We spent several days in Vegas for a friends wedding but managed to get away for one day and hike Bonanza Peak in the Mt Charleston Wilderness. The trailhead is just over an hour from the Vegas strip so not a long ride. Turning off Hwy 95 the Cold Creek Road is mostly paved except for the last 2 miles. Well marked trailhead near the community of Cold Creek at 7500 starting elevation. The trail is easy to follow and begins significant elevation gain right from the start with switchbacks. However the trail is in exceptional shape all the way to the summit with numerous switchbacks but at an even grade. As the trail switchbacks through ponderosa, spruce and eventually bristlecone the views get continually better.
Approaching the summit we had to leave the trail and follow decent faint route for the last quarter mile making the summit in little over 3 hours and enjoyed the views taking about 30 minute break. Visibility was decent so we could see Mt Charleston summit and the rest of the range. Interestingly the trail kept going past Bonanza Peak as part of the wilderness divide trail that goes all the way to Mt Charleston so looks like some good backpacking options beyond the peak. After the break took a leisurely pace back down and didn't see any others all day although it was a Friday.
One last full pack training hike before our Thunder River / Deer Creek trip.
It was cool at elevation and the ground was still moist from recent rains. Even a few patches of snow on the north slope of the peak. About 1/2 the hike down with headlamps after a late start. Hiking in the dark is so much slower on an unfamiliar trail.
Autumn Foliage ObservationIsolated
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"
average hiking speed 2.17 mph
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.