Location: Near Red Rock, outside of Las Vegas, Nevada
Time: Early Winter
Activity: Day Hike
Fossil Ridge day hike was a solo adventure that I did in Nevada the day after Christmas 2018. It was under 5 miles with a climb in elevation of under 1,000 feet. The hike was rated moderate. It was a gorgeous day, and a good way to try and work off some of the treats from the holiday. The location is near Red Rock, which to me is almost spiritual it is so beautiful, and a must do anytime I am near Vegas. Usually I am hiking on the opposite side of the road that runs through the area, and closer to the mountains and to Red Rock, but this perspective was very special as you have the full expanse of that view. The Fossil Ridge Loop day hike worked its way along the cliff of a canyon which was very interesting. The other thing I really liked about the hike was at times I felt like I was hiking through a cactus garden.
4 miles, 900’ elevation gain, 2 hour duration, rated Moderate
This area is a play land for Mountain Biking. It has terrain for all skill levels from Beginner to Expert. If you follow this trek outline on the map there are certainly portions that would be approaching that Expert level. That being said, it is also a hiking area, just be aware, of your surroundings and keep your eyes peeled, and your ears alert.
This short loop should be hiked counter clockwise as it is steeper with loose material. Going up is always easier especially on this type of footing than sliding down. The route encompasses multiple trails starting with BC, Snake Back, and Side Winder, on the backside it drops down on to Red Mountain Access Road. That is very boring, so my suggestion is get off on to a side trail at East Leg which is another rugged winding narrow trail that brings you back to the basin of trails at the trailhead.
The area and the terrain is very cool, the problem I have with it is there is a big communication network tower on the top with overhead power lines. The views of the surrounding desert and mountains is super, the only problem with the views is it also encompasses the urbanization down below being Boulder City. What I am always trying to do when ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ is get away from it all. The more wilderness the better. Off the backside is a great view of the strip. While that is still urbanization it is the Las Vegas Strip so, that is different.
If you think a small thing can’t make a big difference, try hiking with a pebble in your boot.
Thanks for joining me ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ above Boulder City checking out views of the famed Las Vegas Strip from the top. For more adventures in nature please do the following: LIKE, FOLLOW, COMMENT and SHARE. If you go to the above menu you will see plenty of wonderful spots that PBTA travels to throughout the West. If you go to SHOP APPARELyou will see Adventure Wear adorned with PBTA logo that also serves as the mantra for the healing you can receive from nature adventure.
This area is stunningly beautiful even from Red Rock Canyon Road the 159, but venturing on First Creek Canyon Trail gives you the time to really balance the scales between a busy life filled with all the noise of existing in this modern world to the peace and tranquillity that nature on a scale as grand as Red Rock Canyon can. Red Rock to me is almost spiritual. The multi colored rock face of these mountains jut up out of the desert like a cathedral of stone. As you approach for a better view you certainly get the impression that church is in session, ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’.
This hike has a dirt parking area off to the side on Red Rock Canyon Road and not far from the entrance to Red Rock. Most of the hike is easy and fairly flat, the trail is gravel and hard pack dirt going across the desert toward the mountains. As you approach the foothills it kicks into the moderate portion of this hike. The trail has some soft sand sections, but is mostly rocky with just the smallest amount of scrambling. 3/4 of the way toward the mountains is where there is a creek to the side of the trail. In December, which is not the rainy season, there were some pools of water, but mostly the creek and the waterfall were dry. The last portions of the First Creek Canyon Trail becomes more difficult to follow as is it rocky and hikers at this point seem to be doing their own thing and there are little trails and paths all over.
Hiking past this point jumps to HARD, with what looks like a lot of scrambling and the canyon becomes tighter and higher. This is a rock climbers haven and I saw two different partner climbers on what looks like a difficult face. If you were to continue hiking up the canyon it would finally lead to the peak of Mt. Wilson. This sounds intriguing to me, but I had only planned for the First Creek Canyon Trail. Another time perhaps…
“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it” -William Shakespeare
Thanks for following me into this amazing canyon which epitomizes what this blog is all about ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure‘. You can’t come out of a place like this and not be awe struck, and feel that it hasn’t given you a bit of a reset. For more awe please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. You can find more fun experiences in nature by going to the Menu above showing the different locations that PBTA travels to. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be followed independently. Did you not get what you wanted for Christmas? Like my hat? I have them for sale along with other top quality adventure gear at SHOP APPAREL.
