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Take a Ride! Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

The conflict between hikers and mountain bikers is no secret. If you’re a Southern Nevada hiker, who frequents areas such as Buckskin Cliffs in Red Rock and the east side of Deer Creek Road in Mt. Charleston, then chances are good you’ve been startled by a mountain bike barreling up behind you in recent years.

In this episode of “Outdoor Nevada,” host Connor Fields makes a case for peace, arguing that mountain biking is as good for the body as it is for the mind — but to truly flourish, it needs to be good for the earth and its fellow trail users, too.

Describing the ad-hoc trail system at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area as a “bowl of noodles,” Fields points out that, while — yes — these are public lands (implying they’re for everyone’s enjoyment), chaos would ensue if everyone did whatever they pleased. Hence the need for the Bureau of Land Management’s rules, such as those requiring environmental review for approved trails. He brings together the BLM and Southern Nevada Mountain Biking Association to discuss the need for sanctioned trails — and for users to both help build and maintain them, as well as stay on them.

Riding the McCullough Hills Trail between the Anthem Hills and Mission Hills Trailheads is a great way to get a taste of mountain biking on sanctioned trails in Sloan Canyon. You can foster goodwill among your fellow trail users by using proper trail etiquette, while enjoying what Fields calls a “pristine desert landscape rich in natural and cultural treasures.”



Getting There: To do this trail as an out-and-back, begin at the Mission Hills Trailhead, also sometimes referred to as the McCullough Hills Trailhead. It’s on the far west end of East Mission Drive off East Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson. If you have two cars, then you can do this trail one-way. Just leave your first car at the Anthem Hills Trailhead (near Del E. Webb Middle School), and take your second one to Mission Hills to start the ride.

Distance: 8 miles one-way; 16 miles out-and-back

Equipment Needed: Ample water, sunscreen, and standard mountain biking gear, such as helmet, pads, and emergency repair kit

Pro Tip: Be on the lookout for snakes, which trail users have spotted in this area between late spring and early fall. Also know that there is no shade, so this is not a suitable route during hot summer months.

This guide is brought to you in partnership with KNPR's Desert Companion in support of Vegas PBS Outdoor Nevada.

Related Episode

Mountain Biking in Southern Nevada

Host Connor Fields rides mountain bike trails around Southern Nevada.

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