Feb 10, 2010 at 8:57 pm #1255122
Hoping some of the locals can give me some advice. I'm heading to Las Vegas for a stag on the 3rd weekend in May and figured I'd try out some of the trails if possible. I'd likely head down earlier in the week to get a 3-4 day hike under my belt.
What trail/park can I get to from the airport without a car? ie. public transportation.
Is there somewhere so crazy amazing that I should just find a way to get there?
I know there are beautiful places down there, but I'm more concerned with how to get there and stuff. Any help would be great.Feb 10, 2010 at 9:03 pm #1572480
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
You can get to the grand canyon via shuttles. It's crazy amazing and worth it.Feb 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm #1572486
+1 on the Grand Canyon. Easy shuttles, Look for some deals online etc.. Truly an amazing place.Feb 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm #1572487
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
I'm in Las Vegas now, and have been hearing some nice things about Red Rock Canyon, which is much closer than The Grand Canyon. Obviously, it's a different trip, but if you are looking for a qucik 1/2 day trip and have a car it's an option.
TomFeb 10, 2010 at 9:25 pm #1572491
I'd be looking at 3-4 days.
I've visited the Grand Canyon before, but never hiked in it. Any trail in particular you recommend?
I've looked at a bunch of the parks in Vegas, just want to make sure I don't miss out on the best one!Feb 10, 2010 at 11:19 pm #1572529
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Red Rock canyon is beautiful and within driving distance of a couple million people… you know what that means :)
3rd week in May could bring temperatures well above 100.
I haven't hiked much in the Spring Mountains (just above Vegas), but Eric might chime in.
If you head out towards Lake Mead, there really aren't any trails and water is an issue unless you stay near the lake. I did post a trip report last month about a loop I did. It would be easy to get to Boulder City and maybe you could hitch hike to an area of interest.Feb 11, 2010 at 5:52 am #1572551
I figured everywhere would be busy that is close to the airport and easily accessible. I realize that I will be out of my element there. Up here, we have lots of forests, tons of water, and I can't remember last time I saw 100F temps while out hiking.
I'm thinking of piecing together a route in the grand canyon…man, I really love researching new places to hike!Feb 11, 2010 at 7:03 am #1572568
Another consideration would be Zion NP. It is also served by shuttles. Take a look at hiking the Virgin River from top to bottom. Definitely not 100°.
There Used to be a park shuttle that would take you to the top, and is part of the reservation process.
And there Used to be a walk-in campground not to far from the lodge, so you'd have a place to stay while staging.
My info is many years old, so do some checking.
The Virgin is easy, beautiful, and a classic slick rock canyon.Feb 11, 2010 at 7:41 am #1572578
Zion was the first place I thought of. I'd love to go, but when I went to the website it said there was no public transportation to the park so I kind of wrote it off.
I think I need to call a few places. The help is greatly appreciated guys.Feb 11, 2010 at 7:47 am #1572580
There are plenty of areas to hike up at Mt. Charleston and it is just 45-60(ish) minutes from the airport. I can get some more details on specific trails from family in the area if you are interested. I have been to a couple waterfalls there and its crazy how pretty it is in contrast to Las Vegas…Feb 11, 2010 at 7:57 am #1572584
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
I know that 5 years ago there were shuttles between St. George and Vegas, and within the park there are shuttles. The problem would be getting from St. G to the park. I'm sure there is something. I'd call Zion Adventure Company, and do it now while they're slow. Good people and local knowledge. Depending on the thaw, the Narrows might or might not have too much water to hike that time of year.
Red Rock is a huge place. You'd be able to find solitude out behind the main canyon area, but it'd require some x-c navigation and (that time of year) hauling a bunch of water.
It'd be pretty darn hot in the Grand Canyon that time of year, too. I presume all shuttles go to the south rim area. A good 3-4 day loop for an experienced hiker who isn't as experienced canyon hiker would be to go down the South Kaibab, across the Tonto, and up the Grandview trail. Doable in May, but I'd be hauling a bunch of water in places, and doing dawn starts with a nice 4 hour siesta in the shade from 11-3 or so.
Sure you can't rent a car? Driving to and hiking on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon might be the best option of all.Feb 11, 2010 at 10:06 am #1572634
@ravs4funLocale: Desert Southwest
There are a ton of amazing hikes in the Las Vegas area. I would suggest you keep on eye on the weather as it can already be 100+ degrees by the middle of May here in the desert.
Mt Charleston is a lot cooler then the Vegas valley since it's from 7,000-11,919 in elevation. The Charleston Peak loop hike is great but depends on snowfall of which we keep getting more snow because of El Nino.
Zion NP is a great place and you could easily spend a week there backpacking and hiking. Try St. George Shuttles which run like 9 times a day from the LV airport to St. George.
The north rim of the Grand Canyon is generally open by the middle of May but I don't think that there is any shuttle service that will take you there. There are lots of tour companies that will take you to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Another area worth checking out is the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah. But you would need a car to get there. GSENM is the largest National Monument in the lower 48 and you could spend months there checking out some amazing scenary.
You could be in the Southern Sierra's with a 4 hour drive across Death Valley Nat'l Park but once again you would need a car.
Red Rock is a great place for day hikes or climbing. You might be able to do an overnighter at Red Rock but have to be above 5,000 feet to camp out. Another great place for day hikes is Valley of Fire State park which is about an hour drive from Las Vegas. There are many tour companies that will take you there but no shuttle service that I know of.
