Points, Miles & Life

Travel adventures on this earthly pilgrimage

Category: Domestic Travel (page 1 of 9)

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Boise

In February my older son and I spent some time in Seattle, enjoying two days of sightseeing in both the typical downtown attractions and also the aviation attractions, including the Museum of Flight and the Boeing Everett Factory Tour.

Tacked onto this was a two-night stay in Boise, Idaho. I’d never been to Idaho, and as the flights didn’t cost any more (well, a mere $5.60 more because of the TSA fee), using Alaska’s amazing stopover trick, it was a no-brainer.

Our time here was a bit more laid-back than our lightning fast itinerary in Seattle, but we really enjoyed it. I also learned a number of things about both Idaho and Boise. Here are five facts about Boise you may not know:

It’s the City of Trees

Boise was originally named by French trappers who purportedly called it “Les Bois” (the forest) or “la Riviere Boisse” (the forested river) for the trees they finally found as they make their trek along the Snake River. Apparently they hadn’t seen trees for a while, so the stands along the river in the Boise area were a refreshing sight.

Personally, I didn’t see appreciably more trees than other small cities I’ve visited. The hills also weren’t very forested from what I could tell. But then again, I am comparing the distant scattered pines to the thick mixed evergreens we have in northern California. We also visited in winter when the trees are devoid of foliage. Boise has made a concerted effort to plant a maintain a large number of trees in the city, starting way back in the mid-1800s.

It’s Boy-see, not Boy-zee

I’m definitely one to try to learn place names as accurately as I can, preferably from locals. Notable examples include “Cal-gree” (Calgary), “Tronno” (Toronto), and “Row-noak” (Roanoke). But this distinction was one of which I was completely unaware before we arrived in the Idaho capital.

An incorrect pronunciation is something that will immediately tag you as an out-of-towner. Get that ‘s’ sound down before you pay Boise a visit. Otherwise you’ll stand out like an evergreen in a deciduous forest in winter.

It has the largest community of Basque Americans

The Basque are a European people from the area surrounding the western Pyrennes and are one of the larger people-groups in the world without their own country. What I find most interesting about the Basque is that their language is unlike any other in Europe and is completely unrelated to the Latin-derived (Romance) languages of surrounding Spain, France, Portugal and Italy.

The Basque diaspora has resulted in Basque people all over the world, including a few pockets within the United States. More than any other state, Idaho is associated with the Basque presence in the U.S. Boise is home to the Basque Museum and Cultural Center that celebrates the history, culture and heritage of this people. Boise and Gernika (officially Guernica, Spain) are also sister cities, and my son and I had dinner at Bar Gernika during our stay in Boise.

It’s an up-and-coming foodie city

The number and variety of the restaurants in Boise surprised me. From Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters down the street from our hotel to an introduction to Basque cuisine at Bar Gernika, I definitely enjoyed our quick taste of Boise. I don’t do fine dining with the kids, but there is plenty to enjoy on the more budget end of the spectrum. Boise is off the food radar, but it shouldn’t be.

Craft beer, which has long been a fixture of the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon, is a distinct part of Idaho as well. If the food isn’t enough to satisfy you, a pint might. There are a number of breweries right in Boise, including award-winning Sockeye Brewing and Payette Brewing.


Boise may not be on your travel radar, but it is a city certainly worth visiting for a couple days. If you’re considering other places in Idaho for a potential trip, whether skiing in Sun Valley or a fun summer weekend in Coeur d’Alene, consider a stop in the Idahoan capital as well.

American Airlines A321 Economy Review: San Francisco to Dallas

I know. Who would bother reviewing a domestic economy flight? With the millions of people who fly every year, sometimes weekly, domestic economy is old hat. Laying out the details of the experience is passé. But I also get that there are folks out there who have not flown much, if at all (and I still know a few), so this American Airlines A321 economy review is for them.

My daughter and I took a trip to South America a couple weeks ago, visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina and two spots in Uruguay. It was a lovely trip, and we even made some new friends in the process. The trip started with a drive to San Francisco (nearly free, I might add, thanks to Hertz points), followed by an overnight stay before our morning flight. To kick things off, we’d fly American Airlines A321 economy to Dallas where we would connect to our long haul leg.

