Nevada February 07, 2017
Here’s The Perfect Weekend Itinerary If You Love Exploring Nevada’s Waterfalls
Everyone loves seeing a beautiful waterfall and it’s a particular thrill to see one up close when you live in such an arid state like Nevada. Believe it or not, you can see some lovely seasonal waterfalls in even the driest parts of Nevada and now is the perfect time of year to go on a weekend waterfall trip!
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This trip covers 842 miles with a total driving time of 14 hours and 21 minutes.
You can click on the image credit link to access the actual Google Map.
Our first stop will be the falls in Lamoille Canyon, of which there are several in both Lamoille and Thomas Canyons.
This beautiful area is located about 30 miles from the town of Elko and the hike to the top of Thomas Canyon is an easy 2-1/2 miles. Thomas Canyon Campground is also a nice place to spend the night before or after you've visited the trail.
From Lamoille we head out to Reno to the Hunter Creek Waterfall Trail/Michael Thompson Trailhead. The hike is about 6 miles out and back trip and is rated at a moderate level of difficulty. The trail tends to be slippery in some parts, especially if it's recently rained or snowed, so wear good sturdy shoes. The trailhead is at the end of Woodchuck Circle and you can actually find it by simply entering Hunter Creek Waterfall Trail in Google Maps.
Next up is the gorgeous Kings Canyon Waterfall Trail located in Carson City.
The trailhead is located at 4450 Kings Canyon Road. This is a very easy, family-friendly trail and the waterfall can be seen in all seasons.
Now we're going to head down to the Las Vegas area for the rest of our waterfalls. The first is Big Falls.
The Big Falls Trail is located in the Mount Charleston trail system and the hike is about 2 miles total. It's a difficult trail because there is a lot of rock and boulder hopping but the falls themselves are worth the work. The trail is located in Kyle Canyon past the Spring Mountains Visitor Center. Park in the parking lot for the Mary Jane Falls Trailhead and follow that trail til you hit the first set of switchbacks (there are several) and take the road off the trail. Since the trail isn't marked it's a good idea if you're not familiar with the area to
download the directions
and take them with you.
The Mary Jane Falls is the other well known waterfall in the Mount Charleston area.
Once you've visited Big Falls, you can go back to the Mary Jane Falls trail and continue going back up the switchbacks, which can get a big steep so it's a great thigh workout, and that will eventually bring you to the falls. The total trail is about 2-1/2 miles out and back and overall it's not a hard trail if you're in good physical condition. In addition to the waterfall there's also a small cave you can see. The waterfall tends to be seasonal so spring is the best time to go, but the views are still worth it even if there's no water when you go.
Our next collection of waterfalls is located a bit south of Mount Charleston in the stunning Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Entering Red Rock requires a day use fee of $7 per vehicle. You can also buy an annual pass for $30 or the America the Beautiful National Parks pass for $80 which gives you access to all of the trails in Red Rock. The park is located off of SR 159/West Charleston Boulevard, which you take west leaving Las Vegas until you reach the park and visitor center. Since several of our waterfalls will be in Red Rock,
download the handy hiking map
from their website! The First Creek Trail is about 3-1/2 miles long and is a good match for any level of hiking skill. The waterfall is small and generally seasonal although the pool is usually there all year long.
Ice Box Canyon is a 2-1/2 mile loop trail that has a river as well as a small seasonal waterfall.
This trail is more suited for intermediate to experienced hikers because there's a lot of rock scrambling, so good hiking shoes and a hiking pole is recommended.
Finally the Lost Creek Grotto Trail, is a nice, short, family friendly hike with a seasonal waterfall and lovely riparian habitat.
The hike is also a lovely spot for a picnic and the trailhead begins at the WIllow Springs Picnic Area. The hike is about 3/4 of a mile total and is an out and back hike. You are also likely to see burros in this area, or at least hear them in the distance, along with many other varied desert wildlife.
Our last two waterfalls may not be "natural" but they're definitely worth a visit while you're in the Las Vegas area. First is the waterfall at Aliante Nature Discovery Park.
This fantastic park is located in North Las Vegas and has a 1/2 mile walking trail good for walking, hiking, jogging and dog walking. There's a lovely lake with ducks and geese and the man made waterfall is a peaceful sight. The park has a fun children's playground as well so this is a nice spot to bring the kids and have a picnic and relax. The park is located at 2627 Nature Park Drive off of North Aliante Parkway.
Being that you're in Vegas, it's time to end your trip with an entertainment spectacle at the Mystic Falls Park in Sam's Town Casino.
Mystic Falls Park is an indoor park with a man-made waterfall, fountains, music and animatronic animals, accompanied by, of course, lasers! This popular free show is definitely a bit on the corny side, but still lots of fun and the kids will love it. It's particularly fun at Christmas when all the holiday lights add an extra dimension to the show. The Sunset Stampede Laser Light Show happens every day at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 pm. Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall is located on 5111 Boulder Highway and it's a fun place to stay the night at the end of your Nevada waterfall journey.
Which waterfall in Nevada is your favorite? Share in the comments!