The trail to the Las Vegas Overlook via the Muffin Boulders lies just outside of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, but it still features similar scenery and Triassic-era fossils along with views over the Las Vegas valley and skyline. And with its location off of the scenic drive and on the opposite side of the Blue Diamond Highway, this trail typically does not have the crowds that many of the park trails can see during busier times.
The trails to and around the overlook are popular with hikers, horseback riders, trail runners and mountain bikers, and among the more prominent and well-used trails are many others that branch off and vary in technical difficulty. As such, entering the hike prepared with an idea of navigation will help you find the landmarks you are looking for without taking an accidental detour down a different meandering route.
Starting out by parking outside of the Cowboy Trails gate, first walk past the lower stables until you see a trail branching off of the dirt road and to the left on the far side of the furthest lower stable. From here you will shortly be able to look up and see the tall ridgeline cutting across the near distance. The boulders sitting atop the high point in the ridgeline are the Muffin Boulders, large conglomerate rock made up of Triassic-era stone. The steep and moderately strenuous climb ahead of you will take you to these boulders.
Beyond the boulders, you continue climbing heading toward the eastern edge of the ridge before coming to the spot atop a sheer cliff with your first views of the Las Vegas Strip skyline. Push a little farther to hit the high point - nearly 1,150 feet above and 3.6 miles from the trailhead - and a spot to take a break and take in the views of the urban sprawl stretching out far beneath you.
From the overlook point you can make your way back down the way you came or head south from the overlook and join one of the network of mountain bike trails that crisscross the ridge - each of which take a different canyon route back down to the bottom.
If you choose to create a loop of your hike, continue toward the radio tower. The main trail passes to the left of the tower enclosure. From this point you will have your option of numerous trails that each take a different canyon or series of canyons back toward the bottom. A hint here might be to look into a mountain bike map of the area before doing this hike, as different trails will pass different features including caves, fossil beds and canyons that lie throughout the area.
(The GPS track for this adventure joins the Fossil Canyon Trail and Rock Garden Trail as it heads back toward the trailhead.)
Most trails will eventually end up back at the Cowboy Trail Rides stables and the parking area outside the gate.
There are no amenities at the parking area. The nearest bathrooms and water are located at the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center (the day use fee for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is $7).