Monday, February 4, 2013
Hike 2013.004A -- Lost Canyon, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
And, here I was, back in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Partially, it's because this is the quickest and easiest place for me to get to when I'm in Las Vegas. Also, I can use my America the Beautiful Pass, so it feels like I'm getting my money's worth.
On the other hand, it finally occurred to me that I could also use this pass to get into Lake Mead National Recreation Area, so I might try a hike in that park in a few weeks. In the days since this hike, I've researched a couple of possibilities in Lake Mead NRA, although I think at least the one I want to do next is, I think, outside of the fee area.
However, on this Saturday, the plan was to try to link several hikes around Lost Canyon and Icebox Canyon into one moderately long hike. The roughly 3/4 of a mile I hiked in Lost Canyon was the first phase of the day's plan.
Today, I took the "official" way to Red Rock" U.S. 95 north, to Summerlin Parkway. Summerlin Parkway East, to the 215 Beltway. Beltway south, to Charleston Blvd. Charleston Blvd/NV-159 east, to Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive. Once on the Scenic Drive, I drove it about 1/2 way around, to the signed Lost Creek trailhead. That's the first trailhead after you have turned off the Scenic Drive and right, on to the Rocky Gap Road that would take you to the Willow Springs picnic area.
Lost Canyon is quite obvious when you're this close to it. It's a narrow canyon between towering sandstone, which ends in an alcove, at the base of what will be a dry falls most of the time, but an actual waterfall on rare occasions. This was not one of those rare occasions.
En route to the seasonal waterfall, you pass right over a small spring. I believe this spring is perennial. A short boardwalk/bridge allows you to view the spring without trampling the vegetation.
On my return, I bore to the left at a fork in the trail. This took me more northwesterly, past the agave roasting pits. That's basically small caves, where I guess the ancestral Pueblans would have tossed the hearts of agave plants, packed what burning material they could around them, and prepared the agave for consumption.
So I walked past my car, then headed back out on the trail that left the center of the lot. This time, at the fork, I took the one heading to the left (South). This was the SMYC trail, which was sign, but the importance of those letters was not explained. It's a 1.1 mile link between Lost Canyon Trail and Icebox Canyon Trail. Between the connector and the actual Icebox Canyon Trail, and the short segment I took to get to this fork, I'm figuring about 4.75 miles total for Hike 2013.004B (which I'll blog about next). Just .7 or so miles for 2013.004A, which I completed once I was back at the parking lot.