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From the Field — West — March 2013

Our trail scouts' top local hikes: ancient Oregon volcanoes, a Nevada slot canyon, a hidden California oasis, and more.

Anniversary Narrows, Lake Mead NRA, NV
Warm up early-season legs on this 6.6-mile modified out-and-back among the remnants of an ancient volcano. Begin on the 1.9-mile Ancient Juniper Trail and hike past gnarled, 20-plus-foot specimens, some more than 1,000 years old. Turn left on the Flatiron Trail and continue 1.6 miles to Flatiron Rock, an eroded lava outcropping, for close-up views of lava arches and distant glimpses of the Cascades. Return on the Flatiron Trail. Trip ID 779254

“Watch for rattlesnakes once the rocks start heating up.”

Field scout: Heidi Hastings, 
Henderson, NV

Flatiron Rock, Oregon Badlands Wilderness, OR

Take a Technicolor geology tour on this six-mile out-and-back. You’ll pass rainbow-striped cliffs and ocean-colored gemstones on your way to a fiery sandstone slot canyon. Browse for broken geodes exposing blue and green crystals near the old Ore Car Mine at mile 1.2. Continue into Lovell Wash, past mine remnants, until the path narrows at mile 2.6; squeeze the final .4 mile through a slot canyon, which is 60 feet tall and as narrow as six feet in some spots. Backtrack to the trailhead. Trip ID 49365

“Hedgehog and prickly pear cacti bloom in March.”

Field scout: Eli Boschetto, Portland, OR

Liberty Cap Trail, Colorado NM, CO

Ramble atop a piñon- and juniper-crowned mesa to a 160-million-year-old fossilized sand dune on this seven-mile shuttle hike. From the Upper Liberty Cap trailhead, gaze into remote red-rock canyons en route to the domed, 50-foot-tall namesake formation; climb it for views north to the Colorado River and look south for golden eagles and peregrine falcons riding thermals over Ute Canyon. Descend 1,100 feet through layers of red-orange sandstone to 1.7-billion-year-old black Precambrian rock to reach your shuttle vehicle at the Wildwood trailhead. Trip ID 32293

“Look for desert bighorn sheep on rocky outcroppings.”

Field scout: 
Michelle Wheatley, Grand Junction, CO

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