The flight was booked as part of a business class award using 57,500 American Airlines miles per person. I did check back a number of times to see if space had opened up in the first class cabin, as you can make this sort of change to American Airlines award tickets for no fee. But no such luck. American Airlines A321 economy it was.

Arriving at SFO

Since I’d rented a car, arriving at the airport was as easy as dropping it at the rental car center and hopping on the Airtrain. We pulled in at 8:40 a.m. You might not think this is sufficient time to make a 10:04 departure, but it’s plenty with TSA Precheck. I have the timing down.

While we were aboard the Airtrain, I noticed construction has been progressing nicely on the Grand Hyatt SFO. This is one hotel that I’m eagerly anticipating. One of my travel predictions for 2019 is that it will be a Category 4 Hyatt, but with the increase of the Grand Hyatt DFW to a Category 5 property, this may be a bit too hopeful (SEE: 5 award travel predictions for 2019).

Security was a breeze. Like I said, TSA Precheck meant the wait was minimal. I’ve loved this service after being approved for Global Entry, which also allows expedited immigration when returning to the United States. In general, normal security at SFO isn’t all that bad.

Even after cutting things closer than many would, we still had a wait of 20 minutes at the gate. My daughter and I were in boarding group 4 due to my American Gold elite status, earned via status challenge last year. Not that this matters much. We’d checked her bag and only had my large backpack to worry about stuffing in an overhead bin.

If there had been seats in Main Cabin Extra, I could have moved us to them at check-in. But there were only a handful of middles, plus a pair in the exit row. As my daughter is only 12, we are not be able to sit there. The minimum age for the exit row is 15 years old. But I have no qualms flying American Airlines A321 economy for a three-hour flight.

Boarding our Airbus A321

There was something a bit special about our American Airlines flight to Dallas that day. It was odd to see balloons. I knew it couldn’t be new service, as this route is nothing new. Once we were in the middle of boarding, I finally got a look at the sign. It was to welcome a Make-A-Wish passenger “Mikey” flying with us. He was headed to Paris, and I hope he enjoyed himself immensely. We sure did when we visited (SEE: 3 Days in Paris: Day 3 – Savoring the City).

This must have been the longest boarding process for a narrow body aircraft that I’ve ever experienced. Bags were consistently being placed 1-3 rows behind where their owners were seated, and passenger traffic was a perpetual jam. Add in the clueless passengers taking their sweet time to get seated or trying to access their carry-on in the overhead while boarding is still progressing, and I see why Southwest boards the way they do.

Seat and in-flight entertainment

American Airlines A321 economy class is essentially like any other narrow-body jet you can fly commercially. There is little to differentiate it from other products. The seats are 18 inches wide and offer 31 inches of pitch, which is about as standard as you can get.

American Airlines A321 economy seat

We were seated in 14E and 14F, a middle and window, respectively. The seats are comfortable enough, and I felt I had plenty of legroom, even in economy. My only hindrance is self-inflicted, as I almost always have items to place under the seat, which restricts the legroom.

American Airlines A321 economy leg room

I’ve done much more middle seat flying now that we have kids, as I nearly always manage to score either a window or aisle when traveling solo. When traveling with my kids, I give them the window (although I might not after this trip, as my daughter was very uninterested in looking out the window). I’m not sure which model American’s A321S is, unless they simply mean this is the safety card for the “A321s”, as in, the American Airlines and legacy US Airways A321s. What the plane certainly is not is one of AA’s transcon-configured A321s with lie-flat business and first class seats.

This A321 actually has in-flight entertainment screens, which was a pleasant surprise. I did not expect it. American Airlines has been actively removing it in favor of bring-your-own-device entertainment, and I’d told my daughter that this (relatively) short flight from San Francisco to Dallas wouldn’t have it.

American Airlines A321 economy ife

The American Airlines A321 economy seats feature power outlets as well. I really appreciate when carriers offer this. Given the connectivity and proliferation of devices in our modern world, it’s critical, especially for business travel. Overall, it’s a fine economy cabin. No complaints. Better than a CRJ-200 (SEE: Argh! I thought I’d seen the last of the United CRJ-200) or anything with poorly-padded slimline seats.

