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Best Easy Day Hikes: Las Vegas
by Bruce Grubbs (Falcon Guides)
This hike climbs through the vertical limestone cliffs on the south side of Kyle Canyon to Cathedral Rock. From this rocky summit, you can see Mount Charleston and Mary Jane Falls. The South Loop Trail also leaves this trailhead; stay right on the Cathedral Rock Trail. A series of broad switchbacks climb a ravine between the towering cliffs. This ravine is an active avalanche path in winter, as evidenced by the lack of tall trees. Only low brush and limber aspen trees manage to survive the repeated slides. Watch for a seasonal waterfall off the trail to the left, which is accessible via short spur trail. Flow at the waterfall is greatest in the spring. When the trail reaches the saddle below Cathedral Rock, bear right to reach the summit. This 8,500-foot summit offers sweeping views of spectacular Kyle Canyon, including Mary Jane Falls to the northwest near the head of the canyon.
Best Hikes with Dogs: Las Vegas & Beyond
by Kimberly Lewis & Paula Jacoby-Garrett (The Mountaineers Books)
The Cathedral Rock Trail is a moderately strenuous hike to the top of a 1000-foot limestone rock face, so this hike is only recommended for fit dogs that can handle a substantial elevation gain in a short distance. This trail has much to offer, including colorful wildflowers during the summer months and one of the best displays of fall color anywhere around Las Vegas. In the fall, yellow aspen trees surrounding the trail are a good reminder that there actually are seasons in Las Vegas. For your dog, this trail has the added bonus of a seasonal waterfall about halfway up the trail. When you reach the summit, pay close attention to your dog—there is a sheer drop-off at the edge of the summit. This hike is not recommended when there is snow on the trail or at higher elevations. The trail leads through an area historically known for avalanches. Under foot and paw: Gravel with small rocks, sometimes slightly slick.
My son (8 yr. old) and I drove up from Las Vegas to this trail, about 50 minutes from the Strip. The elevation gain to the parking lot is about 5000 ft. above Vegas and the Tempature surprised us when we got out of the car (64 deg in town, 38 deg. at the trailhead). We started out on the trail at the lower trailhead only passing 4 hikers coming down and 2 going up on a Tuesday morning. The walk is nice and wide with the first 1/4 mile dirt, followed by a gravel incline up through most of the 1996 avalanche area. This is a nice grown up section with Aspen trees turning yellow. Lots of overlooks and good pictures of the surrounding hills and mountains. At about 1/4 mile from the top the climb gets a steeper and you get some great looks at some huge pines. The top can be very windy, although not this morning. The Palmer Chipmunks were out, begging for food, and were a treat to watch. After a snack at the top we came down the same way, only to take another route back to the upper trailhead inadvertantly. We followed the dirt trail just above Kyle Canyon road that took us back to the Parking Lot. The entire trip took us about 2-1/2 hours and was very enjoyable, coming away with some great pictures.
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