Points, Miles & Life

Travel adventures on this earthly pilgrimage

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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.

Conclusion

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!

Holiday Inn Express Pahrump Review – This may be the best HIE ever?

Location: Pahrump, Nevada. Never heard of it?

Overall rating: 10/10

Pros: Very clean, bright, airy, comfortable rooms

Cons: It’s in Pahrump?

After you get done asking, “where is Pahrump?”,  you might immediately wonder why I would bother reviewing a hotel there. Well…I didn’t expect to. But it made me want to (although the post has been sitting in my drafts forever). So here it is.

Pahrump is a city west of Las Vegas along Highway 160. It is along the route to Death Valley, at it made a convenient stopping point for the night after spending a morning enjoying the hotel pool in Las Vegas and an afternoon in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (SEE: The Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area).

Holiday Inn Express hotels are generally very cookie cutter. They are almost all the same style concrete tower, offer the same amenities, and the same breakfast. If you like consistency, they are one of the best brands for it. They do differ a little bit in Europe, but you can expect a consistent experience there as well. Just different.

But sometimes you get a bit of an outlier, and the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump is one of those. I booked the hotel for 20,000 IHG points. Cash rates were about $120 the night I booked, so it was a fairly run-of-the-mill redemption. Rates can vary, but begin as low as about $90 before taxes from what have seen. Expect spring to be a bit more and midsummer to be pretty low.

Arriving at the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump

We arrived in Pahrump after an hour drive from Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  It is roughly 1:15 to Las Vegas, and about the same to Death Valley (a little more to Badwater Basin and the lowest point in North America). If you’re considering visiting Death Valley and don’t want to stay right in the valley, it’s not a bad option.

There’s not a lot to Pahrump. You’re essentially in the middle of a desert that nobody in their right mind would settle. Yet people did. Between the chronic water problems and the nothingness surrounding you, it’s no wonder real estate here is pretty affordable.

Walking into the hotel and checking in, it struck me how clean and new the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump feels. The lobby also has a bit more character than many other Holiday Inn Express hotels I’ve stayed at. I typically judge hotel lobbies by how inviting they would be for hanging out and socializing, and this was was a step up from most of their sister hotels.

Check-in was very quick and easy and the agent super polite. He welcomed us to the hotel and asked why we were in town. This is a fairly common question, but it amused me a bit considering where we were. I wonder if the typical reason is “just passing through” or if there is some other draw to Pahrump. Or more likely he is honestly curious what attracts visitors to this little desert town.

Queen-Queen Room

My thoughts about the cleanliness and newness of the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump continued as we entered our room on the third floor. The hallways are in great condition, just like the lobby.

In the entry there is a little corner counter, opposite the mini-fridge and coffee maker, all standard parts of a typical Holiday Inn Express room. The $20 Walmart luggage and Tutu the dog are not included.

It is a pretty typical design, but everything seemed very nice. There is also a microwave, which I don’t believe is something that every Holiday Inn Express includes. Maybe I don’t notice. We never use it.

The rest of the room was what surprised me. The design of the desk, luggage space, and dresser and rack for clothes are beyond anything I’ve ever seen at any other Holiday Inn Express. All items were sturdy, clean, and appeared new. Even with three different bags, it was easy to stay organized and nice not to have any luggage on the floor.

In the corner is a sofa/daybed that my son instantly claimed as his. He is a fickle one. Sometimes he wants to share the bed with me. Other times he wants to sleep in awkward spots like this. Only one thing is for certain: he never prefers an actual sofa bed. At least him sleeping here means a better night of sleep for me.

The bathroom was just as clean and nice as the rest of the hotel, albeit a very typical tub/shower and plain sink Holiday Inn Express design.

Our room also enjoyed a view of the pool below, nicely shielded from the afternoon sun by the hotel itself. The pool was our first stop after we got settled.

Hotel Pool

The Holiday Inn Express Pahrump offers an outdoor pool that is lovely on a warm spring day. I’m sure it’s nice as well in midsummer, if the desert heat doesn’t kill you before you reach it.

The kids had a nice swim. I sat down with a cup of coffee and enjoyed the warmth in the shade for a while before jumping in myself. We did all jump in the hot tub as well, but it is a bit nonsensical on a warm day in the sun!

Like the interior of the hotel, the pool area was very clean and well-maintained.

Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump

The Holiday Inn Express Pahrump offers the free breakfast that is standard for the brand. For domestic hotels, this typically includes eggs, sausage, yogurt, cereal, a couple bread and pastry options, and the iconic cinnamon rolls.

Nothing stood out about breakfast, but it was still good. It is nice to know that Holiday Inn Express hotels in the U.S. provide a consistent experience.

Things to do in Pahrump?

