Views, Shoes & Fading Light – River Mountains, Nevada

View towards Red Mtn Overlook

How could a mountain range this dry and devoid of vegetation sport a name that hints at the possibility of water, much less rivers?  Maybe some smart ass frontiersman or cartographer took a look at the surroundings and in a moment of many lulz decided to pass along the sarcasm to generations of thirsty desert dwellers.  My best guess however, is that since this mountain range actually separates the Las Vegas Watershed from the Lake Mead Watershed, its most important feature is not what is held within it but what it defines outside of it.  So think of it instead as the Mountains That Define Rivers.

The area we romped in is called Bootleg Canyon Recreation Area(BCRA).  It is on approx. 2400 acres of land owned by Boulder City, NV and lays host to hiking, epic mountain biking and zip lining.  On this particularly warm November Saturday afternoon we choose to hike up to Red Mtn. Overlook and then down to the main parking area.  We took two vehicles so we could shuttle the family to the top and enjoy a leisurely downhill stroll.  A good guess at mileage would be around 4 miles.

Gayle the Red Shoe'd Grandeer

Miles are nothing however, if you got a pair of these shit kickin’ stompers!  Just one look could leave an unsuspecting Gila monster flipping over premature to the bite, presumably from embarrassment or laughter, with the latter being on par with most living creatures.   Nickname possibility: Gayle the Red Shoe’d Grandeer, Mrs. Trailablaze,  Luminescent Loafer or Fire Feet.

The hike from the upper parking lot is very straight forward and can be seen almost in its entirety all the way to the overlook.  It is well maintained and clearly marked.  At a little under a mile to the top it is a great hike for children and Red Shoe’d Grandeers. Caution is advised at the top however, as there is a formidable cliff on the south side of the summit.

Trail to the top.

View of the west end of Boulder City.

Mini Trekkers

Once on the summit, vistas of Lake Mead, Boulder City and Las Vegas dominate the horizon.  Views can also be had of the Spring Mountains, La Madre Mountains, Rainbow Mountains, El Dorado Mountains and the Black Canyon Area including a section of the new Hoover Dam bypass bridge.

A view of Las Vegas from Red Mtn Overlook

My son Ash and Boulder City in the background.

Pops with Lake Mead in the distance.

It really is a good spot, this little blip on the map.  You could head up here just before sunset and share a bottle of wine with someone or maybe come up before sunrise and then head down to Boulder City for breakfast.  I’ve even come up here for a meteor shower and an after midnight midsummer night hike on a full moon.  The light of which played on the waters of Lake Mead as it broke the horizon of the distant desert peaks.  This little desert pimple will not disappoint, I promise.

With the views soaked in and the little bellies temporarily satisfied we stumbled on down the trail, confident in our ability to navigate in the fading light as long as we had Fire Feet in the lead.  An important thing to remember when going downhill is to let your feet and legs flail around limply while staring at everything except the trail.  At least this is what anyone under 10 will tell you.  So in defense of certain disaster I grabbed my youngest by the hand and started running, swinging him through the air at each switchback.  The thrill of it was enough to have him laughing at full blast. Good times.


Dads shoulders gives you wings!

We went down there.


After a weird apocalyptic like scene from a movie which involved several people running past us through the desert, not on the trail, we weaved our way through the clay mounds that make this area so popular for mountain biking.  It is somewhat maze like, but all one has to do is head towards the zip line structures on the hilltops to the south and you will soon find yourself on the road to the lower parking area.

A bit of Lake Mead is visible below.

A moment in the fading light.

It is at these times, when the travesties of others are laid down and do not contrast against the fading light, that I am content with the outcome of things.  What things are not clearly known and can not be conveyed into proper words.  So I leave my thoughts to the darkness and feign ignorance of others plights.  I am hopeful for these moments and wish carefully that the eyes of my children can see levels of reality beyond my own.

End Desert Begin City


2 comments on “Views, Shoes & Fading Light – River Mountains, Nevada

  1. Thetis and Keith says:

    Love it!!!

  2. Mom says:

    You wrote about the day so beautifully…it brings a smile to my face…love ya!!

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