Nature January 04, 2017
7 Easy Hikes To Add To Your Outdoor Bucket List In Nevada
Now that the new year has begun, everyone is of course making the usual resolutions to eat better, work out more and reduce stress. Hiking is a perfect solution to get yourself outside and engaging in physical activity. What’s more, it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many easy hikes that are a pleasure for even the most novice hiker. Here are 7 options all around the state to get you moving outside in the beauty of Nevada.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Wetlands Park Nature Preserve, Henderson
Many people, even Clark County locals, might be surprised to know such a lush, wet spot in this dry desert town exists. The Wetlands Park Nature Preserve is a little oasis in the middle of Henderson. There are several short trails in the preserve and most are either paved or packed dirt roads that are easy to traverse. It's definitely child, stroller and wheelchair friendly as well. In addition to the water, you'll see lots of wildlife like roadrunners, rabbits, and quail. The preserve is located at 7050 Wetlands Park Lane. Take exit 64B off the I-215 going east, and then South Broadbent Boulevard to Wetland Parks Lane.
2. Floyd Lamb Park Tule Springs Park Trail, Centennial Hills (North Las Vegas)
This lovely park is another hidden gem in the Las Vegas area. This 680-acre park has geese, ducks and peacocks roaming the property by shaded ponds and grassy hills. There are several picturesque picnic spots and you can also enjoy a visit to the horse barn run by Horses4Heroes, a community equestrian center. There are several paved walkways around the park and the trail is a little under one mile. It's perfect for a stroll all year long, and definitely appropriate for children, strollers and wheelchairs. The park has a $6 entry fee (or you can buy an annual pass for $50). The address is 9200 Tule Springs Road - from Las Vegas, take the I-15 north to the US-95 north to North Durango Drive. Take exit 93 from the Us-95 north and continue to Tule Springs Road.
3. Railroad Tunnel Trail, Boulder City
This is a very popular trail that goes around Lake Mead on a gravel and dirt road through what were once railroad tunnels built to help with the construction of the Hoover Dam nearby. The views of the lake and marina are gorgeous and children will most likely enjoy going through the dark tunnels. The trail is 7.2 miles total out and back but you can go out as far as you wish and turn back so it's a good option for beginners. It's also a very popular hike for mountain bikers and people walking their dogs. Be aware, it's open all year long but it can get very hot in the summer. If you intend to do it in the hotter months, make sure you bring plenty of water. From Las Vegas, take the US-93 south and turn left on Lake Shore Drive. You will see the parking lot for the trail about 500 yards down from the turn onto Lake Shore on your right.
4. 12 Mile Hot Springs, Wells
This trail is 4 miles out and back that has the nice benefit of ending at a natural hot springs. If you're so inclined, you can take a dip before making your way back. The trail also features a river. Depending on the time of year you may need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to the parking area as the roads can get quite muddy. The hot springs are also known as the Bishop Creek Hot Springs. To reach the trail and springs, take US-93 north/Great Basin Highway/NV-318 north and US-93 north to 6th Street in the town of Wells. Take 8th Street, North Metropolis Road and County Road to reach the Bishop Creek Dam to park.
5. Swan Lake Nature Study Trail, Reno
This lovely nature trail is a little under 3 miles out and back and much of it is on boardwalks over wet lands with views of Swan Lake. The trail runs over a wildlife preserve spot so many of the marshy grass areas are overgrown, making this a very quiet place to walk and an easy hike for a beginner. Swan Lake Nature Study Area is actually a nationally recognized birdwatching area so be prepared to see many species of birds including swans. In Rend, from the US-395 north, take exit 74 and continue on Lemmon Drive, then Military Road to Sage Point Court. The address is 12098 Sage Point Court.
6. Tom Cooke Trail, Reno
Another easy Reno option is the Tom Cooke Trail in the Toiyabe National Forest. The trail is dog and child friendly and has excellent views of the city and the Truckee River. The trail overall is easy although it's a bit steep at the beginning. To get there, from Reno take the I-80 west to exit 10 and continue on North McCarran Blvd. Take the NV-647 west/West 4th Street to White Fir Street and the address is 8597-8641 White Fir Street.
7. Alpine Lakes Loop Trail, Baker
Located in Great Basin National Park, the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail is a 3 mile loop that is a good choice from March through October. The trail features several small Alpine lakes set among the breathtaking peaks and cliffs of the park. You will walk through forests of bristlecone pine, Englemann spruce, timber pine and aspens. It's particularly gorgeous in the fall when the trees change color. Great Basin National Park is located near Baker, off the US-93 north and the US-50, just near the border with Utah.
Do you have a favorite hike you recommend to beginners? Share in the comments!