Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Week in Boulder City, NV

It was an easy 75 mile drive from Kingman, AZ to Boulder City, NV, where we checked in for a week at Canyon Trail RV Park. It's a pretty basic private RV park, with reasonable site separation and great views of nearby mountains where there are miles of trails. Though we had several windy days, we appreciated the fact that the park was not too dusty.

Our first adventure in the area was a great loop hike to the Colorado River and Arizona Hot Springs. We learned about this trail from John and Pam, who spent a month here back in 2014. Though we took the same route they did, it seems a new trail has been created in the last third of the loop that allows one to bypass the steep pourovers that they had to negotiate three years ago. This means we also missed the great petroglyphs they saw near the end of their hike.

Heading down the White Rock Canyon Trail.

We reached the Colorado River just a short distance downstream from Hoover Dam.
The water is being released from the bottom of the lake and is very clear and cold.

Looking upstream we can see how clear the water is and a few kayakers as well.
Now heading up Hot Spring Canyon Trail we came to a series of pourovers to negotiate.
John and Pam encountered hot pools below the ladder area, we did not,
 as the pools are created using sand bags and they had been washed away.

There were numerous people in the pool that Hans is climbing up to.

As soon as six people left this pool I got a photo!
With daytime temps in the 80's there were plenty of people enjoying the pools and the river.

So many colorful layers all around us!

How often do you see lizards in the grass?!?!

One day we did a sxi mile hike right from our RV. Bootleg Canyon trailhead is about a quarter mile from Canyon Trail RV Park, and provides access to many miles of trails...some quite steep. We hiked pretty much straight up Red Mountain and enjoyed long distance views of the Las Vegas Strip and snow capped Mt Charleston.

These trails are used by mountain bikers as well as hikers...
I can't even imagine anyone riding some of these incredibly rocky, steep, dangerous trails!

Zoomed capture of The Strip and Mt Charleston from atop Red Mountain.

Very old lava flows created fantastic shapes along these rugged trails.

Twice during our week long stay we ventured in to Las Vegas. We braved the crowds on The Strip just to experience it once again after many years absence (don't go on a Saturday, it's insane!), enjoyed delicious tiki drinks and music by Thee Swank Bastards and burlesque dancing by Szandora LaVey at The Golden Tiki, and walked the Fremont Street Experience.

Excellent surf music plus dancing at the Golden Tiki.

Classic signage with modern light all sorts of people watching on Fremont Street!

On our second trip into the city we caught the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil! No photos allowed, but it was a memorable musical spectacle!

We had an enjoyable walk at the Clark County Wetlands Park one day. They have a fabulous, free visitor center that describes how this lowest point in the valley has been utilized to create wetlands that help to process all the runoff and treated sewage from the entire valley to replenish the water table and Lake Mead as well as provide habitat for many different types of animals.

Believe it or not, even beaver live in the Clark County Wetlands!

Fortification Hill is another hike we decided to check out based on John and Pam's reportage. Oh my goodness...what a hike! Some sites describe the trail as moderate, others say it is very strenuous. I'd have to agree with Very Strenuous. A good portion of the trail is extremely steep with lots of loose rock under foot, plus there is some steep rock scrambling with serious exposure.

The views from the top were exceptional, 360 degrees including colorful mountains all around, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas Strip, Mt Charleston. We enjoyed the end results of this hike, but cannot imagine putting ourselves through this again, the potential for bodily damage is high. Hiking poles are advised on this trail!

At the trailhead there are two choices: head up the wash or to the right up the hill...both trails meet up later.
We chose to bear right at the start, and returned through the wash.
Fortification Hill is the dark mountain in the distance.
We will climb up the right side and walk across the top for a view of Lake Mead.

Up, up, up...alternating between gentle up and steep up, lots of loose rock under foot.
We'll eventually scramble up the dark rock wall high above Hans.

After all the loose rock trail, this wall was almost easy to climb, but the exposure was pretty scary.

Lake Mead in all her glory! Mt Charleston is barely visible beyond Hans' head.

Splashes of bright pink dot the hillsides as the cactus blooms start to open.

Yet another type of horned lizard!

A look back at Fortification Hill as we left the area. 

We had one other fun encounter during our stay, we got to meet Bill and Jodee and their sweet dog Tessa, fellow full timers whom I've followed for ages! When you read and comment on each others blogs/Facebook for years, meeting in person is the icing on the cake. If we're lucky our paths just may cross again later this year.

We're off to Pahrump, NV next. Fortunately our next stop has a pool because the temps are staying in the 80's for a while. Morning pickleball and a dip in the pool may be our routine for the next week.


  1. White Rock Canyon Trail looks wonderful. Those are fantastic pictures of the Colorado. Love all the Lizards and while I’m not a fan of Lake Mead, that’s a great picture of you on top overlooking it. While I’d love to hike the trails with you I’m afraid I just don’t have enough courage for Las Vegas.

    1. I'll take any critters I can get when I'm hiking and lizards never disappoint! Especially when there is such a variety!

  2. We are looking forward to returning to Boulder City this fall. There are still many hikes we didn't get to complete. Glad you enjoyed The Arizona Hot Springs and Fortification Hill. Fortification Hill does have spectacular views. Too bad the hike up is a killer. How nice that you finally caught up with Bill, Jodee, and Tessa! They are great people:) Enjoy Pahrump!

    1. More hikes! The hiking never ends in the west!

      It was awesome our paths finally crossed with Bill and Jodee!

  3. Those are some spectacular views on those trails! And I love the lizards! Nothing quite like a walk on The Strip.

  4. We have never been to Boulder City. It looks like we need to add this to the ever-growing list. Enjoy Pahrump and pickleball!

  5. Wow, what a view you had from the top of Fortification Hill! But hiking over loose rock doesn't sound like fun. The hike up Hot Spring Canyon looks great, though! We saw Cirque de Soleil "Love" about 10 years ago in Las Vegas and loved it! So fun that you met up with Jodee, Bill, and Tessa. :-))

  6. Falling on a mountain bike would definitely leave some hide behind. Cirque du Soleil is always a good time. Pickleball and a pool, ahhhh

  7. Who knew there were such fabulous hikes and scenery so close to Vegas!

  8. Great pictures and information. We'll be in Las Vegas the second week of May so this gives me some good ideas of things to do. Love all the lizard photos!

  9. And don't forget the Zip Line off the top of Boulder Mountain :)... and the paved bike path around it. That lava rock was too abrasive to risk a mountain bike crash and burn. I'd still be bleeding and scabbed up.

  10. Wow, you weren't kidding about those views from the top of Fortification Hill! Wonderful pics of the river too. So happy we finally got to meet up - and look forward to the next time :-))))