Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest

by Deborah Wall

Hikers can enjoy solitude and unspoiled wilderness by day and world-class urban amenities by night.

Situated in the heart of the magnificent Southwest, Las Vegas is surrounded by spectacular natural landscapes. Within easy reach are five national parks, including Zion, Grand Canyon, and Death Valley. Dozens of state parks, regional preserves, recreation areas, and public lands offer amazing variety, from sand dunes and salt flats to alpine meadows, waterfalls, and ancient forests. Unique plant and animal life as well as archaeology, paleontology, and fascinating Wild West history are all waiting to be discovered in this region, making Las Vegas an ideal basecamp for exploring the region. Base Camp Las Vegas includes 101 of the best hiking destinations within hours of Las Vegas.

The author has hiked each of the 101 featured routes more than once, and she describes each in detail, including route, elevations, terrain, flora & fauna, and historical details. She notes the best season for enjoying each one, what to wear, and what to take along. She describes any hazards or inconveniences that hikers might encounter and rates the difficulty of each hike from easy to strenuous. She’s also included an easy-reference guide to the top five hikes in a variety of categories including birdwatching, stargazing, wildflowers, wetlands, kid and teen favorites, most strenuous, and most remote. Base Camp Las Vegas tells hikers where and when to go–and also how to prepare–to enjoy the best trails this unparalleled region has to offer.

Purchase Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest

Author picture

Deborah Wall is a freelance writer and photographer specializing in both adventure travel and family excursions. She writes an outdoor column for View Community Newspapers, a division of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A lifelong hiker, she has been a ski racer and has taught skiing and sailing. A former television producer and news anchor, she also worked as a model for skiing and outdoor publications. This book, her fourth, is an expanded and updated edition of Base Camp Las Vegas a best-selling hiking guide first published in 2010. Ms. Wall is the author of Great Hikes: A Cerca Country Guide (2004). She co-authored Access for All: Touring the Southwest with Limited Mobility (2014) and was a major contributor to Road Trips and Adventures, two more of the Cerca Country Guide series. She has won several Nevada Press Association awards and writes columns on about little-known hiking routes in the Southwest and tips for taking fun and safe trips.

More than 50 fans and avid hikers attended the launch party at the Clark County Library a in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 9th.  Truly astounding refreshments crafted by the chefs at The Goodwich were served.  Ms. Wall’s book is now available for sale wherever fine books are sold. Photos from this event can be seen here.



“Chapters are ordered according to distance from The Strip. A profusion of color photos fills the book. Each chapter provides an area overview and map, while each hike gets its own description along with direction to the trailhead, degree of difficulty, elevation (and gain), best time of year to go, and other relevant information.”

— Al Bonowitz, Westways AAA Magazine

“Aside from the wealth of information found inside these pages, it is an absolutely beautiful book as well. I highly recommend “Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest” by Deborah Wall to anyone interested in hiking or camping. It is an invaluable resource guide for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all activity levels.”

–Sheri Hoyte, Reader Views

***** “Part travel guide, part history, part paean to the Southwest, Deborah Wall’s descriptions of the region are warm, personal, and informed. Her love for and knowledge of the 101 locations covered here shine through, and her superb photography captures the full beauty of the Southwest’s many different geologies and landscapes. This is a book that will appeal to locals and visitors alike, one that readers will refer to over and over again, delving in to discover the almost unlimited number of scenic wonders within easy reach of Las Vegas, that most improbable of gateways to the great outdoors.”

—Peter Thody, Senior Contributing Writer,

“We live in the golden age of guidebooks, and one of the nice things about this is the proliferation of regional guidebooks like the second expanded edition of Base Camp Las Vegas by Deborah Wall. Subtitled 101 Hikes in the Southwest, BCLV is a beautifully laid out, richly photographed and impeccably organized guide to one of America’s greatest trekking regions. BCLV begins, as God intended, with a fold-out front cover that displays an overview map with sections and page numbers clearly marked. The area covered you can see on the small map on the front cover, basically Southeastern Nevada, Southwestern Utah, Northwestern Arizona and a slice of California…Each section starts out with a nice concise overview map and text, then jumps right into the hikes themselves. Each hike has the vital signs up front: best season, length, difficulty, elevation and warnings. The end result is a superbly balanced book: the photographs make you want to go (Eureka Dunes, here we come!), the maps tell you how to plan, and the detailed narrative gives nuance and depth to the different character of each hike.”