Departure and service

Remarkably, our “wheels up” time wasn’t all that for off from what was scheduled. Our taxi time was short, much shorter than I anticipated. SFO can have a nasty conga line of planes waiting to take off at certain times of the day. We would certainly arrive into Dallas on schedule. Not that it really mattered when you have a 7-hour layover!

Service started about 30 minutes into the flight. As we hadn’t eaten at SFO, I decided that ordering food would be best to tide us over until we arrived in Dallas and could enjoy the lounge. The wrap is $10.99. I thought paying for the wrap with my CitiBusiness AAdvantage card would receive a 25% discount, but it turns out that is only for in-flight WiFi. Turns out its the Barclay Aviator Business card that receives food and beverage discounts. I get all my card benefits mixed up sometimes. At least I received 2 miles per dollar.

American Airlines A321 economy food

Among the airplane food I’ve had fairly recently, this was one of the best choices. I tend to opt for the wraps offered on Delta flights as well. The food is fresh and definitely beats most long-haul economy meals. The obvious downside is that they are for purchase, not free.

My daughter was soon engrossed in a movie. She chose Smallfoot. Since we had one pair of headphones between the two of us, and I was too cheap to buy yet another pair of airplane headphones, I decided to work instead of watching a film.

The WiFi, at least what I experienced searching aa.com, was rather poor. It struggled to load most pages. I was able to put an award on hold for this fall after finding a nice itinerary including Finnair business class space, though, which was nice. But it struggled the entire time. I’m quite glad I only used it for AA-allowed pages and didn’t pay for access, as I would have been unhappy spending money on WiFi this bad.


Our flight in American Airlines A321 economy class was a fine experience. The seat and service were typical of what you can expect flying one of the full service U.S. carriers. The in-flight entertainment screens were an unexpected pleasure, and not something I am used to enjoying on American Airlines. I typically look at Delta as offering the best IFE among the large U.S. carriers. Meals are available for purchase, and they aren’t half bad.

Our day was just beginning, though. With roughly seven hours to kill in Dallas, we would have the ability to visit two airport lounges before enjoying our overnight flight to Buenos Aires in business class!

A New Favorite California Scenic Drive

*I’m still trying desperately to finish up the posts I planned from our Southwest Road Trip 2018. Almost there. Only two more!*

With our road trip winding down to the last couple days, the kids and I left Death Valley behind [SEE: 3 Highlights (and 2 Disappointments) Visiting Death Valley], heading west and climbing gradually out of this surreal place and back to a landscape we were far more used to seeing. The first part of the drive was solidly desert, but eventually we caught our first view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as we neared Lone Pine.

Mountains will never cease to call my name. There is no landscape I find more enchanting. It should not surprise you that Switzerland, Norway, Patagonia, Nepal, and New Zealand are all among the places I wish to visit most.

What stunned me was the majesty of the peaks here in my home state. I’ve been to different parts of the Sierras multiple times, whether camping many years ago out east of Fresno, or hiking in Yosemite National Park with my family on a few occasions, or driving up to Reno for a conference. From the west, the change is gradual. The foothills mask how tall the Sierras are.

On the eastern side, the peaks are much more sharply defined. And I love it.

Highway 395 – A new favorite scenic drive

We made our way to Bishop for the night, staying at another Holiday Inn Express. Although it wasn’t as nice as the last one (SEE: Holiday Inn Express Pahrump Review), it is a fine hotel if you’re passing through the area. The next morning our drive started again. It was an utterly beautiful day.

Highway 395 parallels the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, running from Victorville in the south on up through Reno, continuing into the far northeastern reaches of California and then on up into Oregon. The section we drove our second to last day was from Bishop up to Tahoe. The first part of the drive provided us with the lovely vista you see below. I’d happily drive all day if the scenery always looked like this.

At one point where the mountains were especially lovely, I decided to meander down a side road for a bit. If there is somewhere in California to move where you can get away from it all, this is certainly it. Hours from any airport or city, this section of the state is pure beauty.

Our drive continued up past Mammoth and June Lakes. How I wished we could stop a couple more times, but this was yet another day during which we were on a tight schedule. If we dawdled now, we wouldn’t get to see much of Tahoe.