Don’t laugh. I gotta include something, don’t I? If you’re looking to gamble, there is of course a casino, but I don’t know of anything else off the bat in Pahrump itself that might be a draw. And I personally don’t find gambling a draw anyway, and would prefer to never, ever visit Las Vegas again.

The two points of interest for which the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump would be a great base are Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Death Valley National Park. We visited both of these places, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in each, however brief. I would love to come back and explore more of Death Valley, hopefully when Dante’s View is actually open. And the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump would probably be my top choice of hotel if we don’t decide to stay right in the valley.

Conclusion

The Holiday Inn Express Pahrump is definitely the nicest Holiday Inn Express hotel at which I’ve ever stayed. The one we stayed at at Charles de Gaulle airport is a close second (SEE: Holiday Inn Express CDG Airport Review), but I’ll still give the edge to the one in Pahrump.

The room was more modern and more comfortable than pretty much any other HIE I’ve visited. The amenities were still the same, but the level of newness, modernness and cleanliness thoroughly impressed me. There are few properties, especially in the mid-scale range, that have felt this nice. The hotel is fairly new. I believe it opened in 2015. But management has been able to make it feel like it could have opened just a couple months prior.

If we ever happen to pass through Pahrump again (as doubtful as that is), the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump will be where we stay.

3 Great Intro Travel Credit Card Offers

As I’ve been invested in the award travel world for quite a while, I often lose track of the best travel credit cards for the award travel novice, mainly because I am ineligible for virtually all of them. But there are some great offers out there if you’re interested in picking up your first card or two. Here are the current 3 best travel credit card offers for those just jumping into award travel, or who have only picked up a couple other products:

Chase Sapphire Preferred

This card is the perennial best card for the award travel novice. The sizable sign-up bonus, plus a handful of strong transfer options, and the ability to simply book travel directly through Chase makes it a great first card. You can get a feel for all the potential travel rewards credit cards offer with little downside.

The typical sign-up bonus is 50,000 points, worth either $500 cash or $625 in travel, after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months. This is typically offered with a $0 annual fee the first year.

However, there is a current offer for 60,000 points as a sign-up bonus, but the annual fee is *not* waived (LINK). This is a wash, in my opinion, as I would rather have 50,000 points scot-free, rather than paying $95 for 10,000 more Ultimate Rewards. You could always redeem points to offset the fee, but this would cut the extra bonus down to 500 points. Hardly worth writing home about.

But…if this $95 would go toward paid travel anyway, you can argue that the 10,000 points, worth at least $125, is a decent play. You’re netting an extra $30.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also earns 2x points on dining and travel and 1x on all other purchases. You can read why it is a great into card in a previous post (SEE: 5 Reasons Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the Best Starter Travel Credit Card).

Remember that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is subject to the infamous Chase 5/24 rule (SEE: Trying to Understand the Chase 5/24 Rule). In a nutshell, if you’ve opened 5 or more new credit accounts in the past 24 months, Chase will not approve you for a new card. Also, if you have either the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, you are ineligible for a new Sapphire Preferred account. Lastly, the Sapphire products have their own 48-month restriction between bonuses; more than 4 years must have passed since your last bonus on one of these products to be eligible.

Citi ThankYou Premier

This card is back with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months, which is an excellent deal for this card (LINK).

This is Citi analog to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Their points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel through their portal, or you can transfer them to a number of partners. The best, in my opinion, are Singapore KrisFlyer, Avianca LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad, and British Airways Avios.

The 50,000 bonus points are worth $625 in travel if booked through Citi’s portal. This makes the offer pretty comparable to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The annual fee is waived the first 12 months.

Citibank has a decent array of transfer partners, but are lacking in the hotel arena, without any good options. Chase has Hyatt. But this is not to say that transferring your points to partners isn’t the way to go, as some offer great value (SEE: 3 Best Programs for Short-Haul Awards in the Western U.S.).

Barclaycard Arrival+

The Barclaycard Arrival+ has amazed me by continuing to offer the best intro bonus I’ve ever seen on the card, a whopping 70,000 miles. These can be yours after you spend $5,000 on the card in the first three months. The annual fee is $0, but $95 thereafter (LINK).

Note that Arrival+ “miles” are generally redeemed as a statement credit for travel purchases, which makes them more like cash back that actual miles. The card offers an excellent sign-up bonus, but is not a long-term keeper, in my opinion, unless you want something that earns essentially travel cash. But you put a lot of spend on it. As you get 5% of your miles back when you redeem them, this makes the return a hair better than a simple 2% cash back card. But the annual fee reduces this utility basically to zero.

However, the Barclaycard Arrival+ does have other benefits, such as no foreign transaction fees and collision coverage for rental cars, so even if you value these benefits marginally, these may make the fee worth it. Still, the ease of a 2% cash back card with a $0 annual fee cannot be understated (SEE: 4 reasons why you shouldn’t overlook cash back cards).

