Children’s Discovery Trail Not Just for Kids

Don’t let the name Children’s Discovery Trail lull you into thinking this is a trail meant only for kids. This is one of the most diverse trails in Red Rock Canyon and lets the hiker see some very different things.

From the parking area, take the trail that is farthest from the bathrooms. This will give you a nice loop of about 3/4 of a mile. There will be some uneven ground and you will hike over some good-sized rocks. The trail ascends gently until you get near the base of the cliffs. It then twists back and forth through some scrub oak and there are some rock steps.

On the way, at marker #4, there is a fenced area. If you look on the upper left side of the sandstone, you may be able to see the pictographs left by Native Americans. Depending on the light, they can be difficult to find.

From here, the trail winds near some large sandstone boulders. Eventually, you come to a place
where the trail turns left to go back to the parking lot. You can also turn right and go to the grotto. The grotto is the area where the seasonal waterfall is located. The trail here is easy to follow.

There is a series of rock steps. Be careful with these. With the fine sand that erodes from the sandstone cliffs, the steps can be very slippery. Eventually, you’ll make your way into the grotto.

It’s a cool spot to have a snack, and it is special when we’ve had rain or snow melt and
there is some water coming down the falls.

Retrace your steps to the turnoff you took, stay to the right and head back to your car. On the
way, you’ll come to the boardwalk that was built by Friends of Red Rock Canyon to protect the riparian nature of Lost Creek. There’s an interpretive marker that’s a must read and you can see Lost Creek.

Why is it Lost Creek?

For a short distance, this underground stream comes above ground. It then disappears again—hence Lost Creek.

After the boardwalk area, you’ll soon be crossing the gravel wash and you’ll be back at the
parking area.

This is a relatively easy hike but understand that all hikes in Red Rock Canyon cover ground that is
uneven and rocky. Hiking shoes/boots are highly recommended and make sure you have water with you.

Disclaimer Of Liability:

With respect to images, data, and narrative posted at this website, Friends of Red Rock Canyon makes no warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Friends of Red Rock Canyon shall not be liable in any way for loss or damage, of any kind, to you, or any other person, for any inaccuracy, error, omission, or delay in any information posted or otherwise transmitted over this website.

While the website tries to accurately describe places and routes, conditions change over time and sometimes mistakes are made. If something posted on this site seems wrong, assume it is wrong and tell us that it needs to be fixed. Wildlands are inherently dangerous — always rely on your own good judgment. You are responsible for your own safety.

 

Take a Hike – Potato Knoll

By Norm Kresge

Potato Knoll is a hike of about 4.5 miles round trip. It’s not a standard out-and-back hike but one that goes to the base of the Potato Knoll, loops around the knoll, and then returns on the same trail to the parking area.

There are a couple of ways to do this hike. The best way is to park along SR 159 at the first dirt parking area past the exit from the Scenic Drive (about ¼ mile past the exit). The trail heads toward the knoll — the Potato Knoll that is sometimes called Wilson’s Pimple.

The first part of the hike is on an old road. About ¾ of a mile out as you head toward Oak Creek, the trail forks to the left. Follow this fork as you hike across the fl at part of this area and then down some steps that bring you to Oak Creek.

There may be water depending on the time of year. After crossing the creek, the trail continues until you come to a large juniper tree where the trail meets another one. Follow the trail to the right and it will bring you around to an area where you’ll have some elevation gain and some rocky going.

Along this part, you’ll pass the remnants of a wooden sled that was used to haul sandstone out of the area when there was a quarrying operation here.  A little later, you’ll pass some petrified wood off the trail on your right side at the crest of this uphill section. For the next part of the hike, you’ll be going along the base of the knoll and the terrain is flat.

When you get to the far side of the knoll, you head to the right as you meet the Oak Creek Trail that comes in from the highway. Keep right and you have a short rise to hike up. In this area, you can see the remnants of a concrete entryway for Rhea’s Quarry operation.  If you’re interested, you can read more about this quarrying in Seekers, Saints & Scoundrels: The
Colorful Characters of Red Rock Canyon.

