If you’ve only been to Las Vegas but not the surrounding area, you are missing out on some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. This book highlights great hiking destinations that are within hours of Las Vegas.
There are several features that distinguish this particular hiking guide. Most saliently, it includes fantastic photographs and maps. Even if you don’t have much interest in “exercise” per se, this book is worth it for the pictures.
At the beginning of the book there is also useful information about what to wear, what to bring with you, and what to expect. There is also background information, ranging from the possibly unwelcome sights (such as rattlesnakes) to the delightful finds, such as petroglyphs or pictographs (rock writings from the ancient past).
Secondly, for each recommended destination, there is an introduction explaining why the sight has appeal, and an overview of the flora, fauna, and cultural history of the area. Then an “At-A-Glance” section that tells you “Best Season,” “Length,” “Difficulty,” “Elevation Gain,” “Trailhead Elevation,” “Warnings,” “Jurisdiction,” and “Directions.” (Sometimes there are also “Alternate Directions.”)
The hikes do not by any means only involve climbs, and of course for any hikes, you have options as to distance and difficulty. There is also information about taking children along.
One of the most intriguing hikes to me is the one for the Zion Narrows, which is a riverbed through a canyon where you will see “lush hanging gardens, intimate alcoves, and spring-fed cascades falling from the canyon walls in to the river.”
Antelope Canyon, which is a slot canyon, is a spectacular short walk that I’ve taken myself (read: therefore very easy). Valley of Fire State Park, only an hour from Las Vegas, can be even easier (we drove through it).
Evaluation: I can’t say enough positive about the book. Whether you are interested in hiking or not (I myself prefer “hiking” vicariously, from the couch), the background about these scenic areas is interesting and informative, and the pictures of the wonders of the Southwest, taken by the author, are a marvel. If you love national parks, you too will love this book.
Published by Imbrifex Books, 2017