For Las Vegas residents who enjoy hiking, there are few places that can best Southern Nevada. One local organization, 52 Peak Club, is taking it up a notch by challenging its members to reach 52 of the state’s mountain peaks — successful climbers can collect a special deck of playing cards. Are you up for the challenge? Get to know the 52 Peak Club to see how you can explore some of the most popular trails in the Las Vegas valley!
What Is the 52 Peak Club?
The 52 Peak Club is a unique hiking program founded by Branch Whitney. After hiking Southern Nevada for 15 years, he decided to create an organization that helped people push past their fears by climbing to the peaks of some of the most popular mountains in the area — Red Rocks, Mount Charleston, and Lake Mead.
How does 52 Peak Club work exactly? There are 52 cards in the deck, just like any standard playing card deck, and Southern Nevada has 52 peaks to climb. Whitney has assigned a card to each peak — the more difficult the climb, the higher the card number assigned. After you complete a hike, you’ll get a card for that peak. The goal is to collect all 52 playing cards so that you can earn the title of 53’er.
Hikes are posted on Meetup.com, and the calendar is updated frequently so you can stay up-to-date on the latest hikes throughout the month. Some of the peaks you can expect to climb include:
Mummy Mountain is the second highest peak in Southern Nevada. This mountain features beautiful wildflowers and is primarily used for hiking, walking, and rock climbing. From the summit, hikers can see views of the Las Vegas valley, including Mt. Charleston, Griffith Peak, and Angel Peak.
Made up of rocks similar to those found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Frenchman Mountain is a moderately busy trail that offers a variety of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Bonanza Peak is one of the northernmost named peaks in the Spring Mountains near Pahrump, Nevada. The climb offers a variety of flora and fauna to enjoy, including wildflowers, bristlecone pines, and wild horses.
Tips For Hiking in Las Vegas
With the arrival of spring in Southern Nevada, hikers should keep the following hiking safety tips in mind:
- Check the weather: While most days in the Mojave Desert are sunny and warm, there is still the chance for wind and rainstorms during spring. Check the forecast before you leave the house and remember to avoid any outdoor activities during these storms.
- Bring plenty of water: Don’t wait until you feel parched to start consuming water. Avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol, which could cause dehydration, before your hike.
- Be prepared: Wear comfortable hiking shoes and long sleeves to protect you from sun exposure and prickly vegetation. Don’t forget to bring a first-aid kit and plenty of snacks to help keep your energy up during the hike.
- Hike in pairs: Bring a friend or group when hiking. If you plan to hike alone, alert someone before your trip where you are going and what time you expect to return.
- Respect wildlife: Warm weather is a good time to see animals like birds, lizards, and snakes. If you come across any wildlife on your hike, remember to leave plenty of space and avoid feeding or touching the critters. Additionally, if you plan on bringing your four-legged hiking pal along, remember to keep them on a short leash.
- Don’t over-challenge yourself: There are plenty of trails for everyone’s experience and skill level. However, there is no shame in turning around if the hike is too strenuous. It’s always better to be safe than to overexert yourself, especially on trails with challenging terrain.
Does the 52 Peak Club sound like the perfect motivation to get you outside and active? We know we’re feeling inspired! With four parks and over 35 miles of trails within the Inspirada community, your next outdoor adventure doesn’t have to take much planning! Explore life in our community-oriented, active, and lively neighborhood!