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Mount Turtle Island
Las Vegas, Nevada
September 29, 2019

Distance: 7.7 km (4.8 mi)
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 221 m (725 ft

Contrary to its name, Mount Turtle Island isn't an island, supports no turtles and is hardly a mountain. But this monticule shows evidence of desert tortoises. Indeed, when we hiked this area five months ago we came across a large tortoise. We hoped to see another.

This quick trip begins at the south end of Rainbow Blvd. Dinah and I parked by an open gate. We learned parking was permitted here after talking to a woman who parks there to walk her dog, but she warned us that the gate is sometimes closed. And of course, don't block the gate.

From the gate, we headed south toward Mount Turtle Island. We soon hit a gravel road. We followed it a short distance before leaving it and aimed for the south ridge of Turtle Island. As we hiked, we startled a few small lizards that sent them scurrying into desert shrubs but didn't see any tortoises. But we did come across empty tortoise burrows. After reaching the ridge, we followed it to the top of Turtle Island. Despite being inconsequential, the peak not only bore a cairn but also a summit register.

Rather than return the same way, we hiked down the northeast ridge and strode across the flats back to our car. Although Mount Turtle Island is low on excitement and lacks striking scenery, it fit the bill for us as we wanted a half-day hike.

KML and GPX Tracks

We walked down the road a short distance before leaving to head to Mount Turtle Island on our left

Hiking across the desert

Desert tortoise burrow

Whiptail lizard

Almost at the end of the ridge

Starting up the ridge

Potosi Mountain in the background

Fossil sponges

The summit is the small bump well in the back

This hill to the south is simply called "Arden." Behind it is Las Vegas.

Summit is on the right

Looking back

Utah mortonia

We're a couple of minutes from the summit

Summit register

Standing on the summit

Starting down the other side

We faced crossing the desert on the way back

Bird Spring and Sloan (4.8 mi, 3333 ft, 725 ft)

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