Tag Archives: Hiking

Calico Basin – Kraft Mountain Loop Trail

Whenever my husband and I go to Las Vegas, we like to take some time out to hike. Sometimes we travel to the Valley of Fire or Mount Charleston, and other times we might plan day trips to Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, or Mount Zion. If we are not in a traveling mood, we go to Red Rock and usually tool around on the rocks in the Calico Basin.

Now, until this last trip, I had no idea that the Kraft Mountain Loop trail was so incredibly beautiful and worth the hike. You do not have to pay to hike this trail. You can park in the nearby lot and walk to the trailhead, but you will have to climb upward a good distance to get to the good stuff.

Once you hike Hell Hill – yes, that is what they call it, you will have a choice of a few different routes to take. You can either hike upward and rock scramble, or you can head out and downward making sure to follow the trail as it heads to the right, which is Kraft Mountain Loop. This will start you off on some amazing scenery. You will go through shelf caverns and there will be plenty of opportunities for photo shoots and to climb up and down the rocks as you go.

This hike is a 3.1-mile loop and it is absolutely worth it. The hardest part is climbing up Hell Hill. As you go along, if you come to an opening on the trail and meet a ten-foot drop down between large boulders, there once was a rope there to help hikers safely climb down, but if the rope is gone, back-track briefly and loop around to your left; you will find an easier passageway to maneuver.

As you go you might see some wildlife, and you will most definitely see people climbing all over the place. We did this hike in mid-November and the weather was perfect. We also went in mid-afternoon and were able to view the sun as it began to descend below the mountains, which created some great photos. I will definitely do this hike again.

For more information on Kraft Mountain Loop, please check out the below website:

Kraft Mountain Loop Hiking Trail, Summerlin South, Nevada (hikingproject.com)

Camping At Willow River

Sometimes in this crazy life it is nice to just get away from the buzz of businesses and city noise and retreat into nature. I make a habit of taking vacations that incorporate outdoor activities into my schedule, because these activities help me reset and decompress. If you like camping, there are a ton of great places to choose from. I tend to enjoy state parks more than your packed in party campgrounds, because they give you more seclusion, less noise, and more nature.

This past weekend my family took a trip to Willow River State Park, which is located in Hudson, WI. This particular park, while the campsites are closer together, gives a feeling of privacy, because of all the the great foliage surrounding each site. Our campsite was surrounded by trees, had a fire pit and picnic table, and was still near a bathroom. We heard little disruption from our neighbors and it felt almost like we were alone at times. The site was not huge, we just barely got our bean bag toss setup in the space provided. Everything worked out fine.

This particular park offers hiking trails, a beach, a nature center, a beautiful waterfall, playgrounds, and activities at certain times for the family and children. Unfortunately, while we visitied, the lake had been drawn down, so the beach was not availble for use. If the lake had been active, the park would have offered kayak and canoe rentals as well.

We took a hike to the waterfall and it was completely worth it. You can actually swim at the base of the falls, but it’s definitely at your own risk. There are lots of great photo opportunities from the bridge as you approach the falls, as well as at the base and top. If you are feeling energetic, you can hike up the stairs to the platform that overlooks the falls for another great view.

If you want to continue hiking beyond the falls, there are other interesting sites and overlooks, including old grave sites and pieces of machinery. I did check out a few of the other outlooks and sites, but I feel that the waterfall is probably the most interesting view. Some of the overlooks are a little overgrown with trees, so you cannot really see much.

Overall, this is one of my favorite campgrounds in Wisconsin. I have been visiting Willow River for many years, even just to hike the falls. I will continue to come back to this campground in the years to come.

For more information on Willow River State Park, please visit: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/willowriver/

Valley Of Fire

One hour, northeast of the strip, you will find Valley of Fire State Park. This is another wonderful place to see if you love beautiful scenic drives and exploring. Much like Red Rock, you will find awe inspiring rock formations in various colors.

Upon arriving there will be a fee to get into the park. Currently that price is set at $10 per car. You can enjoy the park from dawn until dusk. Definitely pack a lunch, there are plenty of places to relax and enjoy a meal, along the way.

This park is filled with tons of hiking trails and lots of things to see. You can camp at one of the many sites available; you will have shade, a table, and water nearby. You will see things such as petroglyphs and petrified trees. The visitor’s center will provide tons of information about the 40,000 acres that make up the park.

If you wish to get married in the Valley of Fire, that can be arranged as well. My husband, Neal, and I, were originally supposed to say our vows in the park, but we skipped ahead and got married early. When we renew our vows in a few years, I am seriously considering the Valley of Fire because of its beautiful surroundings.

If you wish to remain in your car, you can still drive through the park and see many of the beautiful rock formations. I have taken this drive many times and I still find it exhilarating. Once you reach the petroglyphs, however, I would suggest getting out and taking a closer look.

For more information or to book your event at Valley of Fire, please visit: http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire