Backpacking in Nevada
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Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Backpacking in Nevada on 10/30/2012 17:43:31 MDT Print View

Hi Everyone - A bit background before my question. My neighbor has a sister who lives in Mesquite, NV. My neighbor was telling me how beautiful the state is and that there are a lot of great hiking areas in Nevada. I got a copy of "Backpacking Nevada: From Slickrock Canyons to Granite Summits" by Mike White. I was amazed at the beautiful areas!

So my question is this: have any of you done any backpacking trips in Nevada and do you have any favorite places?

Thanks so much!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Backpacking in Nevada on 10/30/2012 19:22:43 MDT Print View

Nevada is big state with varied terrain, from hot deserts to 11,000+ foot mountains.

If you are going to Mesquite, that is special. Close to all the picturesque places in Utah, fairly close to the Grand Canyon, and real close to Lake Mead NRA.

I hike there often because there aren't many people to contend with. Every December I do a hike somewhere in the southeast part of the state.

This December I might do a trip to Gold Butte, one of my favorite places in Nevada. It is close to Mesquite.

Here are a couple trip reports I wrote for my kids.



2009 Xmas Trip

2011 Xmas Trip

Edited to fix links. BPL really needs to upgrade this.

Edited by ngatel on 10/30/2012 19:27:32 MDT.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: "Backpacking in Nevada" on 10/30/2012 19:43:22 MDT Print View

Thanks, Nick! I'll check out your trip reports. Looking through the book on backpacking Nevada, there really is a lot of variety in the state. I hope to do some trips there soon.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Links fixed on 10/30/2012 19:55:59 MDT Print View

Opps... seems the files were private. I fixed them so anyone can view them. Darn cloud thingy.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
Backpacking in Nevada" on 10/30/2012 21:41:10 MDT Print View

Thanks Nick!

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Backpacking in Nevada on 11/03/2012 01:54:50 MDT Print View

Thanks, Nick!

James Arriola
(Ravs4fun) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Backpacking in Nevada on 11/03/2012 08:56:38 MDT Print View

There are lots of great backpacking areas in Nevada. A lot of them depend on the season and water sources. In the summer we all head to the mountains and the other seasons we venture into the desert. Since I live in Southern Nevada I can give you a few good ideas on backpacking around Las Vegas.

In the warmer months MT. Charleston or the Spring Mountain NRA is the place to go. There are lots of great backpacking trails around the MT. Charleston areas. The MT. Charleston peak trail is about 18 miles RT and goes up to the 11,919 foot peak. The Bonanza Trail is a good weekend trip but requires a car shuttle.

Red Rock Canyon is a great day hiking area and it does get a lot of day traffic since its really close to Las Vegas. You can backpack at Red Rock but you have to camp at 5,500 feet or higher which puts on up high or on the backside of Red Rock.

The Lake Mead NRA has a ton of great areas to explore as Nick has stated. You might have to carry all of your water depending on your location you select. There are some established trails but mostly you pick an area and go for it. Bowl of Fire, Pinto Valley and some trails leading down to the Colorado River are really nice trips.

Valley of Fire State Park is a great place to visit and has some shorter day hikes. Backpacking is not really allowed because of the lack of longer trails and no water sources.

The Muddy Mountains Wilderness area near Lake Mead and Valley of Fire is one of the best desert backpacking areas in Southern Nevada. Lots of beautiful scenery, solitude, and some amazing prehistoric rock art if you can find it.

The Gold Butte area is pretty amazing. Most of the trips there you would have to look at a topo and just go. Don't forget its pretty remote and carry lots of water.

I have limited backpacking trips throughout the rest of the state. The Ruby Crest Trail near Elko is probably the best longer trip in the state. The trail is about 43 miles long and almost every night you can camp at a beautiful alpine lake. Part of the Tahoe Crest Trails runs along the Nevada portion of Lake Tahoe.

I hope you are able to have some amazing trips. If you have any questions PM me.

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Backpacking in Nevada on 11/03/2012 09:29:38 MDT Print View

+1 on Nevada
My recommendation for high desert is Great Basin Nat'l Park. While you are on your way to various adventures, be sure to check out the petroglyph sites.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Backpacking in Nevada on 11/04/2012 13:13:58 MST Print View

Agree with James on Red Rock Canyon.

Red Rock Canyon Day Hike

Another Lake Mead area trip report

2008 Lake Mead Trip

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Backpacking in Nevada on 11/09/2012 08:59:32 MST Print View

Thanks so much, guys, for the great information. Nevada has so much beauty! And I originally thought of it as just empty desert where the military blew up bombs! Silly me, I know.

I am definitely going to explore some of the areas you've recommended. I read somewhere that the backpacking in the mountains of Nevada is as good as in the Sierras, but without the crowds.

Thanks again. I knew I could count on you! :)

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Backpacking in Nevada on 11/09/2012 09:02:35 MST Print View

Thanks so much, James. I was reading about the Elko area and it sounded great. I'll definitely get in touch if I have any questions.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Backpacking in Nevada on 11/09/2012 09:05:00 MST Print View

Thanks, Bruce. I'm really fascinated by petroglyphs. When I took my Outward Bound course in Canyonlands, we came across a lot petroglyphs. Amazing when you think how long they've lasted.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Backpacking in Nevada on 11/09/2012 09:05:35 MST Print View

Water is not as plentiful as in the Sierra.

I love desert hiking, and there are big deserts in many states. Always my first choice to hike.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Re: Backpacking in Nevada on 11/09/2012 09:14:54 MST Print View

Nick - these are beautiful trip reports! Thanks for sharing the links. Your photos are great. The area reminded me a lot of Canyonlands. I really enjoyed your reports. I can't wait to check out Nevada.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Desert backpacking on 11/09/2012 09:36:57 MST Print View

I never understood why people would want to back pack in the dessert: no trees, no moss, no ferns, no green, no streams or water. I live in the east and I guess that's just what I know.

Last fall, though, I made trips into southern Utah and Death Valley. Now I get it. Its hard for me to say why but there is something special about the desert. I think the openness makes you feel even more alone than in a closed in forest.

For me, though, its a special trip. We have none close at all. I do enjoy the reports you all post, though.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Desert backpacking on 11/09/2012 09:55:35 MST Print View

Ben,

Some thoughts on deserts. They are "clean." Very sparse and no rotting vegetation. Pick up a handful of sand and it looks and feels clean. Not a lot of extraneous material in it.

The desert is efficient. Only the strong survive. This goes for everything.

The openness provides great vistas. The world is open to you -- you can see it everywhere. You don't have to climb a peak to get out of your immediate environment to see a vast expanse. To me the openness invites optimism. It demands exploration.

The desert requires you to become a better hiker. You must be smarter, more skillful, and more experienced. It requires the best in us to survive.

And most importantly, the desert is solitude.

I am close to the most famous mountain range in the US; the high Sierra. And I hike there a lot. It is special. So is the desert. I partake of both. The Sierra is like a mistress; the desert a life-long companion.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Desert backpacking on 11/09/2012 11:23:54 MST Print View

Well said, Nick. It was the openness and feeling of being alone(even though I was with my family) that I really loved. I really liked it much more than I thought I would and will definitely go back.

But I have no bad feelings toward the dirtiness of wet places. I love the smell of rotting leaves, mosses, and all green things. I think it will always be my familiar and the dessert will be more exotic.