At a little over 5,000 feet, Black Mountain provides incredible 360-degree views of the Las Vegas Strip, the Las Vegas valley, the Eldorado valley from Boulder City to Searchlight, Arizona to the east and California to the southwest. This is a 6.8-mile loop that follows BLM Trial 404 in the Sloan Canyon National Reserve.
The trail begins at the Sloan Canyon Trailhead in Henderson. The start of the hike is on a paved section of the Anthem East Trail. As you travel south on the paved trail, keep right at the first junction to continue to the end of the pavement and the beginning of the 404 Trail on BLM land. The beginning of the trail is what you would expect from a typical desert path: sand, gravel, and dry, arid conditions. Take plenty of water and sun protection because there is no shade available. The trail is moderate/easy from the start, but the last 1.5 miles are very steep and strenuous as you approach the summit. The trail is faint, and there are lose rocks that will challenge your ankles.
Views from the summit are nothing less than breathtaking. In addition to the Las Vegas valley and peaks in Nevada, Arizona and California, other visible landmarks include the Ivanpah Solar Power facility just over the Nevada/California border and Red Rock Canyon Cliffs, part of the Red Rock National Conservation Area. An ammunition can with a notebook is at the summit and makes for some interesting reading.
From the summit most hikers return along the same route; however, this is a loop trail, and you are able to follow the trail to return to the trailhead. Returning down following the loop is a bit more challenging. The trail follows the ridge to the north, and it is lightly traveled and difficult to follow for the first 2 miles down from the summit. It is also very rocky and unstable, and it will challenge the strength of your ankles. Once you are off the ridges the trail becomes easier to follow and leads back to where the Anthem east paved trail ends.
This is generally a very uncrowded trail that is good for dogs along as the temperature is reasonable, and it will provide you with some the best views available of the famous Las Vegas Strip.