Morning at Mono Lake

After about an hour we arrived at Lee Vining and Mono Lake. It was awesome to finally be able to set eyes on a location I’d only ever seen on a map for so long. Our first stop was the visitor center of the State Natural Reserve. We didn’t stay inside long, instead choosing to walk the trails behind the visitor center. This  lake is truly picturesque.

As a shallow, saline lake with no outlet, Mono Lake has an interesting ecosystem. Thanks to the tiny brine shrimp that live in its waters, the lake is a major stop for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds that pass through. Like the video we watched of Death Valley, the one shown at the visitor center was equally as fascinating. It is even available on YouTube, if you’re interested. Once that was concluded, we headed out behind the visitor center and took a short walk on the trails.

There is a park down the road, close to the highway, from which you can embark on a short stroll to see some of the Mono Lake tufa. Created by mineral rich underwater springs that react with the lake water, the rocks are essentially limestone that precipitated and fused together into these towers over a period of time. As the lake level has risen and fallen through the years, some tufa are now stranded above the water line. These interesting formations are not unique to Mono Lake, but the examples here are excellent.

There are a few great areas to see the Mono Lake tufa, including the South Tufa Area, which is off the main highway a bit. We settled for a walk amid the towers at Mono Lake Park.

Finishing the drive through the Sierras

Our next pit stop was in Bridgeport where I got a cup of java at the 1881 Coffee Cafe. It’s a cute little place. From there we pressed onward along Highway 395, until departing to head sharply upward into Alpine County and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We got our final view of Nevada. At least until we reached South Lake Tahoe.

Highway 395 from Lone Pine nearly all the way to Topaz Lake is now one of my favorite drives in this lovely state in which we live. It tops the list alongside the local 100-mile loop through the Lost Coast.


3 Highlights (and 2 Disappointments) Visiting Death Valley

Death Valley National Park had long been on my list to visit among the many California National Parks I have yet to see. And on our Southwest road-trip in 2018, I finally made it happen. We were traversing the desert from Tucson up to Tahoe, and a stop at Death Valley was a must. The previous days had included Las Vegas and Red Rocks National Conservation Area (SEE: The Easiest Hike at Red Rocks).

The final days of the trip were a bit rushed, entailing a lot of driving each day, which meant that we didn’t get to linger. I’m not sure I’ll plan a trip again that gives us so little time, as there is so much to see. Whether it is the cacti of Saguaro National Park, the magnificent red rock formations of Sedona, or the majesty of the Grand Canyon that we almost didn’t see, everywhere we went felt like it deserved another day (well, except Vegas). Death Valley was no exception.

We headed toward the valley from the east, after staying at a nice hotel in the oddest place (SEE: Holiday Inn Express Pahrump Review: This may be the best HIE ever?). I planned our night in Pahrump so that the park would be little more than an hour of driving the next day. The drive is pretty lonely,

Eventually, we made it to the park entrance, which consists of some pit toilets and a payment kiosk. There are no National Park Service staff to greet you.  Even though it isn’t staffed, you do need to pay the entrance fee, which is $30 (increased from $25 when we visited). The fee is good for up to 7 consecutive days in the park. If you plan on visiting twice, just purchase an annual pass, which is only $55. Better yet, just buy a National Parks annual pass for $80.

I had high hopes for our one day visit to this otherworldly place. The plan was to head to Dante’s View, then along to Zabriskie Point, and eventually down into Badwater, the lowest point on the continent.

Unfortunately, things started off with a bit of disappointment. But our brief visit was still great overall. Here are the highlights, followed by what we missed:

Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America

No trip to Death Valley is complete without a stop in Badwater. At 282 feet below sea level, this basin is the lowest point not only in the country, but in the entire continent. Technically, it is the lowest point in all the Americas.

But a visit here is worth more than just being able to add something to your personal record books. A walk out on the salt flats will help give you a perspective of the vastness of Death Valley.

The Panamint range towering above you in the distance to the west is certainly impressive. It is mind boggling that Telescope Peak, the highest mountain in this arid range, is 11,049 feet tall. This is a crazy elevation differential over a distance of barely 10 miles!

We had to obviously take a photo at the sign. I’ve never stood this fare below sea level, and it was fun to describe to the kids how we would be way beneath the ocean’s surface, could the ocean reach this inland valley. They thought that was pretty cool.

