Nevada: Valley of Fire

Logandale Trail, Nev.

When most of us talk about going to Las Vegas, Nevada, we think of casinos and night life. But ATVers should consider a couple of off-road opportunities nearby.

One is south near Primm and the other is Logandale Trail in the Valley of Fire east of Vegas.

The Logandale Trail system holds many wonders; the red sandstone has been molded and transformed over millions of years by wind, rain and flowing water into every shape imaginable. Shades of gray and black also cover the sandstone, created by manganese dioxides mixed with lichens that creates a "desert varnish'' or patina, further stimulating the imagination.

Petroglyphs are scattered throughout the canyon walls. If you know where to look they are easy to find. Or just slow down the pace and use your detective skills and you will be rewarded. Early cultures created petroglyphs by hammering or etching images into the stone possibly to communicate, mark a boundary or commemorate a specific event.

You don’t need sand paddles as most of the trails have a gravel-like base with some areas of sand and large smooth exposed sandstone thrown in to make it interesting. As you wind through the many canyons you will enter high-bermed sand switchbacks, which are a blast to roost from curve to curve.

Scattered along the trail are mini-sand play areas. Here you can play on small hill climbs, miniature bowls and just have some good fun kicking up sand.

During the day it is easy to spot desert big horn sheep climbing the rocks in small herds of five or six. Take a minute and look closely at the sand and you will see all kinds of small to large critter tracks, apparently left as they scampered about during the night. Not only is night riding much cooler but you will get to see who made all the tracks in the sand.

All of this fun comes with a few good common sense rules that will protect the area for many years to come. All plants and animals, rocks, minerals, artifacts and signs of Indian civilization are strictly protected by state and federal law. Please do not remove or disturb. Drive your vehicle only on approved routes that are clearly marked for vehicle traffic. Camp only in designated campgrounds with fires permitted only in designated grills and fireplaces.

Logandale Trail is easy to access from Las Vegas, approximately 45 minutes east on Interstate 15 to exit 93. Go south on state highway 169, seven miles to the small town of Logandale. Turn right on Liston Road. Signs will direct you to a dirt road that will continue for a little over a mile to the trail head.

In Logandale you can get gas, snacks and lunch. For lodging, your best bet is Overton, just four miles south on 169. In addition, there is a good selection of motels.

You can find more information about the trail on the Moapa Valley Chamber of Commerce website