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Off the Strip

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Vegas? Is it the bright lights of the Strip? The various types of buffets? Beautiful mountainous regions? We all know that Vegas is known for slot machines, showgirls and gambling, but there are great things that can be found outside of the city. Don’t get me wrong, the Strip is amazing and they are always adding new attractions that provide nice views but sometimes the best views are up close and personal. Vegas has a lot of different outdoor recreational areas on the out skirts as well as a variety of city parks scattered throughout the different suburbs. Red Rock and Mt. Charleston are popular areas that offer great scenery and numerous hiking trails. I wanted to give hiking a chance and explore the city more, so why not venture out and visit one.

The Essentials

I decided to join a hiking group since going out there by myself and getting lost was not an option. These hiking events go fast within these groups, so I managed to quickly sign up for one for a Sunday morning in October. Signing up made me realize that I had no hiking materials. My water bottle at the time was too small and it was getting on my nerves anyway so this was the perfect excuse for me to get a new one. Amazon did not wow me this time with their results so I decided to actually go to a brick and mortar store like Big 5. I chose a Wellness water bottle that holds about 40 oz. of liquid.

Everything else was pretty much taken care of. I had my warm black leggings, a zip up hoodie, long socks and some Nikes. It was a warm and comfortable outfit, but the practicality of it was questionable. I felt like I had everything I needed for a successful hiking trip. My phone, snacks, water and sun block were all packed and I was ready to start this adventure.

The Trail

The Upper Bristlecone Trail at Mt. Charleston is a 6.2 mile trail that is great for seeing the leaves of Aspen trees change colors. I’ve been to Mt. Charleston many of times whether that be to go to Camp Lee Canyon or to play in the snow, but I was still excited. I didn’t let my inexperience get the best of me even though I was still a bit nervous.

I had not been to Mt. Charleston in a while so the drive up was interesting. The 45 minute drive was a great way to see just how much the area has been built up. Corn Creek, a place I would go to on field trips is in that general direction and I would always know we were almost there by seeing a Target on my right side. Of course there are more houses, retail centers and gas stations that can be viewed from the freeway. It was still a nice drive though. The weather was actually really nice too. It was around 55-60 degrees fahrenheit with a slight blow of the wind. 

The trail formed a loop so there were two different ends to start from. Where you start depends on when you wanted to do the most work. Those who were leading decided to walk uphill first, which was actually helpful. The combination of my clumsiness with the unleveled rocks was something else. I love heights, but that was a bit nerve wracking. This hike also confirmed that my exercise routine needed some consistency. There were moments where I had to stop and catch my breath. The wind was blowing a bit so having my fingertips pointed down made them a little stiff and cramped. My hoodie was no help due to the lack of pockets. That’s where the non-practical factor of my hiking outfit came in at, but sometimes you have to work with what you got. 

A New View

The hiking itself along with just being outside was an enjoyable experience. Hiking provides a great opportunity to focus and clear your mind since its so calm and quiet. I thought I heard water at some point, which I probably did, but we didn’t come across any. A waterfall, river or creek would have been a nice surprise. Some of the trees did change into their fall attire while others still had their green leaves. The trail was pretty easy to follow too. There weren’t arrows leading the way but there was a natural path that guided your steps in the right direction. I enjoyed the diversity in the area itself. You could be climbing over rocks and then a little ways down, you’re walking along the side of the mountain. It was like a little surprise once you rounded every corner. 

Hiking through Mt. Charleston on the Bristlecone Trail
Bristlecone Trail at Mt. Charleston in Las Vegas, NV

Hiking is a great activity to get involved with especially if you want a different view of busy areas. As a beginner, I enjoyed it alot because it brought me out of my comfort zone in many ways. I think I now have a better idea of what to bring and what to wear. There were actually more issues with my outfit choices rather then what I chose to carry. The jacket and shoes that I wore are not invited to the next adventure so they’ll have to be replaced…………maybe not the shoes just yet but the jacket is a no for sure, I need pockets. Anywho, is anyone else in the novice club like me or are you an expert hiker? Share in the comments below!

Header Image Credit: Pixabay

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