What the kids were definitely not into was walking out on the salt flats of Badwater Basin. They aren’t hikers (SEE: 3 Tips for Hiking with Kids in the Desert). Hiking and walking were natural parts of my upbringing, so much so that it is basically my default activity when traveling if I have no other plans. Just get out and wander. I’m learning to make adjustments with the kids along.

This will forever be one of my favorite photos. The faces say it all. I mean, it was 100 degrees out that April morning. But the air was bone dry, and you could hardly feel it. I’m a wimp when it comes to heat, and I did fine. Humidity is what does this guy in.

Furnace Creek Visitor Center

We stopped in Furnace Creek after visiting Badwater Basin and the Artist’s Palette. It is a great place to stop if you’re in need of break, a bathroom, and some cool air. With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees outside, it makes for a nice pit stop.

The two main things I found most interesting about the visitor center were the Death Valley model and the story about “Death Valley Scotty”. The model is in the middle of the visitor center and provides you with a great perspective of the vastness of the the park. The vertical scale is obviously exaggerated. It was cool to show the kids where we’d arrived from and which way we were heading out after our visit.

The half hour film on the ecology and history of Death Valley is excellent. Make sure you budget time for it. More than anything else, I was intrigued by the man known as “Death Valley Scotty”. Starting his career as a stunt rider in “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West show, Walter Scott began a series of “ventures” where he managed to swindle his wealthy patrons out of every penny they invested into his schemes. Remarkably, Albert Johnson, one of his patrons, became a lifelong friend of Scott’s, forgiving him for his fraudulent stunts.

This friendship provided Scott with a level of stability he never would have enjoyed in his later years, and it managed to weather the con man’s tendency for boasting and self-aggrandizement. The mansion known as “Scotty’s Castle” didn’t actually ever belong to Walter Scott. It was instead the Johnson’s vacation home. Unfortunately, the castle was damaged in a flood and it is no longer possible to visit.

What amazed me most about the whole story of “Death Valley Scotty” was how the man who gets all the notoriety and association with this place is not at all the hero of the story. Johnson’s steadfast friendship with Scott and support of him is what is truly remarkable. Like I said, the video at Furnace Creek Visitor Center is well worth watching.

One note on Furnace Creek: make sure you fill up the car. Gas prices are obscene! It was bad enough when we visited, but they are well above $5.00 per gallon for regular at time of writing.

First glimpse of the valley from Zabriskie Point

While I’d hoped to have another view as our first glimpse of Death Valley, our initial stop, even before heading to Badwater, was at Zabriskie Point. You don’t get a sweeping view of Death Valley, but you can at least steal a peek over the badland formations. It is one of the most photographed points in the park.

The terrain here is otherworldly. Shaped by rain erosion, is the sort of look and texture you’d expect from a wasteland of a planet from a sci-fi film. The complete barrenness of the soil stands in stark contrast to so much of the rest of California and the other deserts I’ve visited, which have a robust ecosystem.

Had the time been available (and the temperature cooler), I would have loved to hike the Golden Canyon trail from the opposite side of the Badland formations.

Biggest bummer: Dante’s View was closed

Now for the depressing parts. When I was researching what to see in Death Valley, the viewpoint known as “Dante’s View” topped my list. This viewpoint is accessible from the east side of the park. You head south from the main road essentially from the entrance kiosk and then drive for several miles up to the point.

But Dante’s View was closed. You could drive a ways down the road to a parking lot, but the road was gated beyond that point. Had we been able to access the scenic spot, we would have enjoyed sweeping views of Death Valley stretching out before us. Dante’s View is positioned right above Badwater, and is one of the best vista points in the park.

The viewpoint is open again. We unfortunately just came during a period of maintenance where the Park Service was doing work at the Dante’s View parking lot. You can enjoy this spot once again.

How little time we had

The second bummer is how abbreviated our visit had to be. Yes, this is completely my fault. Death Valley is vast; this was not lost on me. It takes a good amount of time to just drive through the park and from point to point within it. For example, to get from Badwater to Scotty’s Castle (unfortunately closed, like I mentioned), you will need to drive almost an hour and a half. Plan accordingly.

I knew we would have at most about 5-6 hours to see and enjoy Death Valley. This is enough if you want to simply stop by a couple of highlights and then keep moving, like we did. To really experience the valley, you probably need a couple full days.


