A stretch of trail under construction in the northwest valley is a hint of more to come.
The Western Beltway Trail has been extended north of Alexander Road to the unfinished bridge where Centennial Parkway will cross the 215 Beltway.
Although access to the trail isn’t currently blocked, Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said the trail will not officially open until summer. Access may be restricted as safety features are completed.
Over the next five years, the trail will be extended along the beltway to Decatur Boulevard, said Connie Diso, project engineer for the city of Las Vegas. The $17 million project will include several pedestrian bridges.
At the same time, North Las Vegas will extend the path east of Decatur, said Johanna Murphy, principal planner for the city. Among the plans in North Las Vegas:
— Transitioning the trail from the north side of the beltway to the south side at Valley Drive with a pedestrian bridge.
— Connecting both northern legs of the Lower Las Vegas Wash Trail to new sections of the beltway trail.
— Connecting to trails underway in the northern valley.
North Las Vegas is working with homebuilders to develop paths through planned communities, Murphy said. The city also plans a trail to Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, she said.
Seven trail segments through North Las Vegas will cost over $22 million, according to a 2012 report prepared in conjunction with the Regional Transportation Commission. The bridge at Valley Drive alone will cost more than $2.5 million.
Planners from the RTC, Las Vegas, Clark County and North Las Vegas intend to continue the path around the whole northern beltway.
Mauricia Baca, executive director of Get Outdoors Nevada, called the trail system around Las Vegas “one of our best, least-shared secrets.” Get Outdoors Nevada serves in an advisory role for trails, and one of the group’s goals is to have a 100-mile loop around the valley.
“We would love to see the Vegas Valley Rim Trail come to fruition,” she said.
Work remains to connect trails in the southwest valley, Baca said.
As for the newest portion of trail, the section between Alexander and Lone Mountain Road offers a challenging hill if you’re approaching from the north. The trail climbs steadily after a dip into a detention basin across the beltway from Lone Mountain. The last patch of concrete was poured at the end of February.
The trail is smooth and has paved sections as well as some concrete surfaces.
If access isn’t blocked, be careful around the Ann Road interchange as the path is completed to street level. To the north, the path currently stops at Centennial.
Neon to Nature app
A free app developed by the Southern Nevada Health District provides a guide to Las Vegas Valley trails.
Neon to Nature mileage markers can be found on many trails throughout the valley. The app features maps and photos of each trail and lets you see the trails nearest you. Volunteer opportunities also are listed in the app.