338

89 Uncle Jim Trail 339

90 Rim to Rim 341

91 Toroweap/Tuweep 344

Other Arizona Highlights 349

92 Lee's Ferry and Lonely Dell 351

93 Antelope Canyon 354

94 Monument Valley 357

95 Canyon de Chelly 360

96 Walnut Canyon 363

97 Sunset Crater 365

98 Wupatki National Monument 367

99 Slide Rock State Park 370

100 Palm Canyon/Kofa National Wildlife Refuge 373

101 Chloride, Arizona 375

Acknowledgments 381

Choose Your Perfect Hike 383

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Chapters are ordered according to distance from The Strip. A profusion of color photos fills the book. Each chapter provides an area overview and map, while each hike gets its own description along with direction to the trailhead, degree of difficulty, elevation (and gain), best time of year to go, and other relevant information.” — Al Bonowitz, Westways AAA Magazine

"Aside from the wealth of information found inside these pages, it is an absolutely beautiful book as well. I highly recommend “Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest” by Deborah Wall to anyone interested in hiking or camping. It is an invaluable resource guide for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all activity levels.” — Sheri Hoyte, Reader Views

"Part travel guide, part history, part paean to the Southwest, Deborah Wall's descriptions of the region are warm, personal, and informed. Her love for and knowledge of the 101 locations covered here shine through, and her superb photography captures the full beauty of the Southwest's many different geologies and landscapes. This is a book that will appeal to locals and visitors alike, one that readers will refer to over and over again, delving in to discover the almost unlimited number of scenic wonders within easy reach of Las Vegas, that most improbable of gateways to the great outdoors." -- Peter Thody,

"A good guidebook for nature enthusiasts who are curious about the vegetation and critters they encounter" -- Scott Wyland, European Stars and Stripes

"We live in the golden age of guidebooks, Base Camp Las Vegas by Deborah Wall is a beautifully laid out, richly photographed and impeccably organized guide to one of America’s greatest trekking regions."

"Diving into the book, it provided a broad cross-section of terrain and difficulty, providing something for everyone. The book uses full-color printing throughout, and the photography is beautiful. There were a number of obscure trails and adventures that I had only heard of in passing, and that’s where Base Camp Las Vegas excels, in whetting your appetite for exploring places you may have heard of but have never been."--Jeff Hester, SoCalHiker

"The book was spot on with descriptions of the areas I’ve been to, and the photography is superb. The publication itself is a high quality, slick stock, soft cover book. It could be carried in a daypack. The directions for different hikes are clear and easy to follow." -- Leon Pantenburg,

"I really like the idea of a "base camp" from which to explore an area and instantly liked the quality feel of the book. Deborah Wall's writing is engaging, it feels like a friend is talking to you and preparing you for your day's adventure. Each description is followed by a "quick glance" feature that includes the season to go, hike length, difficulty, elevation gain, starting elevation, any warnings, the jurisdiction and driving directions?"-- Carol White, author of Live Your Road Trip Dream: Travel for a Year for the Cost of Staying Home

"There is more to do in Las Vegas than visit the casinos and the Strip! Having hiked many of the hikes in Deborah Wall's Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest over the years, I can say she is spot on. The Rings Trail and Lava Tube hikes in Mojave National Preserve are quite the adventure but not difficult. After hearing about Valley of the Fire State Park in Nevada for years, we recently completed the Mouse's Tank and White Domes Loop Trail hikes taking us through stunning beauty." -- Jaimie Hall Bruzenak, author of Retire to an RV: The Roadtrip to Affordable Retirement

"Deborah Wall's new book, Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest is truly a unique hiking guide that takes readers on a tour of 101 different hiking trails found in the vicinity of Las Vegas that includes forested canyons, geological wonders, and some off the beaten path hikes that even locals may have overlooked. Almost every page has a beautiful picture of the locations featured in the book."-- Osie Turner,

Customer Reviews