AUTUMN HIKING AT RED ROCK CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Las Vegas Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
November 24th, 2007 – by: mellemel8
From Sandstone Quarry the trail heads north from its junction with the Turtlehead Peak trail to just past the agave roasting pit site. Just beyond this site., the trail veers up a side canyon to the right where it follows ascending rock terraces to a large natural water tank [tinaja]. Water may be present in the tanks after seasonal rains. [2.5 miles round trip, moderate]
we love taking pictures of cubbyholes. we would giggle when we see one. HAHAHAHAHA.
1. Moenkopi Loop
Triassic fossils and various desert flora can be seen on this open country trail which starts at the visitor center just west of the weather monitoring station and traverses a prominent limestone ridge.
In addition to panoramic views of the Wilson Cliffs, there are connecting trails to the Calico Hills area (2 mile loop, easy).
2. Calico Hills
This trail runs along the base of the Calico Rocks from Calico Basin to Sandstone Quarry. Distance is variable since the trail can be accessed at either end or from either of the two Calico parking areas. A side trail runs from the fee booth parking lot and connects with this trail (2 - 6 miles, easy to moderate).
3. Calico Tanks
From Sandstone Quarry the trail heads north from its junction with the Turtlehead Peak trail to just past the agave roasting pit site. Just beyond this site., the trail veers up a side canyon to the right where it follows ascending rock terraces to a large natural water tank [tinaja].
Water may be present in the tanks after seasonal rains. [2.5 miles round trip, moderate]
4. Turtlehead Peak
From Sandstone Quarry the trail heads north over a narrow rise, in and out of a wash, then continues for a short distance along the northwest side of Turtlehead Peak. Scramble up a ravine to the saddle and follow the steep ridge to the top. The trail is intermittent and composed of loose rock. [5 mile round trip, 2000 feet elevation gain, very strenuous]
5. Keystone Thrust
From upper White Rock Spring parking lot take the trail north across the wash, and up the hill. The Keystone Thrust Trail ‘Ts" off the La Madre Springs loop to the right approximately 1/4 mile from the parking lot. Take the right fork up the stairs to where it then joins an old jeep road, continuing uphill to the left.
The trail traverses a low ridge, heads down into a small canyon, onto the Keystone Thrust Fault where the gray limestone meets the red and tan sandstone. [2.2 miles round trip, moderate hike]
6. White Rock to Willow Springs
From the upper parking lot at White Rock Springs, take the trail on the west side to where it splits. The trail to the right descends to a guzzler [man made water hole]. The trail to the left heads downhill and through a wash, then climbs over a ridge and drops you into the Lost Creek area [2 miles]. From there it is only a short distance to Willow Springs. Starting from Willow Springs, just reverse the previous instructions. [4.4 miles round trip, easy to moderate hike]
7. White Rock / La Madre Springs Loop
This trail can be started at White Rock Springs or Willow Springs, and can be done in either direction.
By starting at Willow Springs, hikers can deal with the steep climb to White Rock near the beginning of the hike, rather than at the end. When you come to a fork with a sign reading "White Rock Springs 2.2 miles", take the uphill trail to the left. Follow it to White Rock upper parking lot, continuing northwest from the lot. When the trail forks, go left and follow the trail until it intersects an old dirt road. Follow that road downhill to where it forks to the left, returning you to Willow Springs. (6 miles round trip, moderate).
8. Lost Creek - Children’s Discovery Trail
From the Lost Creek parking area, take the trail to the right. The Willow Springs Loop intersects this trail and shares it until it splits off at Site #3. Continue on this loop until just beyond Site #4, where another path heads uphill to a seasonal waterfall.
Return via the boardwalk. This popular trail may be crowded at times as it is used by many school groups. (.75 mile round trip, easy to moderate)
9. Willow Springs Loop
From the parking lot follow the trail by the pit toilets south. This takes you past a pictograph site and Agave roasting pits, to the Lost Creek parking lot. There the trail heads to the right to where the two trails fork, at Site #3. Bear to the right and continue to the Willow Springs parking lot. Part of this trail is paved and is readily accessible from the parking lot. [1.5 miles round trip, easy]
10. La Madre Spring
From the Willow Springs parking lot, walk the dirt road west up the canyon, cross a wash and go to the right when the road splits. Continue uphill to the dam, then follow the foot trail to the spring.
