Las Vegas is a town known for it’s nightlife, but there’s a surprising amount of outdoor recreation to be found in the surrounding areas. As mountain bikers, we think of Bootleg Canyon in nearby Boulder City when we think of Vegas riding, thanks to the Outdoor Dirt Demo and the Interbike tradeshow. Most of the year it gets quite hot, but in the middle of winter, temperatures are moderate, making it a suitable winter destination.
Bootleg Canyon is known for being hard on riders and bikes, and while we like the challenging terrain, we were in town for several days and wanted to see what else the Vegas area has to offer.
The forecast called for wind, so we elected to check out a trail running through more moderate terrain. After some online research, we were on the way to check out the Blue Diamond Loop in the Cottonwood North Trail System.
Heeding advice from MTBProject.com, we headed to the small town of Blue Diamond (30 minutes southwest of downtown Las Vegas) and parked at Mcghies Bike Outpost, the local bike shop.
There are a lot of options to chose from so we took the advice of the local bike shop, bought a map and headed out on a clockwise route around the rock that covered 13 miles or so.
Our map featured a number of trail options, but we encountered a few more. There was also some new looking signage, that according to some locals had been erected fairly recently.
There isn’t a big danger of getting lost, as you can see for miles, and the landmarks make navigating easy. You have mountains to the west and highways to the north, east and south. There were quite a few spur trails that could be a bit confusing since many of the names didn’t match up with the map, but making our way was easy enough.
We followed some locals for a bit, and not having to stop to consult the map for a while at the intersections was a nice change of pace.
The loop is rated as a blue square, or intermediate. There are a few rock gardens, but for the most part is fast paced and perfect for a five inch travel trail bike. It would make for a good training loop that keeps things interesting, and with the wind, was a good choice of locations for our day.
Desert riding is great change of pace from many of our local Bay Area trails, and if you’re in the Vegas area, it’s worth checking out.
We found the best online resources for the trail to be MTBProject.