Scott and Ariane December 10, 2008 7

Grand Circle Trail – Red Rock Canyon

Did you know that Las Vegas Nevada has some of the best hikes, and backpacking trails in the Southwest? The Grand Circle Trail in the Red Rock Canyon offers some of the most breathtaking views in the area, and it’s only 15 miles West of the Strip.

Red Rock Canyon is a National Conservation Area and is a protected Wilderness. It’s over 193,000 acres of beautiful vistas and mountain scenery that will bring Mountain Climbers as well as Day Hikers to this area. The landscapes are a complex deposits of oxidized minerals that make up the “Red Rocks”.

The Grand Circle Trail is a 11.7 loop trail that will take you approximately 5-6 hours to hike. Do not under estimate the amount of water you will need for this hike. You are still in the Mojave Desert and it gets hot and dry. I hiked this in December and it was 63 Degrees. The Grand Circle trail will take you in and around the Canyon and offers some spectacular views. In fact, this trail offers up some history. About a mile into the trail and you will see Pictographs (painted images) and Petroglyphs (images pecked into the stone) from Southern Paiute culture that thrived in the Canyon some time around 1,000 AD.

You can check in at the Vistors Center and leave your car in the Parking Lot. From there, the Grand Circle Trail is in walking distance. Advise: Leave early. The GCT will take you longer than you expect. In the Summer time, this trail could be brutal. Be prepared. There are maps and good advise from the Rangers that are in the Vistors Center.

The trail starts out along the scenic drive and parallels the trail for awhle. You will cross two parking lots within the first 2 miles. After that, it’s all you. There are a two more pit stops along the way. At one time during the hike, it almost seems like you will never get back to the trailhead, you will, don’t panic. When they say it’s a “Grand” circle, they are not kidding. It’s a big loop.

This is a great trail to explore and just enjoy. Take your camera, because you are going to be very angry if you don’t. Photo opps everwhere.

So next time you are losing at the slots. Remember, a good hike is only a few minutes away, and it’s well worth leaving the tables for it. See you on the Trail.