Lava Butte
Kelly Bou and I hiked up Lava Butte just east of Las Vegas, Nevada on 28 January 2011.  This short trip suited us for several reasons.  Kelly was still sore from our hike a couple of days before, and I was feeling the strain of climbing four peaks in as many days and nursing a nagging cactus wound on my right leg.  Most importantly, we had tickets to see the early show of Jersey Boys at the Palazzo that evening, and we did not want to be late.  We largely followed David Briggs' route description*, and the most difficult aspect of the trip was finding the right electrical tower to park beside.  While I enjoyed the fabulous weather on the summit, Kelly enjoyed reading the entertaining summit register (a surprising amount of soul-baring in there!).  Despite making it back to our hotel (Treasure Island which is just across the street from the Palazzo) with more than plenty of time to spare, we still were almost late for our show, but that is another story.
Climb up to the saddle and turn right. Easy. The route ascends the left-hand ridge.
They make a nice humming sound. The trailhead is a bit cluttered with electrical towers.
Can you spot Kelly in the photo? This is looking up the northeast ridge of Lava Butte.
Around Las Vegas, these are almost as common as their cousins, the "lounge lizards"! A side-blotched lizard climbs onto a sunny lava rock.
Probably the nicest weather we had all week, and that's saying a lot! Kelly ascends the upper part of the northeast ridge.  On the horizon are the Muddy Mountains.
I sucked in my gut pretty good there! Kelly and Sonny stand proudly on the 873-metre summit of Lava Butte.
Google "Lake Las Vegas" for some interesting articles about the man-made lake and its troubled history. Lake Las Vegas is visible to the south.  On the horizon at far right is Black Hill.  The prominent gap to its left is Railroad Pass.
Might be a neat place to explore. The interesting formations to the southwest are known as Rainbow Gardens.
Carole Lombard's plane crashed just below the leftmost of the three bumps at centre. Further to the southwest is the massive hulk of Potosi Mountain.
Is that smog over Vegas again? Beyond the Las Vegas Strip to the west are Rainbow Mountain (far left), Bridge Mountain (right of centre), and North Peak (directly above the Stratosphere).
The snow really makes the peaks stand out. Also visible to the west are Charleston Peak (left) and Mummy Mountain (right).
Most Vegas residents are probably oblivious to this more interesting and colourful side of the peak. Closer at hand is the east face of Frenchman Mountain.
There's a whole lot of nothing between Lava Butte and the Muddy Mountains. Here is another look at the Muddy Mountains to the northeast.
In terms of the views you get for the amount of effort expended, Lava Butte gives probably the best bang for your buck! The view to the southeast includes Lake Mead, Fortification Hill (centre), and Mount Wilson (far right).
Except Harlan doesn't have a whacky sidekick like Bob does! ;-) This is Sonny's tribute to Harlan Stockman, the Bob Spirko of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Looks almost like a line graph! This is the route as viewed in Google Earth.
Route-finding will NOT be a problem on this trip!

Total Distance:  2.76 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  2 hours 56 minutes
Total Elevation Gain:  337 metres

GPX Data

*Note about the route description: Forget about finding the "Lake Mead Remediation Area" sign when turning off  from Highway 147 (Lake Mead Boulevard).  Instead, look for an obvious gravel road that is partially fenced and also has an information kiosk near the paved highway.