“Diving into the book, it provided a broad cross-section of terrain and difficulty, providing something for everyone. The book uses full-color printing throughout, and the photography is beautiful. There were a number of obscure trails and adventures that I had only heard of in passing, and that’s where Base Camp Las Vegas excels, in whetting your appetite for exploring places you may have heard of but have never been.”

–Jeff Hester, SoCalHiker

**** “This is just the book to make sure you have a great time exploring local wild spaces while enjoying evenings in the City that Never Sleeps.”

–Michelle Mallette, Librarian and

***** “The first part of the book covers preparation and safety. Deborah presents lots of good ideas to consider before making a long hike. There are also great full color photos that feature the highlights of a hike. For each hike, dangerous conditions are noted. One of my favorite section is the appendix at the rear of the book. All in all, I was delighted with this book. I only wish I lived closer!”

–Bassocantor, Amazon Reviewer Hall of Fame

**** “From falls to canyons, there are so many trails to choose from. And the great thing about this book is that each trail has the following: Best season to go, length, difficulty, elevation loss, trailhead elevations, warnings (such as flash floods, excessive heat, etc), jurisdiction, and directions. I wish we had this book before exploring Valley of Fire.”

–Elizabeth Los, The Consulting Writer

***** “As a hiker who is not from the SW but frequents it, what a terrific book. While the National Parks and other big recreational areas get a lot of foot traffic, I am constantly looking for more local hikes that are a bit more isolated. Great pictures and details. Will definitely use this a resource for planning my next trip to the area.”

–Anna Li, RetRead Podcast

***** “Really great information and written with the hiker in mind. Excellent!.”

–Georgia Makitalo, Goodreads reviewer

***** “A great guide for seasoned as well as newbie adventurers. The information is thorough and easy to comprehend. Thank you for putting together a wonderful guide book!”

–Missie Sexton, Goodreads reviewer

***** “This gem of a book contains detailed insights into, as it says, 101 hikes in and around Vegas (who would have thunk it!?) – with tips, tricks, level of difficulty, time needed, what to carry with you, sights to see on the hikes, to-dos and not-to-dos, and so much more. The pictures of the hikes inspire and give you an idea of what to expect while the maps will truly be helpful.”

–Vidya Tiru,

“Deborah Wall clearly knows and loves her hiking trails. The staggering variety of trails encompasses the extremely short (350 yards) to the extremely long (34 miles), easy to strenuous. The concise descriptions note the scenic wonders, the plant and animal life, the historic and archaeological features. and even a bit of folklore . There are several trails where you can view petroglyphs, some that feature ghost towns and even one that has both a ghost town and a collection of fossils from the Ichthyosaur, which lived there when the desert was underwater. There are also tips about each trail and about hiking in general. And oh yes, over 200 beautiful photographs. Grab this book, and your feet will be itching to hit the trail.”

—Dennis Goza, Activated Theater

“Deborah Wall’s new book, Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest is truly a unique hiking guide that takes readers on a tour of 101 different hiking trails found in the vicinity of Las Vegas that includes forested canyons, geological wonders, and some off the beaten path hikes that even locals may have overlooked. I was happy to find there are a few trails I did not know of that are rather close to me. Bridge Spring Trail, or trail number 33 as it appears in the book, is certainly on my to-do list as soon as the weather permits. This trail takes you to a naturally occurring rock bridge near Nelson, Nevada and according to the guide it’s an easy hike. It seems that almost every page has a beautiful picture of the locations featured in the book and each hike has a summary of how to find it, difficulty level, and any warnings you should be aware of when going there.”

—Osie Turner, Contributing Writer,

“I really like the idea of a “base camp” from which to explore an area and instantly liked the quality feel of the book. Deborah Wall’s writing is engaging – it feels like a friend is talking to you and preparing you for your day’s adventure. Each description is followed by a “quick glance” feature that includes the season to go, hike length, difficulty, elevation gain, starting elevation, any warnings, the jurisdiction and driving directions.”

—Carol White, author of Live Your Road Trip Dream: Travel for a Year for the Cost of Staying Home

“There is more to do in Las Vegas than visit the casinos and the Strip! Having hiked many of the hikes in Deborah Wall’s Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest over the years, I can say she is spot on. The Rings Trail and Lava Tube hikes in Mojave National Preserve are quite the adventure but not difficult. After hearing about Valley of the Fire State Park in Nevada for years, we recently completed the Mouse’s Tank and White Domes Loop Trail hikes taking us through stunning beauty.”

