Sunday, January 18, 2015

Skyline & Power Pole (Bootleg Canyon Bike Trails) - 1/18/15

Bootleg Canyon

Bike Race Excitement

 Our simple moderately strenuous hike on two new Bootleg Canyon bike trails turned into an exciting delve into the bike racing world today! We arrived at the area below the zip line base in Boulder City and knew right away that we would not be parking there! We quickly found a place to park among the tents, RVs and trucks about a quarter mile below the planned trailhead and started hiking up through the organized chaos.

Lost and Found
 Bootleg Canyon is a well known bike trail park and they have several events here every year. This particular event was the Nevada State Downhill Championships. And, here we were, right in the middle of it!

Starting Up the East Leg Trail
 After checking with someone as we passed by, we learned that our route would not be in the way of the racers that were now on the course practicing. So, after a quick stop at the restrooms, we found the beginning of the East Leg Trail. This is a very colorful trail at the base of Red Mountain. It is in good condition and is fun to hike. We passed a downhiller's ramp built for bikers to practice their downhill skills. (See photo on the right.)

Hiking the East Leg
 As we hiked, the trucks that shuttled the bikers up the hill passed by. Their bikes hung over the side of the fence around their flatbeds. We could feel the excitement exude from the back of the trucks. These were bikers of all ages. Even bikers that appeared to be in their early teens.


 Although we planned to turn onto the Power Pole Trail for the ascent, we missed it then saved it for the descent. When we got to the dirt road crossing, we junctioned with the Skyline Trail. As fate would have it, this was a beautiful mistake! The early sun shone on the Las Vegas skyline in the distance and we had a front row seat of the view. The view would have been slightly less seen since our backs would be turned on the Power Pole Trail and later the clouds came rolling in.

On the Skyline Trail with the Skyline View
 We followed the Skyline Trail on a gentle climb all the way up to the dirt road parking and turnaround. A few recreational bikers came zooming down in front of us as we got close to it. Scary!

Radio Tower Stuff

 We were very respectful of the event boundaries and inquired about access to Red Mountain peak. There didn't seem to be any problem and we went on up to watch the activities. Today, we were not able to get all the way to the peak because the racers were zooming down the mountain between us and the top. Nevertheless, we mingled among some of the bikers and took several photos. It was all very exciting! ... Did I say that already?

Top of Power Pole Trail
 We came back down to the parking turnaround and, as suggested, squeezed around the large forbidding gate on the paved road that leads up to the radio tower. We hiked up the road only a quarter mile and found the Power Pole trailhead ... at the power pole crossing!

Descending Power Pole Trail

 Also as advised by some of the bikers, the first part of the trail is steep and loose. But, it wasn't anything that we couldn't handle and it didn't last long. After the initial dive over the edge, the descent became more and more gentle. The trail had its own charm with somewhat darker colors. An ascent on this trail would have been a little more work than the ascent we made on the Skyline Trail but we still enjoyed our choice.

More Colors
 Trucks full of bikers continued passing by below. Their competition would begin at noon.

Power Pole / East Leg Junction Area

 When we junctioned with the East Leg Trail, we realized that the Power Pole Trail was the one that we thought was a different trail when we passed by earlier. There is no sign on this one. So, we continued back to the zip line base on the East Leg Trail and roamed through the excitement one last time. Fun morning! Next,  the brunch appointment at the Railroad Pass Casino with the River Mountains Trail graduates!

5.5 miles; 1100 feet elevation gain; 2.75 hours

Nearing the Zip Line Base Area

Love It!

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