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Hiking Around Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Hiking Around Las Vegas
Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Hikes in Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
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Sloan Canyon
Sloan Canyon Archaeological District

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area (NCA), established in 2002 and encompassing 48,438 acres on the south edge of the Las Vegas Valley (map), is administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The primary featuresof the NCA are the Sloan Canyon Archaeological District, the Black Mountains, and the entire North McCullough Wilderness Area (14,763 acres).

Roads are nonexistent and trails are few. Activities in the preserve primarily are orientated around day-hiking and nature photography. Backpacking and overnight camping are permitted only in the North McCullough Wilderness Area and the southeastern portion of the NCA, that is, camping is not permitted in any of the areas inside the Las Vegas Valley.

Link to Sloan NCA Map.

Sloan Canyon
Black Mountain Trail

The NCA is located in the Mojave Desert, with biotic influences from the Great Basin Desert to the north at higher elevations. Lower elevations range from about 1,875 feet on the southeastern edge of the NCA near Eldorado Valley Dry Lake, 2,800 feet in the hills above Henderson, and 3,250 ft in Hidden Valley on the southwest edge of the NCA. The highest elevation is 5,093 feet at the summit of Black Mountain. In the Archaeological District, peaks climb to about 4,000 ft, the highest being Sutor Peak at 4,186 ft.

The lower-elevation desert-scrub areas are in the Mojave Desert Scrub Life Zone, and higher elevations in the Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands Life Zone. Variations in topography and soils make for a mix of habitats and a diverse flora and fauna, which includes the rare Blue Diamond Cholla Cactus.

Sloan Canyon
Hikers on established trail

Temperatures in lower-elevation areas are similar to those in Las Vegas: daytime summer temperatures can exceed 100 degrees, while daytime winter temperatures often stay below freezing. Higher-elevation areas are cooler than lower-elevation areas, but summer temperatures still exceed 90 degrees and they get snowed-in during winter. Because of the high summer temperatures, hiking generally is best during October through May. Afternoon thunderstorms are common during July and August, creating flash flood and lightning hazards. Temperatures inside Mitchell Caverns remain at about 65 degrees all year.

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Hikers in wash

Services inside the NCA are nonexistent. The BLM has plans to build a visitor center and trails, but these remain in the planning stage. The City of Henderson has built trails in the NCA along the east edge of the Anthem neighborhood, and they have built trails that provide access to the NCA in the Railroad Pass area. This is wild country, so bring what you need.

For More Information on Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, visit the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area Overview Page.

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140113

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