Alexis Travels to Las Vegas PT 3: Swimming in the Desert

In last week’s travel post, I mentioned that while in Vegas, I went hiking in the desert. And how could I not?

Even from my hotel room, the hard rock of the mountain range, and the vast spread of the Mojave desert, were sirens in the daytime. So I answered the call Wednesday morning, bright and early.

As many of you know – especially those of you who have worked with me – I’m a night owl. I never make it to sleep before 05:00 AM; and on Monday mornings, I stay up as late as 11:00 AM before crawling into bed.

So imagine being asked to get up at 07:00 in the morning!

Rise & Shine!

I think we actually ended up leaving around 07:30 AM, and then made so many stops along the way that we didn’t actually get to the trail until around 09:00 AM.

Alexis Chateau Vegas Graffiti.jpg

One of the first stops was in an area of town that reminds me of Little 5 Points in Atlanta. Basically, it’s the artsy part of town – complete with small bars and graffiti murals on the walls. I love good graffiti art and Tristan was nice enough to pull over and let me have my fill.



Driving into the Canyon

After another three or so stops, we finally started the actual journey to hike Red Rock Canyon via First Creek Trail.

Driving to Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas.jpg

Back in 2015, long before setting foot in Vegas, I had written a travel guide for a private jet company, and the First Creek Trail was one of the recommendations I made.

Now that I had the chance to test Vegas for myself, I wanted to see this trail in person.

Red Rock Canyon Mountains Nevada.jpg

Little did I know how much of a headache it would be to find. In all honesty though, had I known what I was in for, I would have gone hunting for that same trail in Red Rock Canyon, anyway.

Almost There..

Red Rock Canyon Sign Vegas

The further we drove into the desert, the more excited I became. I’m a Caribbean girl from an island whose very name means “land of wood and water”.

And as a Georgia resident, there is no shortage of woodlands and streams when I go hiking there, either.

So the mere concept of a desert is completely alien to me. Seeing it in the “flesh” was a one-of-a-kind experience.

It was also an experience I wasn’t 100 percent prepared for.

On the Trail

Red Rock Canyon Ericson.jpg

Thankfully, the great thing about hiking with Vegas residents is that they inevitably have better sense than I do.

It was Tristan who warned me to bring extra water, and boy was I grateful. I was careful to ration the water as we hiked, which was good, since we got lost for a wonderful two hours.

1 Red Rock Canyon

You see those red lines halfway up the mountain? We climbed all the way up to the one on the left. That mystical stream we were looking for was actually on the flat… but I’ll explain that soon enough.

Let’s start off with where we went wrong.

Needle in a Haystack

Red Rock Canyon Desert Vegas.jpg

Our first mistake was not better mapping out where First Creek Trail might be in the Canyon. The sign out front said it was First Creek, and there was a marked path at the beginning, so how hard could it be? Just follow the path, right?


We missed our turn off the main path about half a mile in. The path was long, the climb was hard, and the rocks were treacherous, but we kept going.

It wasn’t until we were standing on the red rocks (with a 50+ foot fall off the ledge, by the way!) that we started to question why we had not yet found this elusive stream.

So far, all we had found was murky water – and that looked nothing like the pictures we saw online.

4 Red Rock Canyon Murky Stream.jpg

Our SmartPhones Saved Us

Well… hiking is supposed to be a great time to disconnect, but at this point, we really needed phone signal.

We hadn’t lost sight of the road, but we still had no idea where this First Creek Trail was. And the climb down promised to be twice as hard as the climb up. We had a few skids and falls, but thankfully nothing too serious.

Finally, the the Google Gods smiled down upon us, and sent descriptions of the trail. What we read had us laughing so hard, we might have tumbled down the mountain.

According to the directions from Red Rock Canyon’s official website:

Distance 3 miles; Average time: 2hrs; Difficulty: EASY-MODERATE

This is a pleasant 3-mile walk across a desert valley to a little waterfall with cottonwood trees, willows, and other shade trees. Except for the last few feet, the hike follows a well-maintained trail. At the falls, the route follows a use-trail down the side of the wash to the falls. As with other falls in the area, these often are dry.

Aside from the first mile of our hike, there was nothing easy, pleasant, or well-maintained about the trail we had just hiked. Armed with that information, we were now sure we were on the wrong path, but were headed in the right direction.

2 Red Rock Canyon Rock Stacking

We hiked all the way back down and then finally ran into locals who knew the trails better than we did. We were lucky enough to find one who was also seeking this elusive river.

While we followed her, Ericson saw a rattlesnake slither off to our left. How fortunate for us that we should then need to turn in that direction to find the river. But even more fortunate for us, was the fact that we didn’t run into the snake a second time.

We didn’t get any pictures, but here’s a video of a rattlesnake that made the news in Vegas this year.

