Exploring a hidden gem: Group hikes through Big Bend
LAUGHLIN — It was a chilly and windy day for the Tri-state on Jan. 1. Nonetheless, 14 people in winter coats, caps, and gloves bared the temperature in the mid-40s, made significantly colder with howling winds between 35 and 50 mph, to enjoy the First Day Hike at Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area.
The hike in Big Bend is part of a national program called First Day Hikes, where state parks across America host a free hike on Jan. 1.
“In general there are not a lot of people who get out into these particular areas often,” Nevada State Park Ranger Rocky Goetz said. “With this being a free event, it provides an incentive to come out and learn about the park, and see some of the natural things that are going on in their backyards.
The nature walk took around an hour to complete and was a two-mile round trip.
Goetz pointed out different plants and animals that call Big Bend home during the journey. He also showed the campsite where park officials had just finished replacing invasive tamarisk with native trees like mesquites and cottonwoods.
The Nevada Division of Forestry already has planted 105 trees in the campsite over the past few weeks and restoration efforts will continue throughout the park.
“I didn’t know about the invasive species or about a large amount of mistletoe on the trees,” said Jeanette Pigeon, a Laughlin resident on the hike.
It was Pigeon’s second outing at Big Bend. However, for Bullhead City resident Bart Anderson, and the majority of hikers it was their first time attending.
“Well, I think if you’re interested in the area, events like this are important,” Anderson said. “We live right across the river and I look at it (Big Bend) all the time. So, I thought I’d come over and get a better look.”
Big Bend is open year round for visitors to attend and is at 4220 S. Needles Highway, Laughlin. There is a $10 entry fee to the park with extra fees to camp.
An annual entrance pass costs $75 and is good to for access into all Nevada state parks.
“It’s really beneficial to get out and explore Nevada lands. There are a lot of hidden gems in the state and across the country,” Goetz said.
If you missed the First Day Hike, don’t worry — there will be others to follow. Goetz said he believes there will be free guided hikes going forward that will take place on the first of every month.
To stay up to date on all Nevada State Park events go to the NSP website at parks.nv.gov.