Las Vegas, NV

I have traveled to Las Vegas a number of times and each time I visit I can’t help but miss the water and trees that are found in Michigan. The good thing is that there are a number of places to visit nearby that are beautiful.

Next to Las Vegas lies Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. There is a nice loop that you can take that weaves through the park. There are also a number of nice hiking trails that you can take.

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Here you an see Turtlehead Mountain in the distance.

I visited a friend over Labor Day weekend and we took on the trail to Turtlehead Mountain. It is a difficult trail that climbs 2,000 feet in a little over two miles. It always amazes me how hard hiking up mountains can be at an elevation different than what we see in Michigan. Detroit lies at 600′. This hikes starts at approx. 4300′ and the peak lies about 6300′.

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As we were being really casual about our plans that day we didn’t get to the trail until about 1pm and it was extremely hot. We each had a gallon of water and lunch packed in our backpacks. We didn’t plan on making it to the top but we did manage to find a number of nice shade spots to enjoy the day and get relief from the heat.

The next day we went back to Zion National Park. This is one of my favorite parks and since it was only two and a half hours away it was a reasonable trip.

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Mountain in Zion National Park

One thing I would recommend is to avoid the park at all costs on holiday weekends. It was incredibly packed and shuttle lines were long everywhere in the park. The good thing was that this gave us a chance to explore a number of the less popular hikes in the park.

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Spider we found on the trail at Zion National Park

We found a nice secluded river hike at the Weeping Rock trailhead that allowed us to climb rocks, have lunch by the creek and see a number of small waterfalls.

We also took on the Riverside Walk at Temple of the Sinawava. The trail is a two mile paved level walkway that follows the Virgin River and leads to the start of the Narrows hike.

Later in the month I returned to Las Vegas and visited the Mt. Charleston area which lies about 45 minutes from the city. This is a popular hiking/skiing area depending on the season.

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I really want to live near mountains someday.

We decided to tackle the Cathedral Rock Trail which lies in the Spring Mountains. The trail is a steep 1.5 mile hike. I think what made it harder for me is that the trail starts at 7700′ feet and the summit lies at 8500′. So… We took a lot of breaks along the way to catch our breath.

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Cathedral Rock

About halfway up I looked up and saw a peak. I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to climb to the top of that peak (see photo above and below photos). Little did I know that was where we were going.

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The aspens were changing and were absolutely beautiful.

About halfway up I was feeling the altitude and decided to float the idea of heading back down the mountain. I figured if they were feeling the same way they would let me know. Luckily we pushed on…

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Trail hugging the mountain

The first half of the trail is in an avelanche basin and as you came out of the basin the Aspens dissappeared and older trees appeared. It was so nice to see trees! The trail also hugged steep drop offs which I loved.

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This is a nice place to escape the heat of the city.

As we rounded our way around a mountain the trail turned and I could see we were going to hike to the top of the peak I talked about earlier. I was really excited to see the view.

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View from top  of Cathedral Rock

We sat at the top of the mountain looking out over Kyle Canyon for about 30 minutes. We talked, ate snacks and filled our bodies with water. We were also able to view a small forrest fire across the canyon. Eventually the winds picked up and we decided to head back down.

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The trail seemed to head right over the edge of the cliff at points.

Going down was a million times easier and only took a fraction of the time it took to hike to the top.

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The trail was full of rocks.

We didn’t let that stop us from taking breaks and taking in the scenery.

It is really nice getting to know the areas surrounding Las Vegas. I am not a huge fan of the Las Vegas Strip but I am a big fan of the mountains and hiking trails in the area.

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