For bike enthusiasts, no shortage of great places to get your ride on
Exploring the Las Vegas Valley on two wheels is a great way to survey the area’s charms. From leg-searing climbs to scenic loops, Vegas has a ride for every cycling style. Choose your route, then hit the saddle and go.
1. River Mountains Loop Trail This 35-mile paved loop hits Henderson, Boulder City and Lake Mead on its way around the River Mountains. With sections of steady climb, it’s a challenging trip, made worthwhile by the lovely views and wilderness vibe. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep as you pedal, and because scenery is abundant but shade is in short supply, be sure to pack extra water.
2. Pittman Wash Weekend mornings were made for leisurely rides along Pittman Wash. This 4-mile, one-way paved trail slices through Green Valley sans car traffic from Arroyo Grande Boulevard to Pebble Road. Even better, a quick detour from either end will lead you to a delicious breakfast at the Cracked Egg or Sunrise Cafe. Because fueling your body is important.
3. Cottonwood Valley Cottonwood’s 100-plus miles of single track are mountain bike heaven, backed by rocky peaks that feel a world away from the city down the road. Novices will find suitable stretches to earn their stripes, while more adept riders bounce over rock gardens and rocket down runs with names like Viagra and the Hurl.
4. Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop As scenic as it is punishing, the road through Red Rock Canyon draws spandex-clad cyclists to work up a sweat among the sandstone cliffs. While only 13 miles long, the ride kicks off with 1,000 feet of elevation gain in the first five miles. It’s tempting to fight through then zoom the rest of the way, but resist the urge to hurry home. This place is seriously beautiful; take a second to catch your breath and take it all in.
5. Bootleg Canyon Downhill junkies, grab your helmets. Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park is an adrenaline-packed funhouse that earned the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s “Epic” stamp of approval. Its 35 miles of trail include chilled out cross-country and high-intensity, technical downhill flow. Hop a weekend shuttle from All Mountain Cyclery to the saddle, choose from routes like Armageddon and Elevator Shaft, then hold on tight.
6. Mount Charleston Shortness of breath, tingling muscles, pain reverberating through your quads. Diagnosis? You’re climbing Mount Charleston. The Spring Mountain Range rises out of the desert, leaving behind Joshua trees and scrub for bristlecone pines and snow-capped peaks. Follow the route of the Mount Charleston Hill Climb race (Sept. 24), which starts at the base of Highway 156 and climbs 5,357 feet in 17.5 miles, or test your mettle on the Mount Charleston Challenge, a 60-mile loop starting and ending at Floyd Lamb Park.
7. Historic Railroad Tunnels As its name implies, the main attraction of this gentle dirt trail are the tunnels themselves, five wide holes cut into the earth for a railroad used in the construction of Hoover Dam. Cycling through the tunnels is good fun on its own, but along the way you’ll also pass historic displays, scenic overlooks of Lake Mead and benches where you can take a rest and soak in the view. A fantastic day’s worth of activity.
8. Craig Ranch Skatepark With five bowls, a street zone and 65,000 square feet of concrete, this North Las Vegas park provides ample space for skaters, BMX riders and anyone else on wheels to hone their skills. Local pros like Ricardo Laguna have been known to stop by, but riding here is really about getting to know the locals while working on a few sick grinds.