Conclusion

These are still the current best travel credit card offers for those just jumping into award travel. All three cards have the benefit of being useful for a variety of needs, as the points are flexible and can be used for cash bookings, or, in the case of Citi and Chase, transferred to partner programs. These are also also recommendations from personal experience, as I’ve held all three of these great products previously.

Finally, none of these links pay me anything. I recommend these cards because I truly see them as the best general travel credit card offers. However, if you want to support this blog, I do have access to some referral links that I can generate for you, I just can’t post them. Just send me a note through the Contact Me page.

TBT: The Time I Got My Wife and I Lost in Rome

As my first “Throwback Thursday”, I figured I’d recount how I got my wife and myself lost in Rome during our European adventure in 2016 (SEE: Thirty Days in Europe). Getting lost is not a normal occurrence for me, which made it that much more interesting a situation.

We’d spent the day in Tivoli, in the gardens of the Villa d’Este. It was a lovely experience, and one of my wife’s favorite parts of our trip to Italy. I highly recommend taking a day trip there from Rome.

We headed back to Rome the exact way we’d come, by train, arriving into the Roma Tiburtina station where we’d transfer to the light rail / metro back to our hotel south of the city center.

It was at this point we ran into a hiccup: I didn’t have any more cash to buy metro tickets. I also wanted to avoid drawing out any more before we left Italy. Plus, we were already in the train station with no ATM in sight, and getting back to the hotel was all we wanted to do. We’d deal with getting more cash after we moved on to Ireland (strange logic, in the moment, as the currency is the same).

Finding a train kiosk, I realized that these took credit card. Pulling up the list of stations, I found Magliana. Our hotel was near the EUR Magliana station which is where we’d begun basically every day.

So I bought tickets and we hopped on the next train. Easy peasy.

EUR Magliana is not the same as Magliana

I mean, the thought crossed my mind that these are not the same station. There was a second set of tracks parallel to the rail at EUR Magliana, which made me suspect the two could possibly be co-located. At least they should be pretty close, right?

Wrong.

We were getting close to our station when I realized that something was amiss. There was a hill to our right, and as far as I’d noticed, there were any real hills near our hotel. We were headed west or southwest, as we were supposed to be, but things just didn’t look right. Sure enough, we got to the Magliana stop, and it was not the one I expected.

Stepping off the train, we looked around. There were two buildings I recognized in the distance, but they looked different. My wife started to get a bit worried. I’d brought us to the wrong spot and had no idea how to get back to the hotel. Without cell service, without WiFi, and without a paper map, I had no way of pinpointing where we were.

Given the orientation of the buildings, and the placement of the hill, I finally concluded that we must be across the Tiber river from the EUR Magliana station, maybe a full kilometer from the hotel, which should be somewhere sorta near one of the tall(ish) buildings. Now how do we get over to where we need to be?

No data. No Italian. No worries?

We set off on foot in the general direction of (where I thought was) the hotel. Soon we found a bus stop, but I did not recognize either of the numbers. We’d only taken the bus once, preferring to take the metro into the city each day.

I did my best to follow the bus route, making a right when we came to a T-intersection, and then hanging a left when I saw another stop that direction. We then crossed over a highway. We were getting closer to the buildings, but all I could see was riparian vegetation on one side, where I assumed the river must be, and now a highway on the other.

We came to a bus stop that appeared to be the last one before the road merged with the highway. Walking along a Italian highway with tons of traffic and no shoulder was something I wanted to avoid.

There was another couple at the station, and I did my best to ask them if the bus was running. It was Sunday, and I didn’t know if this affected the schedule. I pointed over to where we were trying to go. To say I know some minimal Italian is a major overstatement. I can read it well enough to get the gist of the meaning, but beyond that I am nearly useless.

Hysterically, Italian was also not this couple’s first language, as best I could tell. Here we were, in Rome, trying to communicate in a language none of us really knew. Eventually, I gathered that the next bus would take us to where we wanted to go. I’m not sure how the guy managed to help us, but he did. They hopped on the first bus, and he told us to keep waiting.

Sure enough, another bus came along shortly, and we hopped on without tickets. I normally don’t do this sort of thing, but we were without other reasonable options. in short order, we were on the highway, and then crossing the overpass over the river. Soon I saw that we were headed right into the neighborhood of our hotel!

The bus ended up letting us off right in front of our hotel. It was line 771, the same that we’d seen make that stop multiple times. It couldn’t have been a happier ending to our misadventure!

The rundown Sheraton Roma was a welcome sight.

Conclusion

This is one of only a few times I’ve actually felt lost on a trip. It guess not truly lost, as I had a fairly good idea of where we were and where we needed to go. I just didn’t know how to get us back. And I was completely unprepared.

All ended well, though, as we were able to make it back safely and soundly. But next time I will absolutely opt for sticking with what we know, even if it means extra time, and an extra ATM fee.

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.

Conclusion

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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