Return to Willow Springs by backtracking. [3.3 miles round trip, moderate]
11. SMYC Trail
This trail can be accessed from either Lost Creek or Ice Box Trail. It follows the terrain at the base of the Escarpment and connects the two trails mentioned above. [2.2 miles round trip, moderate]
12. Ice Box Canyon
From the parking lot, the trail heads down across the wash and up the other side toward the canyon. The trail is well defined as it leads you up the side of the canyon for approximately 3/4 of a mile. It then drops into the bottom of the canyon. From this point the trail becomes a route over or around boulders as it continues upstream. The official trail ends at the large ponderosa pine tree in the bottom of the canyon [2.5 miles round trip].
Return to the parking lot by backtracking. [2.6 miles, moderate]
13. Dale's Trail
This trail can be accessed from either Ice Box Trail or Pine Creek Trail. It follows the terrain at the base of the escarpment and connects the two above mentioned trails. [4.4 miles round trip, moderate]
14. Pine Creek Canyon
Take the trail downhill from the parking lot, following it toward the canyon. The trail is intersected twice by the Fire Ecology Trail and by Dale's Trail, then forks near the old Wilson homestead foundation. This part of the trail is a loop and is easier to follow to the left where it goes downhill, across a stream, then uphill to the intersection of the Arnight Trail.
Follow it back to the parking lot. [3 miles round trip, easy to moderate]
15. Fire Ecology Trail
This double loop trail, accessed via the Pine Creek Trail, exits and enters the Pine Creek Trail from the south. Take the trail to the left heading toward the escarpment, across a bridge and over a rise to enter the second loop. Return across the same bridge and follow the trail back to the Pine Creek Trail. [.75 miles round trip, easy]
16. Oak Creek Canyon Trail
Take the Oak Creek turn-off from the scenic loop drive to a small parking lot. The trail heads across the open desert to the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon.
17. Arnight Trail
The Arnight Trail connects the Oak Creek parking lot with the end loop on Pine Creek Trail.
Starting at the parking lot, across from the Oak Creek Trail head, it heads toward the escarpment gaining elevation until it joins the Pine Creek Trail just above the loop junction. Approximately 1/2 mile before the trail connects with Pine Creek, another trail called the Knoll Trail intersects it on the left. [2.4 miles round trip, moderate]
18. Knoll Trail
This trail links the upper sections of the Arnight Trail and the Oak Creek Trail, following the base of the escarpment and will eventually connect with First Creek Trail. You can combine this trail with the Oak Creek and Arnight Trails for a 3.
19. First Creek Canyon Trail
Take Charleston Boulevard [SR 159], south of the Scenic Loop terminus, for 2.
6 miles to the First Creek Trailhead. The trail leads to the mouth of the canyon, following the left side of the wash for a distance; some rock scrambling is required thereafter. Seasonal waterfalls can be found in the canyon. [3 miles round trip, easy to moderate]
Grand Circle Adventure
This tail starts at the fee booth parking area, heads toward the Calico Hills Trail and onto Sandstone Quarry, then continues on to the White Rock Springs upper parking lot. From there, it heads down the hill toward Willow Springs, but veers to the left at a junction on top of the ridge. It then crosses the scenic loop drive and continues downhill to the visitor center.
Escarpment Base Trail
A combination of the SMYC, Dale's and Arnight trails, this is a good one way hike or a more adventurous round trip.
The one-way version requires parking a vehicle in Lost Creek and car pooling down to the Oak Creek Parking area. [5.2 miles one way, moderate]. The round trip version can be done from either end. [10.4 miles round trip. strenuous]
This paved path leads to the top of a small hill behind the helicopter pad, and is easily accessible from the Red Rock Overlook parking lot, providing a marvelous view of Red Rock Canyon and the escarpment. [.25 miles round trip, easy, wheelchair accessible]
Bridge Mountain Trail
This difficult trail is accessed from the summit of Rocky Gap Road.
The Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center is a focal point for visitor orientation. The 7,600 square foot facility offers information and interpretation about recreation opportunities, wildlife, wild horses and burros, vegetation, geology, cultural resources and much more.
