Thursday, December 26, 2013

Red & Black Mountains Loop via Bootleg Bike Trails - 12/26/13

Red and Black Terrain

Lake Mead NRA View from Black Mountain Overlook Peak

Red Mountain Peak
 By the time we finished today's hike up and around Red and Black Mountains, there were fourteen hikers. Six hikers gathered at the scheduled meeting place, six hikers joined them at the trailhead and two more hikers met up with us on Red Mountain Peak! We parked at the River Mountains Trailhead found off of Highway 93 in Boulder City, Nevada and began hiking the trail up into the colorful area above.

Joan and Linda Step Up on Red Mountain Climb
 We turned left onto the Upper Lake View Trails then left onto a bike trail called Ona Lee. Ona Lee became steep and rocky and we wondered who on earth would ever ride a bike here!

Pardon Me! Coming through!

Hiking Red Stone Bike Trails
 We were treated with a couple of bighorn sheep sightings from the area below the zip line. First, two males came running across the trail and below us to disappear up the red rock in the next canyon. Soon after that, we saw two females standing on a sloped ridge just watching us. We decided they must have felt very safe because they didn't leave even though they were clearly in silhouette on the ridge.

Climbing with Boulder City, Nevada in Background
 Next, we turned right onto Snakeback Trail, a trail that switchbacks up toward Red Mountain Peak.

Two Females Watch Us

Kay Climbs Up to the Zip Line Area
Straight above us was the first segment of the zip line and we were lucky to see a large group of zippers just arriving. With great fanfare, the worker bees zipped by above us. We were pretty sure, after that, that they enjoyed their job! There were two hikers already up at the peak base. We realized quickly that we knew them! Laszlo and Rozie had missed the meeting point and came late to the party. We were now fourteen hikers.

Watching the Zip Lines Take Off Below Red Mountain Peak
 As we finished climbing up the hill, the zippers started getting their big speech. Most of the hikers stayed to listen while four hikers summitted Red Mountain. It was pretty breezy up there and few hikers wanted to feel the windy bite.

View from Red Mountain Peak of Black Mountain Overlook Peak

Lettie's First Time on Red Mountain Peak
 Another show on tap for today involved two mountain bikers. We watched amazed as the two bikers rode down the Sidewinder and Snakeback Trails. (Ah, to be young and easily mended again!) After all the zippers unzipped, we began our hike down to the zip line parking lot.  From there, another couple of switchbacks down took us to the saddle between Red and Black Mountains.

Bicyclist Tackles the Bootleg Bike Trails
 With no further ado, we started up the Black Mountain Overlook Peak Trail. To our left, we saw a beautiful view of Las Vegas and the Spring Mountains. A snow-capped Mt. Charleston topped out the picture.

Las Vegas from Zip Line Parking Area

Climbing to Black Mountain Overlook Peak
 We hiked up the gentle climb enjoying the day now that we were out of the cold wind. At the peak, we saw that someone has replaced the informational sign that was there before with another sign. This time, geologic layers of various Vegas faults are named. We stayed here for a little while taking our break and looking out to Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Boulder City and the neighboring real Black Mountain Peak.

North and South Bowls of Fire Area from Black Mountain Overlook Peak
 Too soon, it was time to return to real life!

Starting Down the Switchbacks

Chris Leads from the Back of the Line
 We returned to the saddle and continued down the River Mountains Trail. First, there were a lot of switchbacks, then it was a long straight hike out of the canyon. When we reached the bike trail area, we opted to hike through the windy ancient sand dune trails.

Statistics for today: 6.3 miles; 1600 feet of total elevation gain; and, 3.5 hours.

Hiking Through Ancient Sand Dunes

New Informational Sign on Black Mountain Overlook Peak

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