From Las Vegas Blvd. head west on Sahara Blvd. Turn right (north) on Rainbow, and left (west) on Charleston Blvd. Follow Charleston all the way out to Red Rock Canyon. If you take the Interstate, take Interstate 15 to 95 North. Exit at the Summerlin Parkway and take the Parkway all the way to the 215 Beltway. Turn left on to the Beltway and head south. Exit at Charleston Blvd. to the right and head west to Red Rock Canyon.
Once inside the park, follow the main loop road to the Willow Springs turnoff (just before mile marker 8). Follow the paved road for about 1 mile until it turns into a dirt road. Continue on the dirt road for about 5 miles until you reach Red Rock Summit. On the left, you will find parking and a sign designating the trailhead. Getting to the summit of Bridge Mountain from Red Rock Summit requires a high clearance vehicle, and the ability to travel across class 3 terrain.|
Named for a large sandstone arch near its summit, Bridge Mountain is one of the most impressive, most imposing and most elusive summits in the entire Red Rock NCA area. Although hidden from view from most of the Red Rock scenic loop behind neighboring Bridge Point, its monolithic summit block invites hikers and climbers alike when they finally see it. Near the summit, if one explores around enough or knows where to look, can be be found several tinajas, which are natural catch basins in the sandstone. These tinajas tend to hold water the majority of the year and one of them, located only a short distance NE of the "bridge" is of considerable size and depth. Also located near the summit is a hidden forest. Nestled high up in the sandstone, a small, but spectacular, grove of ponderosa pines tucked away there make a great camping spot.
You can park at either the first (Calico I), second (Calico II) or third (Sandstone Quarry) turnoffs. At the Calico I parking area, the rocks are red and white striped and there are trails that head both east and west. This is probably the most popular are with tourists as you can walk a short distance for terrific photo opportunities. At the Calico II parking area the hills are a bright rusty orange and there are also trails that head both east and west. You do have to hike down a trail a couple hundred feet before you get to the good parts but its worth it.
Calico Hills is one of the most popular destinations when it comes to Red Rock Canyon hiking trails because it has something for everyone. Calico Hills has everything from easy hiking trails to moderate and difficult scrambles. It is also popular with locals and tourists because of its beautiful red and white sandstone hills and canyons. While hiking and exploring you can also see rock climbers, Indian artwork, and find hidden canyons.
Take the 13 mile scenic loop to the 3rd parking area past the entry station to the Sandstone Quarry parking lot, go straight when the road curves sharply to the left. There is a sign showing you where to park. Even though this is a short hike, you lose shade early so make sure and carry plenty of water. This is a nice short hike for tourists and others who want a lot of" bang for their buck". If it wasn't for climbing rocks we'd have to call this an easy trail, but people who have sore knees or difficulty with their footing say it's moderate to strenuous for them. Be prepared for the tanks to be dry most of the year. If we have a rainstorm or sustained snowfall & melt you might be lucky enough to see water. Tinajas are indentations in the rock (usually sandstone) caused by erosion which capture water and provide critical water source for wildlife. In spring/early summer this hike takes you past many wildflowers and blooming trees/shrubs as you walk into the brilliant red rocks & washbed (loose gravel).
From the Visitor Center take the paved road south. Next take the first turning on your right and continue to the car park. This trail is a combination of the SMYC, Dale's and Arnight trails. The trail is a moderately difficulty and scenic one way 5.5 mile hike, or a more adventurous strenuous 11 mile round trip. The one-way version requires parking a vehicle in Lost Creek and car pooling down to the Oak Creek parking area. The round trip version can be done from either end.
To get to the trailhead, drive west 4.2 miles past the visitor’s center on highway 159. Look for a dirt parking area carved alongside the road and a small sign announcing First Creek Canyon. This is an easy 3-mile hike and is suitable for the whole family. The trail begins at an X-shaped burro gate. This is burro country and you are more than likely going to see some out here. Just remember the rules; no feeding or petting, these guys can kick, bite and spit! Once through the gate, you’ll cross a rocky wash and be on your way. The well-defined trail winds through the open desert, slowly making its way toward the canyon that is being cut by First Creek and then beyond to the rugged south side of Mt. Wilson. Like Area 51, First Creek Canyon is home to a very well-known secret: the waterfall. But most people will never see it because it’s quite well hidden. After hiking for a mile or so you’ll notice that the trail comes much closer to the canyon. At that point, you’ll want to head toward the first big pine tree that you see growing along the canyon rim. Next to this tree you’ll find a little unmarked trail leading into the canyon, toward a couple of big diamond-shaped composite rocks, and then downward to the waterfall. After a quick descent, you’ll find yourself deep in a rocky grotto that is covered with delicate green ferns and tall shady trees fed by a large pool at the base of a waterfall. This is a very serene spot, a complete departure from the dry desert environment just above and a nice preview of more good things to come a little farther up the trail. Retrace your steps and head back up to the main trail. A little farther west you’ll come to a sign marking the end of the official trail and the beginning of the wilderness study area (WSA). Here, the trail forks. The South route goes up to the top of a ridge and continues west toward Mt. Wilson. This is a popular area for rock climbing and you can usually spot a few people dangling from the cliffs. The North fork will lead you along the creek with several opportunities to stop and explore. Just pull up one of the big rocks in the middle of the streambed and relax under a canopy of trees. Sit quietly and listen to the water bubbling around you.
