June 16, 2024 7:31 pm
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Short Sweet Hikes Through Nevada’s Southern Hills

Credit: iStock

Reinette LeJeune

If you’ve ever been a lover of nature, and always telling yourself to be more active, why not head out onto some of the amazing hiking trails Nevada has to offer? Autumn may be rolling in now, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the state and its natural splendor – especially in the southern parts of the state where temperatures won’t be dipping as low as others. These short but sweet fall hikes are just the treat to kick off fall right this year!

Fire Wave Trail, Overton

In the isolated area of Valley of Fire State Park, this 1.2 mile back-country trail provides some spectacular views of the interchanging streaks of beige and red-orange colored sandstone. Bring along your geologist friends for some scientific fun facts as you traverse the bowl-shaped depression and its 175-foot elevation changes.

Mary Jane Falls, Spring Mountain

For an easy, but still more strenuous path, consider the Mary Jane Falls Trail which boasts 2.5 miles of heavily forested mountains. Starting at the bottom of Kyle Canyon amongst the foliage and its backdrop of gray limestone cliffs, you’ll soon be climbing a combined 1,100 feet up to the location of the namesake waterfalls. While the falls themselves are seasonal – the best flows occurring in spring as the snow melts – there sits a wonderful cave to also explore and gain a bird’s eye overview of the area.

Lone Mountain Trail, Las Vegas

If you’re in the Las Vegas area and need a break from the hustle and bustle of Sin City, try the isolated, rocky peak that will give you a new perspective of the city and the surrounding mountain ranges – including the peak at Mt. Charleston. Only minutes away from downtown Las Vegas, this trail has become a popular workout spot for locals. With multiple trail options, the safe but tough mini-hike will provide a breath of fresh air to residents and tourists alike. 

Huffaker Park Lookout Trail, Reno

To witness some unique views of the Reno horizons, while not having to travel far to do so, this easy trail located in southeast Reno is ideal for walking or running with its moderately-inclined gravel paths, naturally decorated with native fauna like sagebrush and rabbitbrush. You can choose between the longer 1.7 mile long trail that circles the hills or the shorter .75 mile long trail for a quick workout. 

Tahoe Meadows (Mount Rose), Reno

The Mount Rose trail is a great hike for family outings with its well-graded and maintained trail that is suitable for children and even open to pets! Upon starting your hike, you’ll be instantly rewarded with grand views to the south of Tahoe Meadows and Lake Tahoe. Following the smooth path through open woods of pine and hemlock, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll up the mountain to its peak. At the half-way point, take in the splendor of the waterfall formed by the Galena Creek, before continuing the rest of the way to the panoramas of the summit. 

Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon

One of the most popular trails in Red Rock Canyon, it boasts spectacular scenic views of red, orange, and yellow sandstone formations with the mountains behind them towering high above. A quicker and easier introduction to the Red Rock Canyon, when you reach the end of the trail, take a rest at its watering hole while taking in the views of nearby Las Vegas. This trail provides some challenge without being too hard, and is suitable for all manners of skill levels. 

Ice Box Canyon Trail, Red Rock Canyon

If you’re looking for a more strenuous journey, this trail will lead you through the cool, shady box canyon that also boasts seasonal waterfalls from December to April in the heart of the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. The narrow canyon rarely sees sunlight, with cool waters and air currents dropping down from the mountains, this trail is significantly more refreshing than the open desert – which you do have to cross in order to get there.

Red and Black Mountain, Boulder City

Two mountains diverged in a yellow-orange desert, you don’t have to be sorry you couldn’t travel both! Robert Frost puns aside, these two trails offer vastly different experiences which may or may not make all the difference (now I’m done). Red Mountain offers its well known biking routes using the Bootleg Canyon mountain bike trail system, while Black Mountain is actually not summited all too often, instead offering views of its splendor at the Black Mountain Overlook. Starting on a single trail, it eventually splits to the east summit of Red Mountain or the southern summit of Black Mountain – which does climb to 3540 feet elevation. Take in the natural beauty, with signs that point out the fantastic geological features of the area, all the while knowing you don’t have to choose one from the other. No regrets here Mr. Frost, sorry!