Bootleg Canyon offers 35 miles of handmade singletrack mountain bike trails that are flowy, but also rocky and technical. These are not novice trails and definitely not for the faint of heart.
A visit to Boulder City, NV led me to Bootleg Canyon to experience a bit of mountain biking and trail history.
Brent Thomson, the trail-building pioneer of the Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike (MTB) Park, initially started framing the trails illegally. When city officials got wind of his trail building, they decided to support the project and hire Thomson instead of fining him, or halting his efforts. Thanks to his endeavor, Bootleg Canyon can now be enjoyed by bike.
Here’s what I learned from my cycling experience at Bootleg Canyon!
Tips & Tricks for Bootleg Canyon MTB Park
Mountain Bike Rentals:
If you are in need of a mountain bike, All Mountain Cyclery offers mountain bike rentals for the day. It is located 0.2 miles away at the base of the hill up to Bootleg Canyon. Bikes available as of July 2019 are as follows:
- Specialized Stuntjumper
- Specialized Enduro
- Santa Cruz Nomad
- Transition Sentinel
Pads, gloves, helmets, and a bottle of water are offered with each bike rental. Insurance may be purchased for an additional $10 as well. The staff also helps with bike adjustments prior to your ride and will provide a small map of the trails.
Best Time to Visit Bootleg Canyon:
The best time to visit is between the months of October – May. The weather averages 56°F – 87°F. It is not recommended to visit during the months of June – September. Weather averages are between 93°F – 102°F. I am not sure if you’ve ever seen those YouTube videos of people cooking eggs on their car in the hot weather, but it gets pretty toasty out in the dry, desert climate.
During on-season (October – May), shuttles from All Mountain Cyclery are offered. Save your legs, buy a shuttle pass, and hitch a ride on up to Bootleg Canyon.
Cost of Admission: FREE
I felt the REI Co-op website had the best information. There are plenty of trails to choose from and one is bound to meet your fancy.
- Water (water fountains also available at the entrance near the restrooms and gazebo)
My Bootleg Canyon Experience
I visited Bootleg Canyon in June 2019 and was warned that I might only be cycling for 1-2 hours before heading back to the rental shop due to the temperature in the summer months. I disregarded the warning and moved forward with renting mountain bikes for the weekend I was in Las Vegas.
On the day of my cycling journey through Bootleg Canyon, the temperature was 91°F. Climate was hot and dry. Thank goodness the temperature was at a low point for June. I cannot image cycling in any hotter conditions! I already felt like I was guzzling water every 10 minutes.
I arrived at All Mountain Cyclery from the Las Vegas strip to pick up the mountain bike rentals around 1030 AM. I was in the shop for 30-45 minutes for bike adjustments and getting a lay of the land before heading up the hill to Bootleg Canyon.
The trip up to Bootleg Canyon was brutal. At this point, I was thinking I should have gone during on-season just to jump on a shuttle, but I did eventually make it up!
I started off with Lower Lake View ranked as an “easy” trail and then moved on to Middle Lake View ranked as a “moderate” trail. Both these trails are not high up on the Canyon, but both give decent views of Lake Mead from the distance.
Riding the trails, there were definitely plenty of flowy, downhill parts and then a shift to technical, rocky terrain.
I also fell a couple of times when I let fear get the best of me. I found that when I got scared, I would brake and that sent me flying off my bike. Definitely a novice move, but I do not regret any of it.
Glad I survived Bootleg Canyon!