Lava Butte/Rainbow Gardens is a 4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Henderson, NV and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round.
No set trails so you need to find your own way. A few challenging hills to climb
It can be a difficult hike. some of the rocks are larger than cars, and when stepped on, can slide a bit under the relatively light weight of the hiker. Keep that in mind when traversing the terrain. I would suggest the hiker approach the butte from the east side, as it is a gentler slope, and there are varied agate specimens for gathering. One way to do that is to follow the power line road, then begin the ascent ever onward towards the top of the butte. Because agate is silicon, tapping rocks in the dark produces light. (true of most silicon rocks).
The safe way up and down would be to ascend the eastern side of the mountain (actually an old cinder cone plug), and go back down the way you went up.
Descending the western side of the butte can cause an insurmountable problem to go back up/down the way you came, and could cause a need for a rescue operation from Civil Air Patrol or some other such agency. In some places, it may be impossible to climb back up or back towards the trail from which you came, as refrigerator sized rocks and boulders may slip, trapping the hiker, or obliterating safe back-track passage.
Besides agate, there is some gold placer in the area, but to access that, will require lugging equipment up and down the trails. It can be done, but my suggestion would be to tote a 5-gallon bucket, rock hammer, GPS, Band-aids, and liquid refreshment. Rescue may involve a fine for having hiked upward and then getting trapped.
The view is great, and rocks of varied colors abound. Charlie. watch out for rattlesnakes as well. Best advice: let the snakes go their way, and once passed, you go your way
I enjoyed this hike very much! It was a lot different than the map shows here, so, if you're interested in signing all the geocache books, be ready for a good climb. It's steep so prepare yourselves! I recommend this one to many.
This was a pretty fun "hike". I say hike loosely because it was a climb the whole way up. From the trailhead to the base of the mountain was the only hike I came across. It was nice signing the book, adding a rock to the fort and seeing the beautiful views of Nevada and the lakes. Will probably go back
We have hiked this 5 times this yr. a few times with our kids. what a view! We climb up using the ridgeline which makes it a smooth hike. its quite rocky, rolled my ankle numerous times. lots loose rocks so be careful with your footing. A great sense of accomplishment. Theres a book at the top where you can sign and read other entries which my kids love doing! our latest hike up was last wk in Oct. great weather for it , my brother joined us with his two kids as well, his youngest being 4 yrs old , did amazingly! but it is a lung buster. with no shade. bring lotsa water and sun block. the 360 views are worth it, you will want a camera.