The Bursage Loop Trail is a moderate 1.3 mile loop trail that is part of the Anthem East Trail system in the hills above Anthem Hills Park. From the Anthem East Trailhead, the Bursage Loop Trail can be accessed by a .9 mile one-way hike on the Anthem East/McCullough Hills Trails, with the first .6 miles being on a paved trail. The trail description below uses this route and starts at the Anthem East Trailhead, which makes for a 3.1 mile roundtrip hike. The Bursage Loop Trail is an oblong loop that encircles a portion of the McCullough Hills Trail. The Bursage Loop Trail can also be accessed from the Chorus/Arpeggio Trailhead by hiking .7 miles on the Chorus/Arpeggio Connector and the Anthem East Trail.
The Bursage Loop Trail is an excellent trail for beginning hikers and families. I enjoyed taking my children on this trail to see the beautiful pink flowers on the Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) when they bloom in March and April each year. The Bursage Loop Trail is named after the abundant White Bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) plants found around the trail. White Bursage is a low and rounded green and white shrub that looks like a pile of dried twigs for most of the year, and has small spiky yellow and green flowers in the spring. You can also find red California Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus), Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa), Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and the numerous other desert plant species. You will also find many different types of lizards around the trail, including the Great Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores), the Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides), Chuckwallas (Sauromalus ater) and the Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos).
Even though the Bursage Loop Trail is considered a moderate hike that is good for beginning hikers and families, you still need to be prepared. There is limited cell phone coverage, and there is no water available on the Bursage Loop Trail. Before attempting to hike the Bursage Loop Trail, make sure that you are prepared and are following the guidelines for hiker safety.
Map of the Bursage Loop Trail from the Anthem East Trailhead
Aerial Overview of the Bursage Loop Trail
Waypoint 1 – Anthem East Trailhead (N 35.98289° W 115.08354°)
You will find the Anthem East Trailhead on the east side of Anthem Hills Park, just southeast of the baseball fields. The bathrooms are located near the baseball fields. The first .6 miles of the Anthem East Trail is on a paved trail that winds uphill until it intersects with a utility road and the McCullough Hills Trail. There are a couple of lookout points and T intersections along the paved trail, but if you continue to follow the paved trail it will lead you to a dirt utility road (with large power poles) where the Anthem East Trail and the McCullough Hills Trail intersect
Waypoint 2 – Paved Trail Ends / Cross the Utility Road (N 35.98025° W 115.07840°)
At the end of the paved trail you will arrive at a dirt utility road. Cross the utility road and look for the Anthem East Trail marker (the same marker also has a sign for the McCullough Hills Trail) and go left (southeast) to take the single track trail that follows the utility road up the hill. You might find a mountain biker barreling down the trail towards you, so be cautious. The trail is steep until you level off at the top of the hill.
Before you reach the next waypoint, you will pass the turnoff for the Anthem East Trail on the right and continue ahead along the utility road until you reach the left turn onto the McCullough Hills Trail.
Waypoint 3 – Turn Left from Utility Road onto the McCullough Hills Trail (N 35.978640° W 115.073802°)
Once you reach the the top of the hill, you will see two trails on the left side of the utility road. You should take the second trail (southernmost trail) for the McCullough Hills Trail and to start the Bursage Loop. The first trail is actually the northern section of the Bursage Loop, and is how you will return back to the Anthem East Trailhead after you have completed the counter-clockwise hike around the loop. The sign marking the McCullough Hills Trail in the photo below is confusing, and seems to indicate that you should take the first trail for the McCullough Hills Trail, which is incorrect. If you plan on hiking the McCullough Hills Trail, always take the second (southernmost trail). Both trails eventual lead to the same place, but the first trail will add and extra .2 miles.
Waypoint 4 – Take Right Fork onto The Bursage Loop Trail (N 35.978897° W 115.073494°)
In just 145 feet after turning onto the McCullough Hills Trail, you will arrive at a fork in the trail. Take the right fork to turn southeast onto the Bursage Loop Trail. From here, you will begin the counter clockwise loop on the Bursage Loop Trail. The fork in the trail is just after a “Horses Prohibited” marker on the left side of the trail. The Horses Prohibited marker means that horses must remain on the McCullough Hills Trail and are not allowed on the Bursage Loop Trail.
The trail has a slight downhill portion as the trail tries to circumvent a large outcropping of volcanic boulders. The trail can be rocky on the downhill portions of the trail, so you should be aware and careful about your footing on this portion of the trail.
After you have gone back uphill from the short downhill portion of the trail, the trail turns eastward and becomes close to the McCullough Hills Trail (within 10 feet), which will be clearly visible on the left (east) side of the trail.