While our visit to Death Valley was brief, I really enjoyed it. The kids were less enthusiastic, but we did make memories, even if it was of them pretending to die as we walked across the salt flats. They still talk about it, and that is what matters to me most. Hopefully they’ll look back fondly on our visit one day, realizing I really wasn’t trying to kill them. Go see and experience this amazing national park!

The Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

**Trying to play catch-up on these final posts from last year before launching into more recent adventures!**

After saying au revior to Las Vegas, honestly hoping it is the last time I ever visit that enigmatic city, the kids and I drove the half hour to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

The kids complained nearly the entire time we were in the park. I wish I could say otherwise. It was “too hot” at about 82 degrees. And totally dry. I barely felt it, and I’m a wimp when it comes to the heat. Yes, these are the same kids that come from Costa Rica where the temperature routinely got this high.

Oh, the pain of the blazing desert sun! Next time we’ll visit in July so that they know what *real* heat is. They may hate me for these photos later, but I find them too funny. Their faces at Death Valley were also priceless (SEE: 3 Tips for Hiking with Kids in the Desert).

I have been giving more thought to what I post about my kids, either on various blogs or on social media, something that is definitely important to think about in this day and age. Check out this post from The Deal Mommy about respecting kids opinions about their online presence and persona (since you, as their parent, are creating and/or influencing it). Ours are not yet online, but they will be eventually.

Main points of interest at Red Rock Canyon NCA

Our first stop was at Calico Hills, a popular spot for photos and hiking. Or I should say “hiking”. It was little more than a short walk down the hill and then back up, but the kids acted like it would be the death of them.

Luckily, I knew better. Our short walk turned out to be enjoyable enough, as we saw some cool desert flora and a lizard. The red rocks themselves are stunning as well. Which is why everyone visits this spot.

Our next stop was at the vista point for the view. It is at nearly the highest point along the road and provides a view of Calico rocks, the surrounding hills, and the Las Vegas basin way off in the distance.

The Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

The final point of interest was Lost Creek Canyon Trail. We had a brief break, though, for lunch, which consisted of sandwiches, hastily made in the car. Then we all set out across the dry creek beds to see what was in store for this short hike. The trail starts out clearly marked, bordered by rocks.

Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

I knew that the trail isn’t long. But it didn’t matter how long we would be hiking. The kids wanted none of it. I might as well have offered them the Bataan Death March. The promise of a waterfall was the only tool I had to spur them on. How I hoped it wouldn’t be lame.

The first “fall” (what I thought was a fall) we came to was pretty lame. But I could hear more water falling up the creek, so I was hopeful. The path became less distinct but still fairly easy to follow.

The whining began again, and rather than deal with it, I just kept walking and let the kids catch up. Hope returned after we passed another group who said the real waterfall wasn’t too far ahead.

We’d barely been walking 15 minutes, which does make this an extremely short hike and probably the easiest hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Everything is worth it at the end

Finally, we were greeted by a ribbon of water falling forty feet into a lovely pool below. The kids complaining turned to laughter as they ran to the edge. The pool and surrounding rocks were even in the shade, so we could enjoy the vista without the desert sun beating down on us.

Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

The kids and I made our way around edge, clambering over the rocks to get closer to the waterfall. Soon they were throwing rocks into the water, hiding from each other, and doing all the sorts of kid things they are supposed to in a fun outdoor place like this.

I just sat down and enjoyed being there. It had been an easy hike, but one that is well worth the minimal time it takes to get to this lovely spot. When I finally informed the kids it was time to keep moving, they protested. How quickly their perspective changes! We settled on staying another half hour, which meant we would get into Pahrump later than I wanted, but everything would still work out fine.

The last twenty minutes consisted of my daughter chasing her brother with a bottle of water trying to get him wet. Always the instigator, he had tried to push her into the pool below the waterfall and it was payback time.


The hike out was just as pleasant. I highly recommend Lost Creek Canyon / Children’s Discovery Trail as one of the best and easiest hikes in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for families. It’s an easy 1.2 to 1.5-mile round-trip, depending on how you do your out and back, as you can make a sort of loop that still includes the waterfall. We’ll be back again if we pass through the area. It sure beats visiting Vegas!

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