Drive about 2/3rds of the way around the the Scenic Loop to the Icebox Canyon Trailhead. This trail leads into one of the deep, narrow canyons in the Red Rocks cliffs, climbing about 500 ft in 1.1 miles to a series of waterfalls. The hike is delightful, but the trail and canyon bottom are rocky, so it is slow going and moderately strenuous. The canyon rarely gets full sun, resulting in cool conditions. High cliffs and water polished rock block further progress up the canyon.
Drive about half-way around the Scenic Loop Road to White Rock Road. Drive up White Rock Road to the White Rock Trailhead. A sign on the northeast side of the parking area marks the Keystone Thrust trailhead. This is also a trailhead for the White Rock Loop Trail. Note that other trails lead out from the west side of the parking area. From the trailhead, the Keystone Thrust trail runs north up an old road. The trail passes an agave roasting pit on the left. About 130 yards from the trailhead, the trail crosses the major wash that comes down from the White Rock Hills. At a trail junctio about 100 yards past the wash, the Keystone Thrust Trail turns right and climbs out of the wash to the east. Watch for trail signs and a few wooden stairs leading up the hillside. The White Rock Loop Trail continues north from the trail junction.
Drive about half-way around the Scenic Loop Road to Willow Spring Road. Turn right and drive north 0.6 miles to the Willow Springs Trailhead. Park here at the trailhead. For hikers with high-clearance vehicles who want to shorten the hike, continue north on Rocky Gap Road to the La Madre Trailhead.
Follow the signs along the 13 mile scenic loop, turning R towards Willow Springs, parking at the first parking lot; which is for Lost Creek (vault RR & signs). There are 2 trails leading from the Lost Creek parking - one is for the Children's Discovery Loop and the other takes you past the turnoff to SMYC and towards Lost Creek canyon itself. Follow the signs for the Children's Discovery trail as it leads you to petroglyphs, the waterfall, or grotto area, and takes you past other interesting things as it leads you back to the parking area.
Escarpment Base Trail
11 Miles RT
If you have never taken your child hiking, this is the one to begin with. A short walk -- move at your own pace, learning about the desert with your child, and enjoying the scenery. There are no long or steep climbs, and plenty of signage and maintenance to make this hike an easy, pleasant experience. Local schools use this quite extensively for field trips, so if you don't go early you may be sharing the trail with lots of kids!
The Grand Circle and Moenkopi trails start at the northwest corner of the parking area near the Visitor Center building. This trail connects with Calico Hills.
Enter the scenic loop drive and turn off at La Madre Spring road. A large asphalt parking area sits directly off the scenic loop drive. or continue along the La Madre Spring road. Turning from asphalt to gravel the way becomes rugged but passable to high clearance vehicles. Ample pullouts exist for parking. Drive as far as possible. Park and hike to the trailhead. Driving to the trailhead requires a 4x4 high clearance vehicle or ATV. Rocky Gap Road is rugged with sharp turns and narrow passes. Proceed with caution on Rocky Gap Road.
Follow Rocky Gap road until it enters a large gravel wash. Look east, several large cairns mark the trailhead. The trail is well worn and proceeds up the obvious ridgeline. Heading first south-southeast before turning east and climbing to the saddle high on the ridge. Be prepared for a steep ascent. Cairns mark the path, when the trail leaves the Pinion pine and Juniper trees, in favor of slickrock scramble. A large cairn sits atop a rocky outcropping that can be spotted far down the hill. This is the direction of travel. Continue to follow the cairns until the high saddle is reached. At the saddle and the level plateau, turn north, and follow the various paths toward the rocky peak of North Peak. Several false summits exist, it is best to stay on the western slope rather than climbing to the first peak spotted from the plateau. Stay to the western slope and the summit will be obvious. Peak baggers: Peak 7244 is a short modest hike along the ridgeline.
Drive most of the way around the Scenic Loop Road to the Oak Creek Canyon Trailhead, located at the end of Oak Creek Canyon Road. This is a delightful hike that leads into one of the narrow canyons that slices into the Red Rocks (Wilson) Cliffs. This hike has two parts: an official trail and a scramble up the canyon. The official trail makes for a good, easy hike that leads to the mouth of the canyon in about 1.1 miles with an elevation gain of less than 300 ft. From there, however, the route follows poorly defined use-trails and the boulder-choked wash up the canyon. The canyon gets some full sun, but generally this is a cool place to hike. Hikers can scramble and boulder hop up the canyon almost forever, but this is an in-and-out hike.
Drive about 2/3 rds of the way around the Scenic Loop Road to the Pine Creek Canyon Trailhead. Park here; this is the trailhead. This fairly easy hike runs up the north side of a Pine Creek to the first fork in Pine Creek Canyon. The trail then crosses the seasonal stream and runs back down the south side until rejoining the original route near the remains of an old homestead. This area is interesting because it harbors a great botanical diversity of Mojave Desert Scrub vegetation with a relict population of ponderosa pines that normally are found only at much higher elevations. The canyon gets some full sun, especially early in the day, but generally it is a nice cool place to hike. The round-trip trail is about 2.42 miles, but from the top of the loop, hikers can scramble and boulder hop up either canyon forever.
Enter the scenic loop drive and turn off at the sandstone quarry. A loop to a large asphalt parking area sits directly off the scenic loop drive. Follow the well worn path north to the junction of Turtlehead Peak. Well worn and gravel, the path wanders through gully's and washes until it begins to climb toward a prominent saddle on the west side of the peak. The trail spiders into a dozen or more paths when reaching the gully. The east side trail arrives at the ridge line east of the saddle resulting in a little more difficult climb. Once at the saddle the paths converge again and the final uphill push to the summit. A summit registration exists with plenty of pens and paper. Several trails drop off the ridge line to some rocky outcropping.