This hike has so many wonderful facets to it. I loved this hike and highly recommend it.
First of all to me Red Rock Canyon is a must do for anyone going to Vegas. There are more than bright lights, and slot machines to Las Vegas and if you have never at least driven the Red Rock Loop then you are really missing out. Once you have enjoyed that thrilling scenery than the next steps are to get out and do some hiking, work up to exploring, and finally add a peak or two. To me Red Rock is almost spiritual, that is how profound of an experience it is.
The landscape changes through out the hike, from the rugged, wild and harsh beauty of the Red Rock and it’s unforgiving terrain, to a place with brush, vegetation and even some Juniper and Pine trees.
La Madre Springs is a hike all in itself and most people on this trail only know about that. The spring adds vegetation and is what makes this part of Red Rock different and so interesting, a “treasured island in a sea of desert“. During the hike you will cross the stream a few times and there are places where there are even reeds, something that you don’t see everyday in a desert environment. There are wonderful vistas through out the adventure opening up to views of the surrounding hills and mountains. This really is a stupendous hike.
The trail starts out big broad double track road which gets rougher as you go, and finally switches to trail. It is well maintained and well traveled up to the La Madre Springs and then becomes a little more difficult to follow on the way up to a little water fall. Past the water fall your travels will take you through ever increasingly steep and overgrown trail that is not always easy to follow, but certainly worth the effort as you will get to checkout something very special, that being an Old Miner’s Cabin and if you seek further adventure than up the steep hill from there is an old abandon mine and even more wondrous vistas that the additional height avails to you.
The rustic ruins of the Old Miner’s Cabin will spur thoughts of a life of solitude, a simpler time, certainly back breaking work, but with the romance of possibility… the chance of gold and silver in them thar hills, and thus the opportunity for untold fortune and incredible wealth. An existence in this place would be filled with hardship of the elements- blistering, unrelenting heat in the Summer, and snow and ice during a portion of the winter. In fact the area got snow the night after my hike. As legend goes this cabin was used not only by prospectors, but cowboys and even outlaws.
There are a few different faint trails heading up above the cabin. I was able to find the abandon old mine, and there was a yellow flag marking the spot. It’s not that the flag is easy to see from any distance, but once you do then you know that you have discovered the opening to the mine. I suggest that you have a head lamp if you care to break the rules, that are clearly marked Do Not Enter, and explore this unsafe, dangerous place. If you do throw caution to the wind then you will work your way into a dark, dank mine. Most of the tunnel is wide open, but another portion you will need to get down on all fours and even drag yourself through a tight spot. The mine is not huge, but it is interesting. Take heed in the entire area surrounding the mine as I also discovered a vertical mine shaft that you certainly would not want to stumble into. To explore the vertical shaft you would need climbing gear and you certainly would not want to do that alone.
Exercise, fresh air, expansive vistas, changing landscape, beauty and intrigue, an old cabin, a small waterfall, a spring forming a little oasis in the desert, a spooky old mine what better way to be “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“? Thanks for coming along. Be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE. Checkout the menu above for the many different areas that PBTA ventures to. Each website is not only a separate area in the West, but a individual site and thus each needs to be Followed independently. You will also want to review the fine PBTA adventure wear, which is a great way to help support these sites at SHOP APPAREL.
The hike to the summit of Griffith Peak is a workout right out of the box. There is plenty to look at along the trail: jagged ominous rock cliffs, dramatic views of forest, the surrounding lofty ridge line provides a striking backdrop, there is a cave to wonder about, left over ice which was surprising to me at this time of year, and the sound of rushing water in the distance as it makes it’s way down the canyon, and on the rather sparse summit were gnarled trees standing in defiance against the rugged climate.
