You'll think you hit the big Vegas jackpot when you ride Bootleg Canyon, a chunky, exposed, hardscape of improbable singletrack carved from the harsh volcanic rock and crumbling granite that sits near the Black Mountain.


3 - 4









FATMAP difficulty grade



Say "Las Vegas" and people immediately think of gaming tables.

But just outside of the gambling center of the universe is an adventure of a different type. Bootleg Canyon.

It’s near Boulder City—just up the highway from Vegas—and offers a rough and tumble moonscape of singletrack burned into the Nevada desert that will challenge your skill and leave you screaming out loud: “Vegas, baby!” This trail is about rocks.

Big slabs that dump into crumbled, crunchy, sketchy sections that flow across the desert floor, and dicey ledges scratched into the granite/volcanic rock with plenty of exposure.

Parts of Bootleg can be ridden by beginners (maybe) but you’d need a guide because this trail system crisscrosses itself in many, many locations.

Some of those are cutoffs for a shorter ride.

And others are exactly the opposite.

And if you take a wrong turn, you’ll find yourself scaling a rock wall with exposure that drops away for a hundred feet (in spots) or more.

Thing is, there is no soft landing here.

You hit the deck it’s going to leave either a big dent, lots of freshly-grated flesh, and more likely, both.

If you’re more experienced, you’ll find challenging, long climbs that throw plenty of technical challenges your way.

Granite and igneous rock can deliver amazing traction and will have you conquering things you’d only dreamed about; say, a switchback that cuts so hard back on itself that it feels like a U-turn.

Over millennia those big, grippy rocks turn into tiny stones mixed with sand that will also challenge your perception of traction and have you skating across the trail unexpectedly.

A few inches off the side of the trail and you'll learn how soft and disruptive the desert really is.

There’s enough singletrack at Bootleg to keep the cardio kids in heaven and some downhill runs that will have you sailing into the dry desert air with enough airtime to let you second guess your choices in life.

Trails like Ernie’s, Mother's, Inner Caldera, and The Shit deliver the super chunky rock-crawling good times that will not only give you a full body workout, but test your handling skills and your balance as you teeter up, over, and across chunky ledges, some of which are barely two feet across and perched on a bench cut hung above a plunging rock slide that drops nearly straight down.

There is no shade here.

And it gets hot.

Like real hot.

Best avoid summer months unless you go very early in the morning.

Or at night with headlights.

Bootleg Canyon features close to 35 miles of singletrack on over 20 different named trails.

They cross each other at multiple points, making it easy to design a ride that combines the best of those trails together.

For the skilled among you, that would include Skyline, Girl Scout, Boy Scout, East and West Leg, plus those mentioned above.

Just be prepared to face short, punchy climbs followed by technical sections, exposure … and big grins.

-Written by Scott Cotter