The next time you are in Las Vegas, don’t just sit around in a dim, smoky casino blowing all your cash and then put on more weight at the all-you-can-eat buffet. OK, so the buffets are amazing, but maybe you’d like to mix up some of the gambling with some exercise.
The Turtlehead Peak Trail is a great option for Las Vegas visitors who want to do more than just lose money at the craps table and then lose more money shopping at an artificial indoor mall.
While it’s easy to forget there is a natural world out there when encased in a seemingly never-ending corridor of connected casinos, Turtlehead is one of Las Vegas’s best attractions.
About the Red Rock Las Vegas Hike
Located in Red Rock Canyon, Turtlehead Peak provides truly amazing views of Las Vegas and the La Madre mountains. As a relatively short hike, it doesn’t need to take all day, so if you are truly jonesing for some blackjack, you can hike in the morning and get back to the card tables in the afternoon.
And trust us, with the hot Las Vegas weather, you will want to be out there as early in the morning as possible. This isn’t like Mission Peak weather – which, like the San Francisco Bay area Mission Peak is located in, is a lot more balmy. Las Vegas is in a desert. The temperatures can get into the 100s.
The trail is open all year round and features amazing views as well as beautiful, delicate wild flowers to appreciate.
The Red Rock Las Vegas hike along the Turtlehead Peak Trail is about five miles and takes three to four hours. (Some official information says the hike is a full day hike that takes seven to nine hours, but most hikers finish it much more quickly.)
This is not a hike for absolute beginners, and it can be a very challenging hike. It is rated as “difficult.” Hikers report that the trail starts out more moderate in the beginning, but it picks up about halfway through.
At that point, the trail markings are a lot more sporadic, so you need to pay attention to make sure you do not wander off the path. However, other hikers have reported that you can veer off the main trail and still make it to the top, so just be aware.
White dots have been painted on the rocks to help show you where to go.
No permit is required to hike Turtlehead Peak Trail, so you can go whenever you are ready.
5 Tips for Your Turtlehead Peak Trail Hike
If you have never hiked Turtlehead Peak Trail, here are a few tips to make your first hike successful.
1. Watch the Heat
The Las Vegas area gets very hot, especially in the summer. A good portion of the Turtlehead Trail is not covered, so you will be hiking in the sun. Remember to bring plenty of water! In the heat of the summer, you should go as early as possible and try to be done by 10 am.
2. Watch Your Footing
Going up is strenuous, but a little easier than going down. There are no switchbacks on this trail. It is basically straight up to the top. The way down can be slippery due to loose gravel and stones.
This is also why it is important to have good quality shoes or hiking boots. Don’t just come over to the trail after a stint in the casino with your ballet slippers on.
3. Put a Leash on Your Dog
Remember, this is a difficult trail that involves a significant vertical hike. Your dog can be brought on the trail, but make sure it is up to it. Your dog must also be on a leash at all times. This is not just for the protection of other people but your own dog as well. A dog that is not on a leash can get into trouble with wildlife and other dogs.
4. Take Breaks
Even experienced hikers can find this trail challenging, so don’t be ashamed to take some breaks along the way. This is particularly important if you go when it is hot out.
5. Wear Appropriate Clothing
As we already mentioned, proper shoes are important, but you should also wear lightweight clothes that won’t make you hotter than necessary. A hat with a brim and sunglasses will also help significantly.
Enjoy Turtlehead Peak in Las Vegas
Just a short hop from the casinos, Turtlehead Peak is Las Vegas’s best kept outdoor secret. The next time you plan to shoot the dice, plan on taking a nature break. You won’t regret it.