Griffith Peak is about an hour from Las Vegas, but there is a world of difference as far as climate and ecosystem. It is about as different as an island is in the ocean. Think of it as an island smack dab in the middle of the desert, it can be referred to as a “Sky Island”. Griffith Peak is near Mount Charleston, which is the mountain that you see from Las Vegas with the snow on it most of the year. This diversity is one thing that makes the Las Vegas Area such a great place for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking and backcountry camping. Much of the year you have great outdoor activities at Red Rock, Lake Meade, Valley of Fire and other fantastic spots and when the weather turns to scorching then head for the mountains of the Mount Charleston area.
The day before my Peak Bagging Buddy, Keith Christensen, and I climbed Arrow Canyon Range High Point. This was day two of a three day Peak Bagging Adventure, and it was a very different type of hike. This one was much higher, with more distance, and at the top- down right chilly especially compared with the desert down below, which was pretty warm even in mid November. I will say that this hike had nice trails with switch backs, and beautiful scenery. It was not the trail blazing with loose rock underfoot like we experienced the day before, so it didn’t seem as difficult in comparison. However, there was no getting around that it was a long ways and a lot of altitude. The time went quickly as we talked a mile a minute all the way up and all the way down. Well, except when my mountaineer friend, fearless as he is, would stand right on an exposed cliff with a long drop and gaze out over the landscape with his toes practically hanging over the edge. “I am not going to have a conversation with you until you step back from the ledge.”
One rather peculiar thing I will mention was although I could certainly feel the altitude it did not bother me as much as when I climbed Mount San Jacinto. When we spoke about this on the summit Keith surprised me by enlightening me that Griffith Peak, the third highest peak in Southern Nevada, is a little higher, (and thus became the highest peak I have climbed). I am not sure why I did not feel the altitude as much. Could it be because we had summited another peak the day before and thus I was becoming climatized or maybe it was just the good company and the constant jabbering had taken my mind off of any struggle?
Another day, another peak, you just gotta luv it! Thanks for joining my Peak Bagging Buddy Keith Christensen and I as we were “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ on Griffith Peak. We have yet another peak to take on- all part of our Peak Bagging 3 Day Adventure as we restore some balance in our lives, just what PBTA is all about. Don’t miss the next exciting episode, and you won’t if you just FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE. Got Gear? SeeSHOP APPAREL . Want other places to explore? See the menu above for the many locations PBTA travels to, each is a separate site and thus needs to be followed independently. If these past couple posts have PEAKED your interested checkout the link in the menu above for my PEAK BAGGING accomplishments, and if you really want to be impressed than look on that site for my “Buddies” and click on Keith Christensen.
I cannot really recommend this trail, as in my opinion it needs a trail crew and the Park Service to work on it. It is a nice area and it is fun to be out in nature here, but apparently the trail has changed. At least this map is not correct. If you follow attached map it starts out a nice, big, easy trail, then it appears that it used to go straight, but now has a log across it. So I followed the trail fork to the right, as it shows on the map, which looks like it dead ends. From there the map shows going on up a small trail that is overgrown and is at times nonexistent. It becomes a very steep mountainside, certainly not easy, that should have switchbacks, again making me think this is not really a hiking trail just that someone had gone this way before.
After I started heading down, I saw on the map I was following, someone started on a trail and then turn around. I followed it beyond that point. It led to a sign that mentioned Echo Trail and it seemed to be different altogether, but still a little strange. So as I said, something is off here and needs some work.
I followed part of the Little Falls Trail and that led uphill to a snowy slope and stream. You have to be careful as the slippery, snowy slope is slanted steeply towards the icy stream, and if that wasn’t enough, the ground must be warmer than the snow above, because there were places that you could break through the snow and there is a gap between the snow and the ground.
As I was painstakingly testing the snow, and making a stable foothold, I spied an Asian man and his 10 year old son. They were on the other side of the stream. The man grabbed his son, threw him over his shoulder and started walking through the ice water. He scampered up the bank and requested, in his best English, for me to please assist him. He relayed his son to me over a treacherous spot so that the son would not slide into the stream, nor fall in the snow hole. Afterwards, they both thanked me profusely.
I tried to inquire if the one foot water drops we were looking at was the waterfall or if there was something spectacular around the corner. Because of the language barrier I was unable to ascertain that information, and I wasn’t sure if he knew anyway. Later I discovered, from a person familiar with the area, if I had only walked in the icy stream for a couple hundred yards or so around a bend or two I would have found a nice proper waterfall.