When you reach the high point on this side of the knoll, you’re at a place that’s good to take a break and have a snack.

In front of you is a view of Oak Creek Canyon and the area has a lot of juniper and some pine. Continuing on the trail, you’ll see it fork to the right. Take that right turn and follow it and you’ll join a trail that comes from Oak Creek. Stay to your right and keep going around the knoll.

You will cross Oak Creek two or three times. This part of the creek is more likely to have water in the spring. After another mile or so, you come back to that juniper tree you saw when you came to the trail junctions. Turn left here and this will bring you back to the old road where you make a right and head back to your car.

This is a cooler weather hike with some shade at the snack area. Remember to take enough water.

Hiking boots are best for this trail although I’ve seen people hike it in sneakers.

One of the bonuses of this hike is you don’t have to drive the Scenic Drive after you’re done to get back to Las Vegas. It’s also a less used trail and you’re not as likely to see many other people.

Happy Hiking!

Disclaimer Of Liability:

With respect to images, data, and narrative posted at this website, Friends of Red Rock Canyon makes no warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Friends of Red Rock Canyon shall not be liable in any way for loss or damage, of any kind, to you, or any other person, for any inaccuracy, error, omission, or delay in any information posted or otherwise transmitted over this website.

While the website tries to accurately describe places and routes, conditions change over time and sometimes mistakes are made. If something posted on this site seems wrong, assume it is wrong and tell us that it needs to be fixed. Wildlands are inherently dangerous — always rely on your own good judgment. You are responsible for your own safety.

Take a Hike – Half Wilson Trail

By Norm Kresge

If you’re looking for a four-mile-loop hike that is relatively easy, Half Wilson Trail is just the hike for you. The trail head is along Calico Basin Road. The trail is for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding and I’ve seen all three on the trail.

Starting from the trail head, there are two options—one is to go up the hill almost straight ahead. The easier way is to take the trail that goes off to the right and then up a gradual incline to the top of the ridge. The trail continues, descending to a wash below.

Here you’ll meet a trail coming from the left. Stay to the right and follow the trail along a ridge called Peak 3844. The name of this ridge is simply the elevation. There is a wide variety of desert   flora including cholla, yucca, black brush and creosote bushes.

As you round Peak 3844, there will be an option for a side trip. If you follow the trail that goes to the right across the wash, it will ascend a short section. From the top of that ridge, you’ll have a view of Las Vegas in the distance. Return the same way you came and rejoin the Half Wilson Trail when you get back to the wash.

The trail crosses the power line road that goes into Calico Basin but don’t follow the road. If you watch, you’ll see the trail follow the west side of Peak 3844. The trail rises gently for most of the way, but there are a couple of less gentle hills to ascend before the last one that brings you back to your car.

Besides the desert plants, especially nice in the spring when the yucca are blooming and there are some desert marigolds, you will have good views of the escarpment at Red Rock Canyon, Calico Basin, Gateway Canyon and Kraft Mountain.

The easy nature of this loop makes it a perfect place to hike with the less experienced person or someone who doesn’t want to be challenged too much. As a side note, I didn’t know this trail had an official name. If you look on Google Maps, you can see the trail and plan your route.

Getting to the trailhead:

Follow SR 159, Charleston Boulevard, toward Red Rock Canyon and turn right onto Calico Basin Road. In about 1/3 mile, you’ll come to a wash. Park on the right side. There is ample parking. You’ll know you’re at the trail head when you see a large boulder and a Carsonite sign that says Area Closed to motorized vehicles.

Happy hiking!

Disclaimer Of Liability:

With respect to images, data, and narrative posted at this website, Friends of Red Rock Canyon makes no warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Friends of Red Rock Canyon shall not be liable in any way for loss or damage, of any kind, to you, or any other person, for any inaccuracy, error, omission, or delay in any information posted or otherwise transmitted over this website.

While the website tries to accurately describe places and routes, conditions change over time and sometimes mistakes are made. If something posted on this site seems wrong, assume it is wrong and tell us that it needs to be fixed. Wildlands are inherently dangerous — always rely on your own good judgment. You are responsible for your own safety.