In 5 Must-See Attractions in Vegas, we mentioned the trials we faced hiking Red Rock Canyon. In spite of this, we tackled Lone Mountain the very next day.
What did we learn on these two hiking trips? Let’s just say that hiking in the Vegas desert is not for novices. The risks include dehydration, lethal falls, twisted ankles, cacti, and rattlesnakes.
But once you do it, you’ll realize the risks are all worth it, if you stay safe. So how do you stay safe in the Vegas desert? Here are five tips to ensure you make it out alive.
1. Check the Trail Maps
We’ve gone hiking in Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Iowa, South Carolina, New York, and now Nevada. On all trails we’ve visited, the trails are clearly marked, and usually color coded. In Vegas, may the force be with you.
From up high, you can see the trails easily. Unfortunately, we hiked for about twenty minutes in the wrong direction before getting this view. Had we taken a better look at the map, we could have saved ourselves the trouble.
On the ground, the trails are not this easy to spot. But if you map your way out from the get-go, it’s easier to ensure you’re following the right path.
2. Pack Lots of Water
You’ll notice both Tristan and Alex are wearing bag packs, and that they are heavily laden. Most of that is water for the climb. The hot sun, coupled with low humidity, and a rough wind, can easily lead to dehydration. There is no such thing as too much water in the Vegas desert.
We recommend bringing at least a bottle for each half hour to an hour. Be sure to leave some in the car, as well. It’s something to look forward to when the going gets tough. And trust us: you’ll need it when you get back.
Try not to eat too much salty or sweet foods before heading out for the hike, as this can make you more thirsty than usual. It’s also never too early to get a head-start on hydrating. Start topping up before you make it onto the trail.
3. Wear Sunscreen
No one is 100 percent safe from sunburn, no matter how dark you are – least of all in the desert. Even if you are very dark skinned, prolonged exposure to the desert sun can lead to pealing.
Alex, Tristan, and Ericson, put on sunscreen before heading out on both hiking trips. It was especially important on the First Creek Trail in Red Rock Canyon, as they planned to go swimming. They immediately topped up on sunscreen after getting out of the water.
Since there’s really no predicting how long you’ll spend in the desert, the higher the SPF, the better. We also recommend wearing sunshades.
4. Watch Out for Snakes
Above is a video of a rattlesnake in Red Rock Canyon, who made the news.
Note that the color of the snake is very similar to the rock and dirt. So if you’re not paying attention, you could step on one. This happens to be one of the most common ways hikers get bitten by snakes, around the world.
While on the trail, Ericson spotted a rattlesnake, who headed in the direction we later had to go as well. Neither Alex nor Tristan saw the snake, but rattlesnakes are not uncommon in the Vegas desert.
The good news is: if you stay away from them, they will stay away from you. Watch where you put your feet, keep an ear out for any rattling, and don’t go overturning stones, or sticking your hands into crevices.
5. Bring the Crew
Hiking alone is a peaceful and pleasant experience. But of all the great places to go hiking alone, Vegas isn’t one of them.
Remember all those risks we detailed earlier? Those risks are easier to mitigate as a group. Hiking in a group is especially important if someone is injured or gets bitten by a snake.
We hiked Red Rock Canyon as a group of three. We started Lone Mountain as a pair, but totalled five on the way down.
We became a group of five instead of two on Lone Mountain, because we stepped in to help a mom who was hiking with her two kids: one holding her hand, and the other strapped to her back. Super woman!
Thankfully, on both trails, we managed to get by without any serious injury.
All in all, we still count Vegas as one of the best – if not the best hiking spot we ever visited. And while it’s not an ideal choice for novices and solo-hikers, if you can brave the risks, the reward is well worth it.
Thinking of testing out these beautiful desert trails for yourself? Then shoot us a message! We’d love to match you with the right hotel and flight, at affordable rates.
About Alexis Chateau PR
Alexis Chateau PR is an independent public relations agency with a special interest in lifestyle brands. From education to entertainment to travel, we’ve worked with clients in all areas of the lifestyle industry since 2006.
The firm is currently preparing for the launch of its in-house travel services to complement the lifestyle and business needs of its clients, team mates, and blog subscribers.
Alexis Chateau, Founder & Managing Director
Alexis Chateau PR, LLC