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Dec 09, 2021

The Las Vegas Valley is encircled by beautiful mountains, but do you know their names? Here is your quick guide circling from the north, to the east, to the south, to the west and back north.

To the north of the valley is the Sheep Mountain Range, named for the sheep that roamed there. Hayford Peak is the highest mountain in the range at an elevation of 9,924 feet.

To the southeast of the Sheep Range is the Las Vegas Range, dominated by Gass Peak, named for early settler and prospector Octavius Decatur Gass. Gass Avenue downtown is also named for him.

To the east of Las Vegas are the twin peaks of Frenchman’s Mountain and Sunrise Mountain. Many people mistake Frenchman for Sunrise. Frenchman is the larger of the two and is slightly south of Sunrise, which overlooks Nellis Air Force Base. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Frenchman is named for Paul Watelet, a European immigrant who developed a mine on the mountain following a 1912 gold strike. Watelet was Belgian, but the locals mistakenly believed he was from France, so we have Frenchman’s Mountain.

The River Mountains sit to the southeast of Frenchman Mountain. The eastern side of the River Mountains slopes down toward Lake Mead and the Colorado River. These mountains are home to the River Mountain Trail, a 5.8-mile hike with views of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas.

As you leave Las Vegas, on the Interstate 15 to the east is the McCullough Range, which sits above Henderson. The northern portion of the range is volcanic in origin.

To the west is the Spring Mountain Range. It is home to many impressive peaks, including Mount Charleston -- the highest peak in Clark County at 11,916 feet elevation. The Mount Charleston area is home to the Lee Canyon ski resort.

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The Spring Mountains are also home to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, with its beautiful Rainbow Peak, Mt Wilson and Bridge Mountain.

Another iconic peak in the Spring Mountains is Mount Potosi. This peak is the site of the 1942 plane crash that killed movie star Carole Lombard. Lombard was, of course, married to actor Clark Gable.

In front of the Spring Mountains, near the city’s Majestic Park at Alexander Road and Hualapai Way, sits Lone Mountain. More of an isolated rocky butte than a mountain, the summit offers great views of Las Vegas.

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Finally, back to the west and north of the Spring Mountains is the La Madre Range. The La Madre Mountain Wilderness Area consists of more than 47,000 acres.

Visit the Bird and Hike website to get a better idea of where these ranges and peaks are located via photographs. Other website resources include Get Outdoors Nevada and All Trails.

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