vegas outdoor adventure.
December 4, 2007 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Help me plan my outdoor adventure in Las Vegas (please)

I and 1 or 2 friends want to go to Las Vegas for some outdoorsmanship in January. Ideally, this would be mountain biking/camping for three days and two nights but if that turns out to not be feasible, we'd do some backpacking, etc. We are open to suggestions for that etc.

So, Ideally we would go mountain biking somewhere in the area, bringing our camping essentials with us.


Can we do this in the winter? What do we need to know about doing this in the winter?
Where can we rent reliable bikes for multiple days?
What is our best option for where to do this? How can we get there?
Is there an easy place to store our main duffel bags (we are staying there for a couple days after the trip) while we camp? a locker or something?
Any general outdoor recomendations for vegas?

Oh, and cost is a very big concern. Cheaper and more awesome, the better.

thanks in advance.
posted by milestogo to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The desert is cold, cold, cold at night. Really cold.
Red Rock Canyon, about 15 miles outside of town, is a beautiful place to hike. There is a campground, but off-trail biking is not allowed.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:59 AM on December 4, 2007

2 hour drive to Death Valley National Park. Excellent facilities. No end of stuff to do there. Don't know about bike rental but I'm sure you can get that in Vegas before you leave.
posted by dzot at 12:36 PM on December 4, 2007

I'm not a mountain biker myself, but I know they hold events out in Boulder City at Bootleg Canyon.
posted by zepheria at 1:00 PM on December 4, 2007

I'm from Reno, Nevada and have been to Las Vegas several times for camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, and peakbagging. Vegas is an outdoor mecca and sadly (or perhaps fortuitously) most of the people who visit the city will never realize that.

To answer your questions.
- You can do this in winter. The desert does get very cold at night but it will be wonderfully temperate for you during the day. There may be snow at the higher elevations (presumably above 7000-8000' depending on what precip has come through). Gear up correctly with your warm stuff.

- I've rented through Bike Outpost - I'm not sure if they rent for overnight trips. The bike outpost is sort of out of town toward Red Rocks BLM area.

- Your best option for longer distance bikecamping is Death Valley National Park. Most of the mountain biking in the immediate Vegas is stuff that you could whittle through within a day. Part of the Toiyabe national forest is centered around Mt. Charleston (highest peak in Clark County) which is 45 minutes northwest of Vegas. You can definitely bike camp in this area but there are some steep elevation changes to deal with - this will equal some walking the bike up hills. This area is definitely colder than the general Vegas area. Another option for possible bikecamping is west of the Spring Mountains/Red Rocks - these are west of Vegas and it's a pretty desolate area out there. You could probably ride dirt roads all day without a problem but there is possibly some definite land use issues over there - don't do it unless you are willing to poach with the consequences (i.e., we Nevadas like to shoot strangers). Getting to these places will be difficult without a rental car - there are no public transit services from Vegas to some of the more remote areas.

If you are looking to just do single day trips to all the good spots..there is singletrack at Cottonwood Canyon on the west side and also at Bootleg Canyon to the south of Vegas...there are quite a number of other smaller places but these are the 2 biggies.

- I'm sure you could convince a hotel to hold onto your bags while you go out and play.

- There are a ton of other things to do around Vegas. Definitely visit Red Rock Canyon as LM suggests (especially if you are a rock climber) and don't forget that the Grand Canyon is relatively close. I've also been meaning to make a trip to Valley of Fire State Park. If you want to get in some mountaineering definitely head to Mt. Charleston and knock an 11,000ft peak...great views of area up there.

Some other resources for you:
The Mountain Bike Review Nevada Forum - great people to ask this same question of.

Hiking Las Vegas produces several guides for the region...good way to get a sense of the area.
posted by rlef98 at 1:24 PM on December 4, 2007

I made one short solo backpacking trip in early May 2006 in the Spring Mountains and it was spectacular, though I was not prepared for the elevation (if memory serves, 8000-10,000 feet, almost the entire hike).
I will reiterate that it gets very cold at night, and if you're in the mountains in January, I would hazard a guess that it's miserably cold. The good news about the Spring Mountains is that water is not an issue, as they are aptly named, and you can organize a more backcountry trip, if that's what you're into, than elsewhere in that part of the country.
I found that trail at There's a membership fee, but I thought it was totally worth it. You can plug in the features you're looking for (i.e. biking, dogs, trail difficulty, water availability, etc.) and it will give you loads of trail listings with directions, reviews from people who have done the trails, and all kinds of things...a well-made site.
Anyway, I'm not a native and my experience is limited to that one trip, but it was a really dramatic landscape--not at all what you'd expect thinking of Las Vegas. Truly gorgeous and memorable.
posted by SixteenTons at 1:39 PM on December 4, 2007

You can drive out to Mesquite (toward St. George) and do some skeet shooting at the Oasis Casino's Gun Club. My wife and I had a grand time there a few years back.

Oh, at the gun club, when they ask your room number, just make one up. They don't check it, and it'll save you a few bucks.
posted by SlyBevel at 1:48 PM on December 4, 2007

Go to the Mojave National Preserve about 90 mins depending on traffic. Wonderful at this time of year. Camp at Midhills or at Hole in the Wall.
posted by A189Nut at 2:22 PM on December 4, 2007

If you're willing to do the drive, go to Death Valley. It's unforgettable.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:10 PM on December 4, 2007

If you go east on Lake Mead Blvd you end up at Lake Mead The North shore Rd goes out to the Valley of Fire State Park and wintertime in the Mojave is the best time to be out there.
posted by hortense at 9:16 PM on December 4, 2007

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