Waypoint 5 – McCullough Hills Trail Mile 7 Marker (N 35.97683° W 115.06842°)
After the Bursage Loop Trail begins to run parallel with the McCullough Hills Trail, you will see a marker on the right side of the trail. This is the McCullough Hills Trail Mile 7 Marker, which marks 7 miles on the McCullough Hills Trail from the McCullough Hills Trailhead in east Henderson. It’s odd that the marker is not next to the actual McCullough Hills Trail, but it is clearly visible from the trail.
Waypoint 6 – Turn North and Cross the McCullough Hills Trail (N 35.975885° W 115.066822°)
At .1 miles after passing the Mile 7 Marker, the trail will lead you to the intersection of the McCullough Hills Trail, the Mushroom Loop Trail, and the east and west sections of the Bursage Loop Trail. I refer to this location in other trail descriptions as “the Crossroads.” Before reaching the Crossroads, the trail will turn to the north. The first trail you see on the right is the beginning of the Mushroom Loop Trail. The larger trail heading southwest is the McCullough Hills Trail, which leads to the McCullough Hills Trailhead in east Henderson.
When you reach the Crossroads, you will see two trails heading north. The easternmost trail on the right is the eastern side of the Bursage Loop Trail. At the Crossroads, look for a McCullough Hills Trail marker that says “Horses Only” across the trail from you, and just to the right (east) of the Bursage Loop Trail. Just about 10 feet behind the large marker, there is a skinnier marker for the Bursage Loop Trail. The Bursage Loop Marker is the first signage that you will see for the Bursage Loop Trail, and is designated as Marker B1 for the trail.
Continue northwest on the Bursage Loop Trail, which will run fairly close to the McCullough Hills Trail for the next .2 miles.
Waypoint 7 – Pass Trail on the Left (N 35.978895° W 115.070257°)
After the trail turns to the northeast and away from the McCullough Hills trail, you will see a trail intersecting with the Bursage Loop Trail on the left. This is just a path created by hikers and bikers cutting across the desert to the west to get to the McCullough Hills Trail. Pass this trail and continue north on the Bursage Loop Trail.
Waypoint 8 – Pass the Scenic Point on the Left (N 35.979429° W 115.070217°)
On the left of the trail you will see a marker for a Scenic Point just west of the trail. The Scenic Point has a couple of benches to rest on. The trail continues past the Scenic Point to the next waypoint.
Waypoint 9 – Pass Marker B2 and the Phoenix Trail (N 35.980439° W 115.070381°)
Just as the trail turn to the west (to the left), you will see Bursage Loop Marker B2 on the left side of the trail.
Roughly 5 yards further down the trail on the right you will see a skinnier Bursage Loop Trail marker that says “no outlet.” This is the marker for the trail intersecting the Bursage Loop Trail on the right (north) side of the trail. The trail to the right used to be a one way track to a view point, but now continues on to a longer trail, which I refer to as the Phoenix Trail because of its shape. At the next waypoint, the 1.5 mile long Phoenix Trail reconnects with the Bursage Loop Trail again. Pass the Phoenix Trail on your right and continue west on the Bursage Loop Trail.
Waypoint 10 – Pass the Phoenix Trail on the Right (N 35.979749° W 115.073175°)
In .2 miles from Waypoint 9, the Phoenix Trail will again intersect with the Bursage Loop Trail on the right. Continue straight on the Bursage Loop Trail. The trail will turn to the southwest towards the McCullough Hills Trail and the utility road leading back towards the Anthem East Trailhead.
Waypoint 11 – Stay on the Trail to the Right (N 35.979066° W 115.073385°)
As the Bursage Loop Trail nears the power lines and the utility road to the west, the trail will be in close proximity to the McCullough Hills Trail. People walking and biking between the two trails have created several small intersecting trails between the two main trails. Stay to the right in order to complete the Bursage Loop Trail. Whatever you do, make sure that you head toward the power lines and the utility road.
Waypoint 12 – Turn Right on the Utility Road Back to the Anthem East Trailhead (N 35.978706° W 115.073869°)
In 230 feet, the Bursage Loop Trail ends at the intersection of the utility road that leads back to the Anthem East Trailhead. Turn right (northwest) and cross the utility road to the single track trail that’s parallel with the utility road that you came in on from the Anthem East Trailhead. Follow the trail for until you reach the paved pathway leading to the Anthem East Trailhead at Waypoint 2.
The End – Anthem East Trailhead (N 35.98289° W 115.08354°)
When you return to the Anthem East Trailhead, you have completed the 3.1 mile Bursage Loop Trail hike.
Disclaimer: All distances, elevations, waypoints, narrative descriptions and other facts are approximate.