Sunset over Vegas

The sunset after another hot day in Las Vegas.

During the scorching summers in Las Vegas it’s hard to find activities to take part in outdoors. Not only are there beautiful and “cool” places to visit in our own backyard, but also places that you can visit with a short day trip!

While desert hiking may seem like complete suicide during the summer months, knowing when to go can actually make a desert hike invigorating. One trail located in Henderson provides not only a handful of trail options of varying lengths but breathtaking views of the valley and desert flora and fauna.

Black Mountain Trail/Anthem East Trail is easily accessible and brings visitors closer to the desert in which we live. The best times to visit during the summer months are just before sunrise and sunset. Temperatures are cool and allow for hiking without exhaustion. Although temperatures are cool it is always important to dress appropriately and bring plenty of fluids. Light colored, and lightweight long sleeved shirts are a must. Hiking shorts are acceptable but lightweight hiking pants are recommended for added protection from sun exposure. Drink plenty of water leading up to the hike and during the hike. Pack enough water to last the duration of your hike and then some. It’s always good to have enough in case of emergency. Wide brimmed hats are recommended but baseball caps are fine as well. Be sure to protect the back of your neck with a lightweight towel. Know your limits, if you haven’t hiked in a while don’t expect to reach the summit in a day, work at it.

Be sure to watch out for desert critters as well. Rattlesnakes tend to be active during sunrise and sunset as they seek out food and shelter. Desert tortoises are active throughout the day. I have hiked the trail several times and have seen one. Be sure to stay on the trail and DO NOT disturb the habitats of these desert dwellers. Look but don’t touch.

If you have more time and are willing to drive, Mt. Charleston, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon are all shorts trips from the valley and often host cooler temperatures. Those feeling adventurous can rent a campsite and enjoy the cool summer nights around a campfire.

Whatever your adventure, be sure to always inform those close to you of your plans and when you expect to return. In the event you get lost or injured and are out of cell-phone range those folks will be your only chance of getting rescued.

Make the most of your summer and get out there!