I’ve been writing about riding bikes in the valley for more than a year now, telling you everything from how to choose and take care of your bike, to which trails to ride. I’ve shown you trails suitable for families, beginners, and advanced riders. I’ve explained the health benefits of riding and even told you how riding has proven to help with some diseases, like Parkinson’s. I’ve done my best to encourage you to get on a bike whenever and as often as possible. Hopefully, you have listened, have purchased a bike, and are riding. For those of you who have, I thought I’d show you a way to link some trails together to create a fun, long ride. So come on, let’s go ride a bike.
Our ride starts just to the east of the M Casino, traveling along St. Rose Parkway, a busy 55 mph, 8 lane thoroughfare that begins roughly at Las Vegas Boulevard and goes until it eventually becomes Pecos Road. In an effort to make the city more bike friendly, a two-lane, multi-use trail was built along St. Rose Parkway. As you travel east along the bike trail, you’ll find art work, educational signs, and two famed racers—one with long furry ears and one who carries his own home—acting out a popular children’s tale.
The trail makes its way down to Paseo Verde Parkway where you’ll turn right to link up with the next portion of our ride, the aptly named Paseo Verde Trail. You’ll have ridden about 5 miles at this point. As you follow Paseo Verde, you’ll be heading down the sidewalk for a little bit, but don’t worry, it won’t be long before you hit the actual trail. The Paseo Verde Trail is probably one of the most often used trails in all of Green Valley. This is due in part to two factors: the trail passes no less than three parks and Paseo Verde is a main thoroughfare. The other thing that makes the trail popular is that it is just beautiful. It is decorated with established plants, grass, and trees and there is even a rose garden on part of the trail. The trail is so well landscaped that when riding under the canopy of trees, it’s easy to forget you’re in a desert.
Follow this trail about two and half miles to South Valle Verde Drive, cross the street and turn right. As you head up the sidewalk, you’ll see a turnoff on your left. This small trail will take you all the way to Stephanie, where you can connect with the 215 Beltway trail by turning left and heading to the traffic light, just before the 215. Cross the street and jump on the 215 trail. Here you’ll take a short downhill ride all the way to the Acacia Park. You’ll pass a portion of the 215 that always looked to me like it needed a giant troll resting under the beltway.
As you enter Acacia Park, you’ll be on our next portion of the trail, the Union Pacific Railroad Trail. This is a fun trail that follows the railroad tracks out to past College and Horizon all the way out to Nevada State Drive, where the trail ends at what is meant to resemble a railway station waiting area. This trail runs alongside and crosses the railroad tracks in many areas. There is an asphalt trail on one side of the tracks and, for most of the way, a dirt trail on the other side. The last about 1/2 mile is all dirt; however, the trail is well-groomed. Along the way you’ll pass washes and neighborhoods and areas where trees act as a canopy over the trail. There are also educational signs along the way, presenting the history of the Union Pacific in Las Vegas.
Turn left once you enter Acacia Park and follow the trail, taking the left option every time the trail splits. Cross the white bridge and simply follow the trail. You’ll cross several streets on this trail, but in each case you’ll have a lighted crosswalk to help with traffic. Just watch for cars. Yellow arrows guide you to the trail, so if you get confused, just look for a yellow arrow.
Once you reach the end of the Union Pacific Railroad Trail you can either head back and retrace your route, or you may want to arrange for a pick up at Nevada State Drive, as you will have traveled close to 20 miles at this point. So, if you’re looking for a bit of a longer ride, try out this combination of trails. It may be just what you’re looking for.
Paul W. Papa is the president of the Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association and the author of Best Bike Rides Las Vegas and Mountain Biking Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. When not out on the trails, he can be found at www.paulwpapa.com. +