Since I live in Las Vegas let me know if you need any specific questions answered. Have a great trip.
JamesFeb 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm #1572704
Thanks for the input. I've been reading up on some places and now I'm thinking it may be worth renting a car. $30/day buys me a lot of freedom and save me some time…Feb 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm #1572709
Renting a Car!
HooYa! Tremendous opportunities.
Lone Pine, Ca is only 5 hours away. Whitney, the White Mountains, Bishop and the Palisades, and on, and on, and on.Feb 14, 2010 at 11:06 am #1573692
Haven't forgot about you guys – just looking into all the different places – I'm still having a tough time choosing where to go. :)Feb 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm #1573748
Researching Zion NP I came across something called the Trans Zion Trek. After a bit more digging I find out that Skurka actually ran the thing in a ridiculous 9.5 hours.
I'd be looking at more of 3 to 4 days to cover the same distance, hopefully add a side trip to Angels Landing just because I think I have to.
What you guys think?Feb 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm #1573782
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Steven, I've hiked almost every section of that route at one time or another. It's a fun journey, and would give you a great sense of the ecosystem transitions around Zion. Things might be a bit warm mid-day, but quite manageable.
The downside is the shuttle. I can't think of a convenient way to do it. Hitching would take a long time, and if you could find a company to run it I can only presume it would be expensive.Feb 14, 2010 at 4:23 pm #1573797
@obxcolaLocale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Definitely! Even if it's a drive by.
The east rim hike at Zion is underwhelming.
The north rim Grand Canyon) may still snowy ( you'll feel right at home )
How about the lower route ( north rim) out to Crazy Jug and go down to surprise valley, Thunder River. The "river" will be cranking with the snow-melt. Looks like Angel FallsFeb 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm #1573804
I was under the impression that the shuttle went between the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and the Kolob Canyon visitor center. I just looked and see that it does not…hmmm, a major glitch in my plan. :)Feb 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm #1575023
I'm hooked on Zion right now – the place just looks so different, I've got to see it! I'm putting together a modified loop of the park. I thought about cutting the top section of the Trans Zion Trek out and heading down into the Subway which would spit me out at Left Fork Trailhead on Kolob Terrace Road…
A few questions though…
1) I was thinking of bringing my gear for The Subway but now I'm seeing videos of people on youtube with just a rope – nothing else. the Zion NP website says I should bring my harness/helmut and stuff. Is this required or does it just have a few dropoffs?
2) Can we hike anywhere in the park – offtrail? Or do we have to stay on designated routes?
3) How likely is it to link the Left Fork Trailhead to the tip of the Chinle Trail? I don't have a detailed map and can't see if there are any huge canyons/mountains in between?
Thanks for helping me out.
SteveFeb 17, 2010 at 5:16 pm #1575122
@obxcolaLocale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Like your spirit. Can't answer directly! Though I've done some cross-country in the SW; just not right there on the west fork to Chinle transit.I was looking at this map and I had to laugh; http://www.zionnational-park.com/map-zion-topo.htm
Try looking at a close-up of a google map of the area you are inquiring about in the terrain view. I tried to link to it but ….
I can make these general observations. Flat walkable land has a way of disappearing abrubtly leaving nothing but thin air on the Colorado plateau which as a terrain tends to get extremely verticle. And Zion is an especially vertical place. Topo maps are laughable in their attempts to graphically portray the abrupt vertical transitions in the terrain. And a teeny 20 foot vertical face will leave you stranded unless you are prepared and skilled ( and won't begin to show on a map )
Get a PRECISE EXACT answer from someone who knows. And then enjoy. The southwest canyon country is an amazing country.
Having said that after looking at the terrain in expert gps in both the aerial photo view and the topo view it looks doable. I'd get out of the west fork/north creek canyon at the first place it is possible unless you can see for sure you can do it later/further down canyon. Anyway looks like you want to skirt the thumb rim then work your way east past Dalton Wash. The very next wash going east "flows" down into Coal-Pits where you can pick up the Trail. Still call or email someone who has done it and make sure. It's hard to tell looking at a map or even relatively high resolution photos as I've done enough to learn!Feb 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm #1575433
Thanks for the reply. I can't really tell from the pictures and videos if off trail travel is very possible in the park. It seems that there is a cliff everywhere and I don't want to bite off more then I can chew on my first trip down there! I looked at the google map of the area and it "seems" that is is relatively flat to cut across and meet the Chinle trail…but yes, having never been there I was hoping someone would just reply "No problem Steve, there's a well established trail that everyone takes to link the two trails together"… :) anyone?
The route you mention is exactly what I was thinking. Follow the canyon south to link with North Creek, past Right Fork, and then exit on the east side (if possible). Then just hike around the west and south base of Cougar Mountain. This would cut between Dalton Wash and Cougar and put me in line with Coal Pits wash.
Of course, I don't really want to do this unless someone tells me it can be done. I was going to call the park and ask but if they are like the rangers up here, they'll tell me not to do it regardless. In the end, I'm just trying to avoid retracing my steps.Feb 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm #1575435
Steven – I have done this trek (3 days mind you). It was great:Feb 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm #1575449
I'm jealous! That's the one I want to do, but how did you get back to your car afterwards?Feb 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm #1575489
Hi Steve – these folks can help you out!!
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