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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Las Vegas Overlook

A hike with a stunning view of the Las Vegas Valley and Red Rock Canyon

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.3 miles / 10.1 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly
 
Overview: This is a hike to the Muffins and a trail that goes along the edge of Blue Diamond Hill with views of the Las Vegas Valley. You return by a mountain bike trail called the Boneshaker. This is my favorite hike in this area. It's the one I've done the most often, and I will go to Blue Diamond Hill on those days when I want to do some hiking and just relax while looking at this city that I love so much.

The hike is moderate in difficulty. The difficult thing about it may be the distance. There is in excess of 1,000 feet of elevation gain on the way to the Muffins and then on to the Las Vegas Overlook. There's a still a bit more until you reach the crest of Blue Diamond Hill and walk along the trail that goes to the second overlook. From there, it's downhill, some of it being steep and a bit dicey.

Much of this trail was formed by mountain bikers and horseback riders. We hikers are following in their tracks. Much of Blue Diamond Hill is criss-crossed by various trails that bikers, horse riders, and hikers use. If you scan the satellite photo, you can see where the trails go. You can extend your hike by going any number of ways or exploring this hill in different areas on different hikes.

Happy hiking!


Tips: Bring a backpack with a water pouch such as a Camelbak. October through March is the best time to hike this trail. I've done it in May, but it got quite warm before I was finished and I was glad it was downhill.

Hiking boots are a must. I did take some friends to the Muffins once who only wore sneakers and they slipped too many times. One took a fall but was unhurt. For coming down the Boneshaker, you need to have good boots.

Blue Diamond Hill is mostly limestone, so always check the trail to look for sea shell imprints in the rock. There are a large number of them on the hill, but you have to watch carefully as you hike.

There is a good amount of parking at the trailhead. Public parking is before you cross under the horseback riding sign. Go early as the parking area can get full, and you really don't want to leave your car along the side of the road.

After your hike, visit Red Rock Canyon, see the Visitor Center, and drive the Scenic Drive and you can look across and see where you hiked. It puts things in great perspective.

Note: For some of the hike, there will be no cell phone coverage. The trail is quite evident if you read and follow the guide. I prefer having my GPS unit with the tracks I downloaded when I hike trails that I've found on EveryTrail.

Points of Interest

Parking
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The trailhead

The parking area is before this sign at the drive for this horseback riding company.
Junction
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Turn 1

The trail takes a left from the driveway and starts going past the corral where many of the horses are kept.
Junction
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Turn 2

After crossing the wash and going a short distance, you arrive at the second turn—one that goes off to the right and heads across the desert.
Junction
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Turn 3

There is a fork in the trail and you need to take the left fork. That's the one that takes you directly to the Muffins.
Viewpoint
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The Muffins

The Muffins are two large conglomerate boulders at the top of the first ridge. You can climb up the side of one of them fairly easily for a great view of Red Rock Canyon and the Las Vegas Valley.
Junction
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Another junction

As you near the overlook, you join the trail that you would arrive at if you had taken the right fork early in the hike. From here it's a short distance to the first overlook.
Viewpoint
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Las Vegas Overlook

While you can see much of Las Vegas from several places on Blue Diamond Hill, this place has been called the Las Vegas Overlook for a number of years. I always stop here to take some photos.
Viewpoint
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Las Vegas Overlook 2

After leaving the first overlook, you follow the trail up the hill to the top of the second ridge and follow it along. Blue Diamond Hill is limestone, but there are several areas of the shinarump conglomerate along the trail. Watch for desert animals and cacti. The blooms are beautiful!

I usually take some time at the edge of the ridge for a snack and if I bring my binoculars to zoom in on Las Vegas and the planes leaving McCarran. I have been here on a couple of occasions when you could see the sun reflecting off Lake Mead. It's a nice place to sit and enjoy the view.
Landmark
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Tower

There is some kind of communications or weather information center here. It has grown in size in the past few years. There's a nice solar array to help power the center. I have no idea what it's for, but it's a good landmark to know you're on the right track to come back to the car via the Boneshaker Trail.
Junction
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The Boneshaker

This is the beginning of the Boneshaker Trail, a mountain bike trail. There's a sign at this junction—a bit weathered with exposure to the sun—and it indicates to keep heading west.
Viewpoint
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View

There are so many great views coming back the Boneshaker including some great conglomerate formations. I marvel at the terrain the mountain bikers traverse.
Junction
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View 2

Here's a view across the canyon and you can see the trail you took to get to the Muffins that are at the top of the photo. The downhill from here on gets a bit steep in places so use care. The footing can be difficult with the loose rock.
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Fork

The original trail goes to the right, but the bikers have made the downhill part shorter and steeper by going almost straight down the hill. There are a few turns, but this is a steep area and the footing is difficult at times.
Junction
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Last junction

The obvious route to take is to go left at this junction. Instead, continue straight across the desert and you'll join the trail you took in. If you want to stay on a defined trail, you can make a left here and then take the road for the horseback riding company back to the car. In any case, you can see the car from here, so it doesn't matter how you go back. I generally bushwhack this short section.
Landmark
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Corral

I always leave the trail to go to the fence of the corral and talk to the horses. They enjoy have their noses rubbed, and they will come to the fence. I don't feed the horses because the business doesn't want them to associate getting treats or other food from hikers. This way they won't learn to expect treats from people and perhaps bite one of their riders.
Pictures in this guide taken by: LVHiker

Las Vegas Overlook Trail Map


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About the Author

LVHiker
LVHiker
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I love hiking in the Southwestern United States.

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