Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bootleg Ridge - 1/16/14

Bootleg Ridge

Mother Trail

 We thought it would be a warm day but up on Bootleg Ridge the wind was strong. Nevertheless, nine hikers persevered through the wind and completed a 7 mile loop hike that began at the base of the zip line on the Mother Trail in Boulder City's Bootleg Canyon Bike Trails Park.

The Mother Trail is a very wiggly trail that leads laterally along the mountains to the west of the zip line.

Mother Trail

Hiking Through Yellow on Mother Trail

  We "warmed up" on the 3.25 miles that we hiked on this easy going bicycle trail. Then, reaching a junction overlooking the Cascata Golf Course, we turned to go up a rarely used hiking trail. This trail took us up to our first small peak of the ridge. There would be seven peaks conquered by the time we finished the ridge. The first few peaks are relatively easy but as we progressed, the peaks and descents became much more difficult.

Surmounting Bootleg Ridge

First Peak on Bootleg Ridge

 The views from the ridge were vast on both sides. Most interesting were the views of the Las Vegas Strip and the Lava Butte area. The wind blew us along and we hurried as best we could along the ridge. Finding a sheltered area near the end of the ridge, we sat for a break while one hiker bandaged a hand injury. The rocks on the ridge are very sharp and footing is difficult. There are two or three places in particular that the terrain is quite precarious.

Traversing Around a Black Peak

Most Precarious Descent off of a Peak

 At the end of the ridge trail, we turned left down a small game trail that leads over to an area that appears to be where many bighorns hang out. From here, we began a rocky drop down to a wash. Even though the game trail continues, we could not follow the bighorns' path! But, there is a way to get down the hill safely and slowly. At the bottom of the hill, we found ourselves in a small canyon. We turned left and followed a small trail around the point of a ridge.

Las Vegas from Bootleg Ridge

Lava Butte from Bootleg Ridge

 Around the point, we hiked up the small wash that led up through the next canyon. At the saddle, we traversed around to the right then dropped down to the road below. All that was left was to follow the West Leg Trail and/or the Girl Scout Trail back down (paralleling the zip line road) to the cars.

This hike is colorful and has many great views. The trail conditions on the ridge leave a little to be desired. Nevertheless, it was a good workout.

6.7 miles; 1400 feet elevation gain; 4.25 hours

Hiking Up Small Wash

Sign at Trailhead

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