Hiking Pine Creek Canyon Trail at Red Rock Canyon
The Pine Creek Canyon trail in Red Rock Canyon is popular among hikers and climbers because of its diversity. It gives you a little taste of everything from desert hiking, to pine forests, and boulder scrambling.
You can also run into water trickling over and around the boulders in the wash depending on the time of year and how far you decide to go into the canyon. The scrambling sections aren’t very difficult so it’s a great trail for those with little or no experience with boulder scrambling.
How to Get to Pine Creek Canyon Trail
To get to the trail just drive to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on State Highway 159 and pull into the scenic drive. You will drive about 10 miles around the loop until you come to the Pine Creek parking area.
Hiking Pine Creek Canyon Trail
The trail starts right from the parking lot. Immediately you will travel down a hill into a wash and back up to the desert floor. It’s almost a mile hike before you get to the entrance of the canyon and along the way, you will see a couple of other trails intersecting the Pine Creek trail.
Just continue straight and pass the foundation from an old settler home. As you approach the canyon the trail will come to a fork, the path that continues mostly straight is for Pine Creek Canyon. The path that goes to the right is for Fern Canyon.
After you pass the fork you have the option of continuing on one of the many interweaving paths through the brush or dropping down into the wash. If you decide to continue through the brush be sure you are wearing pants otherwise you might end up with about 20 cactus needles in your leg as I did. Lesson learned!
Eventually, you will end up in the wash anyways as the canyon narrows. This is where the hike becomes fun as you work your way around and over large boulders and fallen trees. On this trip, we were lucky enough to see four big-horned sheep watching us from a ledge about 30 feet above us.
Because we were hiking this trail in mid-August it took us about 1.5 miles before we ran into the pools of water that collect in the wash. This is a good place to stop and take a break if you need it as there is plenty of shade. Depending on how high the water is if you can navigate around the pools of water continue up the wash for some terrific scenery.
There are some large boulders that you can make your way up to get an excellent view of the canyon. We stopped about 100 yards after the pools of water because the obstacles were becoming more formidable. Wherever you decide to stop, just retrace your steps back to the parking lot.
For me, the first half of this hike was kind of blah but once you get into the canyon the experience is worth it. Seeing the canyon walls tower over you several hundred feet is quite the sight.
Altogether we traveled almost 4 miles in a little over 3 hours hiking up the canyon and back. Just remember to bring plenty of water with you and dress appropriately.
About The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Just 20 miles from the Las Vegas strip you will find Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern Nevada. The area is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its breathtaking red rock formations and mountain views.
In addition to its 26 hiking trails, visitors to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area can also enjoy the 13 mile scenic drive with its many pull-offs and secluded picnic areas.
Just outside Red Rock Canyon visitors can also find opportunities for mountain biking and horseback riding. There are also some amazing hiking trails that can be accessed without paying an entrance fee.