Discovering the River Mountains Loop Trail: Part 1

I recently started a new adventure around miles of mountain views, and when I finally get there, refreshing Lake Mead landscapes. I’m nowhere near ready to do the entire 35-mile trail on foot in one session, but nine miles was a great start! Read on to find out about the picturesque views and quirky sights along the River Mountains Loop Trail near Las Vegas, Nevada.

The adventure began right here at Nevada’s oldest casino, Railroad Pass. I’ve never paid much attention to it before, there’s not a whole lot out here but mountains and a few little businesses at a truck stop. I had no idea they had this beautiful little trailhead tucked away at the back of their parking lot. I definitely need to bring my husband back out here with our rollerblades, I think we could get pretty far! And yes, I still have my rollerblades. Sometimes I get laughed at when I take them out to the local park, and sometimes I see multiple other people enjoying rollerblading 🙂

As I was still warming up, I quickly came across this cute little railroad crossing, and I am SO EXCITED about this sign. If I search the internet hard enough, I think I’ll find a touristy way to travel this railroad on these tiny carts! I saw absolutely none out there, and no trains either, so I really can’t confirm whether my guess is correct or not. But that would be so fun!

Still not much further down the path, I found a quaint rest area. I had barely started running, but still, I could not pass up the chance to scope out this cozy spot. You really can’t miss it, there are these bright red adirondack chairs, glowing in the desert sun, all arranged in seating areas around firepits. Though I have a firepit in my backyard, I told my husband I’d be quite willing to haul firewood out here one night for a campfire in the desert. You might even be able to see tons of stars at night when you’re this far from town.

So on I went, enjoying my desert trek, collecting mountain views and looking at the Strip far off in the distance. You can even see the snow at some of the mountain tops! Avoiding snow was one of the reasons I came back to the desert. I’ve been giddy to look at the snow recently, from far far away, because I definitely don’t enjoy being in it. I really channelled my inner Tom Hanks on this run, drudging along a desert road like Forrest Gump, and talking to my phone like it was Wilson and I was a castaway. Honestly, my phone deserved a little back talk. I tried using Samsung Health to track my run, and she kept bugging me about walking faster up some really steep hills. She (the app voice) also has this monotone way of saying “great work,” like you know she’s being a sarcastic, um, witch. I swear at one point she asked about my pace, “are you even trying??”

A few hours and two giant blisters later, I completed my 9-mile run/walk! I’m proud that I was able to cover that distance and am giving myself some forgiveness and grace for not running more of it. I’ve read that even though I walk, it shouldn’t stop me from considering myself a real runner. Next I think I need some running shoes that really fit, because these blisters on the inside edge of my heels have been quite problematic. Any neighbors watching me haul the garbage cans inside probably thought I was crazy for walking around on tiptoes and trying not to limp when I arrived home. Ouch!

Before I headed home, I did feel required to play a tourist at this park in Henderson. There were four of these lizard statues to play on at the playground (spoiler: I did not climb all over them like a child) but I did get a bunch of selfies with them like the true millennial that I am. Lizards are so cute! I wish I’d seen more on the trail, but I think the wind made it a bit too chilly for them to want to venture out on this particular day. My best wildlife sighting was a bushy little rabbit’s tail as it scrambled out of my way.

So, what funny faces do you make after a difficult hike or run? I felt I needed to capture the range of “I did it!” all the way to “what did I just do??” 🤣(other true millennial thing right there in that emoji). I’ll try again another day to make it further along the trail, maybe even far enough to make it to Lake Mead. Happy adventuring everyone ❤

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