I have a lot of hiking and backpacking guides on my bookshelf, but Deborah Wall’s Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest is a guidebook that threw me a curveball. I received a copy from the publisher while I was traveling and didn’t get a chance to take a good look at it until I had a few weeks in one place. When I did, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t so much about hikes in and around Las Vegas as I had expected (though it does include plenty of those), but a collection of hikes throughout California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, all using Las Vegas as the jumping off point, and all within a single day’s drive.
The book is divided into 20 geographic areas, generally split around the governing jurisdiction and grouped by state. There are hikes in national parks, BLM land, state parks, preserves, monuments, recreation areas and other public lands. A few take you into private land or Indian reservations (usually requiring special fees or permission).
Diving into the book, it provided a broad cross-section of terrain and difficulty, providing something for everyone. The book uses full-color printing throughout, and the photography is beautiful. There were a number of obscure trails and adventures that I had only heard of in passing, and that’s where Base Camp Las Vegas excels; in whetting your appetite for exploring places you may have heard of but have never been.
The Devil is in the Details
In the details the book falls short. The trail guides provide a photo or two with some basic data about the trail (permits, difficulty, trailhead elevation, etc.). The narrative description varies, but seldom provides the sort of depth required for navigating the trail. In fact, the most detailed maps are of the area, with trailheads numbered to show their rough location. No map details on terrain, water sources, or campsites.
Many of these locations have maps and detailed information available on their official websites, but you will need this information for many of the trips.
Base Camp Las Vegas has a lot more than just trails around Sin City. It’s is a great book for providing inspiration and a high level overview of trails across a wide area of the Southwest.
Once you’ve sharpened your itinerary using this book, you will want to supplement it with detailed maps and in-depth trail information.
Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest comes out on August 9, 2017. You can learn more about the book and others in the series at BaseCampGuides.com
You can purchase Base Camp Las Vegas here on Amazon and help support SoCalHiker.
The publisher Imbrifex provided us with a copy of Base Camp Las Vegas for this review.