“This route follows the main loop around Wetlands Park.
— James Walt
Birding · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This is the main loop around the wetlands park. While it's mostly paved, a section between the Nature Center and Pabco Park is still dirt. Nonetheless, it makes for a great outing complete with pleasant views of Las Vegas Wash and the surrounding greenery and mountains. If you have the fitness and supplies to extend your outing, you can catch multiple connecting trails up into Rainbow Gardens, east to Lake Mead, and west/south into Henderson.
Need to Know
There are restrooms at the Nature Center, Pabco Park, the Sunset Trailhead, and the Wells Trailhead. However, the only running water is at the Nature Center, so stock up before you head out. There's also no shade along the trail, so protect yourself from the sun appropriately.
Since this is a paved multi-use trail, expect to see many cyclists.
Starting from the Nature Center Parking Lot, head west along Wetlands Park Lane to find Hollywood Circle. Go north here to find the Neighborhood Park and the start of your first trail: the North Loop
. Heading north, the trail toes the line between a suburban neighborhood and desert scrubland before making a sharp right to leave the neighborhood behind for greener surroundings.
Soon, the trail joins Mesquite Way for a short section before crossing Weir Bridge over Las Vegas Wash. Even though it's early on in the trail, take a break here to check out this beautiful oasis in the desert. After enjoying the wash, head right at the next junction to continue on the North Loop
From here, the trail continues south to follow the wash for roughly a mile before bending left (north) at a junction with a dirt path to re-enter the scrubby desert. While this part of the trail is a slight uphill gradient, it's so gentle that you might not even notice. Eventually, you'll reach a junction with the Sunrise Trailhead Connector
where you'll want to turn right.
At this point, the trail begins a nice, gentle descent out of the eroding foothills to find Telephone Line Road and the pleasant Las Vegas Wash. While not right on the wash, the trail still follows good scenery as it heads east above the wash on its way to the bridge at Powerline Crossing and its end in a junction with the South Loop
and River Mountains Loop Trail Connector
. Hop on the South Loop
to continue your way back to the car.
From the junction, the South Loop
trail meanders west along a paved doubletrack beside Las Vegas Wash. Along the way, the trail will eventually pass Pabco Trailhead, after which it turns to dirt.
Continuing west, the trail makes its way past more desert scrubland to find the Silver Bowl Park ball fields. Soon, the trail reaches a joint section shared with the Dragonfly Divide and passes numerous junctions with the Coyote Howl Trail, Duck Creek Trail, and Quail Run Trail. From here, continue north until the trail ends on Wetlands Park Lane and you've reached the parking area.
History & Background
For decades, the wetlands had been channeled through to get flood waters out of the valley as quickly as possible. Starting in the 90's, Clark County has been rebuilding weirs (erosional structures) along the Las Vegas Wash to improve the water and bring the wetlands back to life.