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Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Bootleg Canyon
Red Mountain Overlook Trail
River Mountain "Foot" Trail
Hike-up trailhead kiosk at foot of the mountains


This great trail is located in Boulder City, just outside the border of Lake Mead NRA. This trail is actually more of an extension to the River Mountains "Foot" Trail than a separate trail in its own right, but road access to the summit of Red Mountain provides an alternate trailhead that makes Red Mountain Overlook accessible to far more people.

Thus, there are two ways to start this trail: hiking 2-3/4 miles up from Boulder City or driving up the backside and hiking 1/2 mile to the summit. Either way, the trail leads past the top of the zip-lines to Red Mountain Overlook, which provides grand views out over Boulder City and lands to the east and south across Nevada and Arizona.

Link to map or elevation profile.

Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Sign at top of River Mt Hiking Trail

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a fairly safe hike. There are some places where a hiker could stumble off the trail near the crest of the mountains, but there are no unusual hazards on this trail. The Red Mountain Overlook Trail is part of the Bootleg Canyon Bicycle Trail System, so be sure to watch for bikers careening down the trail.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this hike is fairly short, so just bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Drive-up trailhead on backside of Red Mountain

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in the Bootleg Canyon Area in Boulder City, just west of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area Visitor Center, about 45 minutes southeast of Las Vegas.

There are two trailheads: one at the foot of the mountains in Boulder City (Highway 93 Trailhead), and one at a parking lot high on the backside of Red Mountain (Red Mountain Trailhead). In either case, from Las Vegas, drive out to Boulder City and Bootleg Canyon.

Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Drive-up Trailhead, south side

For the Highway 93 Trailhead, from the stoplight and left turn on Highway 93 near downtown Boulder City (Table 1, Site 0802), turn left and continue eastbound on Highway 93 for 0.7 miles. Watch for a large brown "River Mountain Trail Parking" sign and left turn (Site 1016) onto a short access road that leads to a parking lot with spaces for 25 vehicles. Park here; this is the Highway 93 trailhead.

For the Red Mountain Trailhead, from Highway 93 in Boulder City, turn left onto Yucca Street (Site 1021), which is about 0.6 miles before getting to the stoplight and left turn on Highway 93. Watch for "Bootleg Canyon Trails" signs. From Yucca Street, turn right onto Industrial Road and then left onto Canyon Road, which leads to the Red Mountain Trailhead. Park here; this is the drive-up trailhead.

Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Hikers on Red Mountain Overlook Trail (view NE)

The Hike

From the Highway 93 trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 1), the River Mountains "Foot" Trail runs past the kiosk and picnic table running northwest between a cement-lined flood control channel and a housing development.

At the edge of the housing development, the trail bends to the left and runs more-or-less west past a flood control retention basin, then continues northwest into the desert heading towards the canyon that separates Red and Black mountains. Follow the trail up the canyon all the way to the end of the River Mountains "Foot" Trail atop the saddle between Red and Black mountains (Wpt. 07). For details of this trail, see the description of the River Mountains "Foot" Trail.

Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Top of the Zip-line (view south)

At the saddle, a trail sign indicates that the Red Mountain Trail runs to the left, while the Black Mountain Trail runs to the right. This actually is the beginning of these two trails. From here at the trail intersection (Wpt. 07), the Red Mountain Trail runs west and up the hillside, then switchbacks back to the south and climbs onto the north end (Wpt. 11) of the drive-up trailhead parking area.

Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Communication facility atop Red Mountain (view NW)

The Red Mountain Trail runs up the south end the Red Mountain Trailhead parking area (Wpt. 12), then leaves the parking area on a trail to the left and climbs the skyline ridge. For people using the drive-up trailhead, this is the place to start hiking.

The vegetation near the summit is typical Mojave Desert Scrub dominated by creosote bush and other common plants, but also keep an eye out for Heermann's Buckwheat, an odd, brain-shaped plant that is fairly uncommon. During spring, watch for the blue daisy flowers of Desert Aster and the red flowers of Littleleaf Ratany.

Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Lake Mead as seen from Red Mountain Overlook

In 0.28 miles, the trail gains the summit ridge and the top of the zip-line. The actual summit is off to the west, but it is occupied by communication facilities and is closed to the public. The Red Mountain Overlook, which serves as the summit, is a few minutes walk to the southeast.

The trail continues along the summit ridge, drops into a saddle (Wpt. 14), then climbs to the overlook (Wpt. 15).

Red Mountain Overlook Trail
Las Vegas as seen from the Red Mountain Overlook

The overlook is a great place to sit, relax, and take in the grand scene. To the north is Las Vegas, to the east is Lake Mead, to the south is Boulder City, and to the west are the Black Mountains. In all direction, mountain ranges stretch off into the distance.

When ready to head down, follow your footprints back down the trail. While doing so, consider hiking up to Black Mountain Overlook, which is another 1.1 miles, round-trip, from the drive-up trailhead.

Table 1. Highway Coordinates (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site # Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
0802 Hwy 93 at Stoplight 35.97418 114.84526 694284 3983031 2,460 Yes
1016 Trailhead Access 35.98371 114.84151 694599 3984096 2,423 GPS
1021 Hwy 93 at Yucca St. 35.96959 114.85416 693493 3982504 2,435 GPS
1022 Bootleg Cyn Rd at River Mt Loop Trail 35.98223 114.85735 693174 3983900 2,670 GPS
1023 Bootleg Canyon Park 35.98377 114.86138 692807 3984063 2,732 GPS
1024 Bootleg Cyn Rd Drive-up Trailhead 35.99882 114.86019 692877 3985734 3,396 GPS

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27, UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
07 Top of Canyon 692969 3985836 3,295 0.00 0.00 GPS
11 North Edge Parking 692877 3985763 3,389 0.14 0.14 GPS
12 South Edge Parking 692877 3985677 3,396 0.06 0.20 GPS
13 Top of Zip-line 692786 3985469 3,591 0.28 0.48 GPS
14 Saddle 692827 3985445 3,571 0.03 0.51 GPS
15 Red Mt Overlook (summit) 692876 3985410 3,622 0.03 0.54 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120425

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