By Tom Pfaendler
Pop a cork and pour champagne on this issue of The Desert Trumpet to welcome “Boot Tracks”, a monthly look at trails in and around Red Rock Canyon. This month’s subject, The Arnight Loop Trail is really comprised of the Arnight Trail, the Knoll Trail and the North Oak Creek Canyon Trail.
Finding the trail head is easy; just drive about twelve miles around the loop, then take that last bumpy dirt road on the right marked Oak Creek Canyon, and follow it to the parking area. The Arnight trail head is to the north and is well marked. The sign gives this route a difficulty rating of “moderate”, although it’s really somewhat easier than that. It reminds me of the Children’s Discovery Trail, only longer.
The Arnight Trail is built for two, plenty wide with a natural tread that’s not too rocky. There are some nice sandy washes and the grade is an easy 7% so you’ll hardly break a sweat over its 1.6-mile length.
The second and longest leg is the Knoll Trail, which is probably more deserving of the “moderate” rating. The path narrows and is rockier with some grades to 15%. I would still recommend it even to beginning hikers because the trail winds through some heavy vegetation and deeper washes to top out around 300 feet above the parking area. The panoramic view from the top of the rock staircase is really nice and makes a good photo spot. Total length of The Knoll Trail is marked as 1.9 miles.
The last leg of this loop is the North Oak Creek Canyon Trail. If you feel like taking a little side trip, turn right (west) and hike into Oak Creek Canyon; it’s stunningly beautiful. Otherwise turn left for a quick one-mile descent down the old rocky jeep trail back to the parking lot.
The Arnight Loop Trail is one of those wonderful garden areas at Red Rock. At every turn there are new and more beautiful groupings of rocks and cacti. A plethora of Mojave Desert plants are represented along this path. Be sure to allow enough time to enjoy the walk and take in the quiet beauty. Since there isn’t much shelter on this trail, I recommend that you go early in the day, wear a hat, take your camera and of course lots of water. I like the Arnight Loop Trail. While it doesn’t have the jaw dropping beauty of Ice Box Canyon or the sporty fun of the Calico Tank, it does provide a fairly easy and very interesting morning stroll through the desert.
I would give it a rating of five boots (out of ten).
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