—Jaimie Hall Bruzenak, author of Retire to an RV: The Roadtrip to Affordable Retirement

“The first part of the book covers preparation and safety. Deborah presents lots of good ideas to consider before making a long hike. There are also great full color photos that feature the highlights of a hike. One of my favorite section is the appendix at the rear of the book. All in all, I was delighted with this book. I only wish I lived closer!”

—Bassocantor, Hall of Fame Amazon Reviewer

“I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the maps and pictures of the hiking areas and hope to be able to apply them to a trip next summer. Thanks to the author for listing everything that one might need on these hikes, as well as what type of a hike it is; easy, moderate, difficult.”

—Denise Gary, Librarian

“As a hiker who is not from the SW but frequents it, what a terrific book. While the National Parks and other big recreational areas get a lot of foot traffic, I am constantly looking for more local hikes that are a bit more isolated. Great pictures and details. Will definitely use this a resource for planning my next trip to the area.”

—Anna Li, RetRead Podcaster

“Really great information and written with the hiker in mind. Excellent!”

—Georgia Makitalo, Goodreads Reviewer

“Thanks to Wall’s through descriptions, excellent photographs, and detailed maps, the book is not only a useful guide, it’s an inspiration”


“Don’t hit the trail without Base Camp Las Vegas. With Deborah Wall as your guide, you’ll be amazed at how much spectacular country lies within a day’s drive of Las Vegas.”


1 Calico Basin—Red Spring Interpretive Trail

Calico Basin offers a mixed grill of the Red Rock area’s best, including riparian habitat, meadows, springs, and even some cultural resources, all within the area’s signature Aztec sandstone landscape.

An easy way to taste it all is to take the Red Spring Interpretive Trail, which starts directly behind the picnic area. This will take you up a small rise and to the grassy bench above. From here the trail makes a one-half-mile loop around the perimeter of the meadow. This trail is accessible for wheelchairs and baby strollers.

A boardwalk was installed in 2005 as part of a restoration project to protect the environmentally sensitive areas. This way, visitors can still enjoy the area without disturbing the fragile plant life. Outside the boardwalk there is a fence to keep burros and horses from trampling these areas.

As you travel along the boardwalk, stop and read the interpretive signs. Be sure and take time to sit quietly a while on one of the many benches along the way, listening and looking for wildlife. Because of a permanent supply of water, lush vegetation, and surrounding canyons, many animals thrive here. More than one hundred species of birds have been recorded, and the area is also home to mountain lions, kit foxes, coyotes, rabbits, ground squirrels, desert tortoises, and ringtail cats. I even had the good fortune of seeing a gray fox on one early-morning visit.

There are three springs in this vicinity. Ash Spring, Calico Spring and Red Spring provided reliable and vital water sources to humans for thousands of years. American Indians used this area and were followed by homesteaders and ranchers. As you make your way around the walkway and over to the sandstone cliffs, keep an eye out for rock art. There are two types in Red Rock Canyon, petroglyphs and pictographs. Here you will be seeing petroglyphs which have been pecked into the surface of rock, unlike pictographs, which were painted on the surface. Some of this rock art is thought to be more than five thousand years old.

Once you reach the far end of the boardwalk from where you started, you will see the waters of Red Spring itself, flowing from a small tunnel or cave. If you look carefully you will see many water-loving plants such as the stream orchid, watercress, Nevada blue-eyed grass and black-creeper sedge. The boardwalk protects not only these plants but also local inhabitants such as red-spotted toads and Pacific chorus frogs.

A few biologically sensitive species also call this area home. The Spring Mountain springsnail, Pyrgulopsis deaconi, is found only in four springs, all of them nearby. The alkali Mariposa lily, which grows in the surrounding riparian meadow, is found only in a few other places in Southern California and Nevada. The largest population in Nevada is said to be the one here.

If you visited this area before the boardwalk was installed, you might remember being able to drive almost up to the base of Red Spring, and park there. As you travel along the boardwalk it’s worth a look in that area to see how it has been transformed. The old road has been covered over and replaced with native vegetation. It’s on its way to restoration as original habitat.

Although this is an excellent place to go when your time is constrained, there are hiking trails just outside of the boardwalk area that are well worth exploring when you have more leisure.

Paperback:  $24.95 US / $33.46 CDN ISBN:  9780997236941
E-book: $12.95 US / $16.50 CDN  ISBN: 9780997236989

384 pages. 22 Detailed maps. 216 Color photos.  On-Sale:  August 8, 2017