Water in the Desert

After a lot more trial and error, we finally found First Creek. There wasn’t as much water as the pictures had shown, but the local explained that after spring, the water started to dry up.

While it wasn’t enough for literal swimming, it was a cool respite from the desert heat. In fact, the water was pretty darn cold.



Once we had tired of the creek, we thanked our Guide and her dog, Stewart, and made our way back to the car. We didn’t bring towels, so Tristan and I air-dried for half the way back.

Alexis Chateau Trickster Hiking Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Japanese Buffet

Needless to say we were all starving by the time we left the trails. And Ericson almost got himself killed a kazillion times trying to eat his sunflower seeds, while we hiked in peril.

So we were really glad to chow down on some delicious Japanese food at Sushi Kaya. It isn’t an actual buffet restaurant, but they allow you to pay a buffet price, and then you can order anything you want off the menu, as long as you eat it.

Spicy Seafood Noodles.jpg

If you ever make it to Vegas, and you love Japanese food, this is not a restaurant you want to miss. I paid $23.76 to stuff my face ’til kingdom come. I had that seafood noodles dish pictured up top, more rounds of sushi than I could count, and ginger salad.

I order ginger salad every time I eat out at a Japanese restaurant, but I really didn’t like theirs. Thankfully, Tristan helped me finish it.

We ate so much you could have rolled us out the door. Then we all went home and rested up for Round 2 of Desert Hiking: Lone Mountain.

That desert hike will be my final post from my trip to Vegas. I hope you guys enjoyed reliving the journey with me so far.

Stay tuned for the final post next Monday!

Alexis Chateau Black Cat

My Vegas trip was sponsored by Alexis Chateau PR and booked by our in-house travel agents. Is there a country or city you’ve always dreamed of seeing with your own eyes? Then stop dreaming, and start traveling.

Email us for details!

37 thoughts on “Alexis Travels to Las Vegas PT 3: Swimming in the Desert

  1. Wow. And there I was, thinking Vegas was just tacky casinos. The graffiti looks awesome and the desert hike amazing. When I was young, I once hiked for a week in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It was incredibly beautiful but also hard work, because we had to carry all our food and water between waterholes. To get to water, we had to climb down a canyon each time, but couldn’t camp down there in the lovely cool shade, in case it rained somewhere even 100km away and there was a flash flood. I’ll have to dig out the photos and scan them one of these days, but google “pilbara gorges” if you want to get an idea.

    1. Hi Heidi! That’s amazing that you did that. I have yet to go camping. My friends always cancel at the last minute, and have been doing that for all these years I’ve been trying to go. If you ever post those pics, send me a link. 🙂

      Vegas is so much more than the casinos, but Tristan lives there, so he’s probably the only reason I know that haha.

      I would really love to travel in Australia. Fingers crossed!

  2. That sounds like quite and adventure and I am so glad you finally found the right path! Good on you for not giving up. I have never hiked in the desert and I am not sure if I would organise it myself, but the adventurous side of me would never turn down the opportunity to tag along.

    1. Thank you! I had help getting it all organized and company to tag along, so we shared the responsibility. Teamwork makes the dream work, they say!

    1. Thanks Peter! Looks like you did find this post, after all! I’m glad we hiked up the mountain though. The first creek trail by itself was far too easy.

    1. Thank you! I don’t think I could live in the desert. Like you said, it’s so unchanging. If I could find a place perpetually stuck in spring and autumn though, I would be happy for all my life haha

  3. Yes! I lived in Vegas for quite some time and this almost makes me want to return. Almost. Lovely photos to capture the adventure!

      1. Yes but it was a no name trail and mountain outside of I215. Fun tho! Red Rock is just so picturesque and I would love to give it a go.

      2. For sure! I haven’t been since childhood and these photos make me really appreciate it, now that I’m an adult and no longer live there of course haha! Thanks for the inspiration 😉

  4. Hi Alexis, hope you’re well. Brilliant post. What an adventure! my kind of thing. Great material, writing and content; plus beautiful pics, love the landscapes and the awesome graffiti. Keep it up girl. S. X.

      1. Vegas, crikey no, too many people, bright flashy lights…the wilds though…that’s hugely inviting. Id quite like to do Route 66 too.x

      2. The desert is worth braving the city. I’m not a city girl myself, but I enjoyed it.

        Road trips I’m not a huge fan of. I hate sitting for too long lol

      3. Tee hee, we are of kindred spirit madam, roamers and wanders. hmmm, you are encouragable, If i ever get the opportunity i think i would definitely brave Sin City just to experience the glorious outdoors. And you will be the first to hear of my adventures.x

      4. I look forward to it. Make sure you bring plenty of water and at least one friend. I love hiking alone, but Vegas is a poor choice for that lol

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