Location: Red Rock Canyon – Scenic Loop Drive (*Fee)
Distance: 3 miles + (one way)
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Water Availability: Seasonally
Getting There: Located west of Las Vegas, taking the Bruce Woodbury Beltway West (215) to Charleston Blvd and Continue west for __ miles. As you enter into Red Rock Canyon, Keystone Thrust Fault is the biggest eye catcher in the scenery. Take Scenic Loop Drive about 11 miles to Pine Creek trailhead. Scenic Loop Drive is only 13 miles long so be sure to make some stops along the way to get some great photo opportunities. Along the Keystone Thrust fault you see amazing contrast between the grey and red sandstones, also the views of the valley floor are breathtaking at just about any time of day.
The Hike: The hike starts off down a steep incline to a level valley floor, you see a creek bed on your left flowing out of the canyon you may or may not enter (Creek is seasonal). As you near the creek you pass a fire ecology trail along with a natural meadow, you see evidence of where a homestead structure once stood. Along this stretch before we actually get into the creek beds The abundance of wildlife is mind blowing, including burro’s, bighorn’s, desert jackrabbits, and many bird varieties. The trail continues to cross the creek bed and follow a high ridge, some like to follow the creek bed as the trail during the dry season. Bouldering in the creek bed is challenging and fun so watch your footing, no one really likes to see search and rescue. I am not really sure where this trail ends but I have hiked this trail 7 times to date (within 1 years time frame) and have only made it back about 4 miles before deciding it was time to get back to the vehicle.
I would have to say this is a favorite hike of mine in Red Rock canyon because of the versatility that this trail offers. Coming from the desert landscape into a green forest of pine, overlooking a green meadow seems to take my soul back to a place that only nature can bring. Then to get the blood flowing with some easy to moderate bouldering through a creek bed, seasonally with waterfalls and ever-changing ecology makes this my top rated group hike in Red Rock Canyon.
When you get to a point to where you feel you need to turn around (keep an eye on how much daylight you have left) do just that and come back the way you came in. Be sure to follow the leave no trace guidelines and help keep this land as beautiful as we possibly can. The park has good maintenance but they can not do it all themselves, we must all do our part to keep this landscape.
*Fee access to Scenic Loop Drive:
$5.00 Day Pass
$20.00 Annual Park Pass