Book and Gift Store
The facility also offers a book and gift store operated by the RRCIA, a non-profit organization with the mission of researching and sharing interpretive information about the RRCNCA and assisting with BLM educational endeavors. Proceeds from the bookstore support environmental interpretation of the Red Rock area. These efforts include programs, hikes, exhibits, signs and publications.
The Book and Gift Store features unique items created by local artisans, jewelry handcrafted by Native Americans, books and maps pertaining to the area as well as many other items that will please the eye and perk the interest of the visitor. The Book and Gift Store is managed by the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association.
View of display created by Interpretive Association
The Exhibit Area features displays funded and created by RRCIA. Interpreters have created displays depicting the cultural and natural resources of the Conservation Area. This area has recently been upgraded and is quite nice.
There is a small Lizard Lounge where two rescued lizards were lucky enough to find a home. This is a picture of Chucky, a chuckwalla. Other desert dwellers are also on display.
Located near the Visitor Center is the Red Rock Canyon Bicycle Pavilion. The pavilion offers a rest stop/destination location, with water and restrooms for bicycle enthusiasts. It also includes benches, picnic tables and fire grills providing opportunities for day use and small group gatherings.
The Scenic Drive offers numerous stops for sightseeing and photography. Hiking trails are accessible from the designated pullouts and parking areas. The scenic drive is open daily from 6 a.
Biking, Climbing and Hiking
Red Rock's many hiking trails are described in brochures available at the Visitor Center. Climbers will want to have Red Rock Select, the Climbers Guide. Bicycle riders can refresh and relax at the Bicycle Pavilion. These trails, varying in length and challenge, offer spectacular views of the Spring Mountains and the Las Vegas Valley.
Despite the Yosemite-size walls offering a host of challenging lines, technical climbing activity is not known from before 1968. Las Vegas resident Joe Herbst was a key early explorer of the walls, and made many first ascents. Later Jorge and Joanne Urioste put up a number of long hard routes, and Joanne wrote a first climber's guidebook.
The rock is Aztec Sandstone, a very hard variety with a consistent solidity; many climbs feature ascents of a single parallel-sided crack hundreds of feet long. The climbs of Red Rock have a broad range. Not only are there many long, easy routes, making the area a common climbing training ground, but Red Rock also features many more difficult climbs as well.
Popular sport climbing areas include the Calico Hills and Sandstone Quarry. Red Rock also has a multitude of traditional climbing areas including single pitch areas such as Brass Wall and Necromancer Wall, along with multi-pitch areas such as Eagle Wall, Aeolian Wall, Mescalito, and Solar Slab Wall. Multi-day big wall aid climbs are featured on the Rainbow Wall.
Some of the more famous traditional climbs include:
* Cat in the Hat (5.6, 6 pitches, 650 feet) on Mescalito in Pine Creek Canyon.
* Solar Slab (5.6, 9 pitches, 1200 feet) on Solar Slab Wall in Oak Creek Canyon.
* Black Dagger (5.7, 6 pitches, 800 feet) on Brownstone Wall in Juniper Canyon.
* Crimson Chrysalis (5.8, 9 pitches, 1000 feet) on Cloud Tower in Juniper Canyon.
* Epinephrine (5.9, 13 pitches, 1600 feet) on Black Velvet Wall in Black Velvet Canyon.
* Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a, 7 pitches, 700 feet) on Black Velvet Wall in Black Velvet Canyon.
* Prince of Darkness (5.10c, 6 pitches, 700 feet) on Black Velvet Wall in Black Velvet Canyon.
* Levitation 29 (5.11c, 9 pitches, 700 feet) on Eagle Wall in Oak Creek Canyon.
Red Rock provides a wide variety of activities, the most popular being hiking, biking, rock scrambling, and rock climbing.
Aside from the obvious dangers from climbing rock faces and cliffs, visitors should know that temperatures can routinely exceed 105F (41C) in the summer, so bringing plenty of water is a must. Visitors hiking into the backcountry off established trails should never go alone and inform other people of their plans in advance as a precaution. There is also the threat of poisonous rattlesnakes and flash flooding/lightning from thunderstorms.
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