“Let’s go on a hike!”
“Ok! Where should we go?”
This is a common conversation around my house. Here in the Mojave Desert it seems like there is an endless list of hiking trails to explore but, researching and deciding on one ahead of time is often a task neither of us want to do. With this in mind you can imagine that I was quite excited when during a drive through Red Rock Canyon several weeks ago I noticed a most interesting trail head that seemed to lead back to a staggeringly green ravine out towards the rocks. It was marked “FIRST CREEK TRAIL”.
Now, if you’re not familiar with Red Rock Canyon I will try to get you a little up to speed. Red Rock Canyon known as one of the top rock climbing destinations IN THE WORLD is a mere 30 minute ride West of the Strip. For frame of reference if you're REALLY unfamiliar it’s the red hills you see in the distance behind Ceasar’s, The Bellagio, The Mirage, behind the West side of the Strip. One of our major roads Charleston Blvd runs out into the canyon turning into ROUTE 159 and coming out the other side at Blue Diamond Rd. on the south side of town. First Creek trail is about half-way through the drive. Red Rock National Park is off of this road as well, but it is not always necessary to enter the National Park area to enjoy the canyon. This trail is a perfect example of that.
Since the day I first noticed FIRST CREEK we have been there several times and I can say without a doubt it is my new FAVORITE trail.
This is because there is a BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL. Along a small creek running through the desert there lies a cluster of large boulders where the running water drops over a cliff and into a deep pool/ swimming hole. You can view the water fall from the top rocks where the water spills over or from the lower pool.
The waterfall does take a bit of walking to get back to, but it’s not anything crazy and once you’re back there you can keep hiking back along the trail and stopping at the many easily accessible areas to enjoy the creek.
You’ll find it by driving through the canyon on route 159 looking out for the trail head marked by a small sign. The parked cars along the road will usually alert you anytime there is a trail coming up and this is the third in a succession of several trail heads fairly close together.
When you start the trail you’ll walk across the rocks of a dry creek bed and then up a well marked trail. As you get further back the markers will end but there are LOTS of hikers here AND dogs so there is no worry of losing your way. (For more than a couple minutes anyway). Once you spot the first tall pine tree you are in for the real treat as the Joshua trees and cactus desert give way to a water fed oasis of juniper pines, butterflies and SURPRISE(!) a beautiful waterfall. Once you are at the waterfall you can continue to hike the trail that runs alongside the creek stopping to meander creek side under the shade of the trees where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature or just pop a squat on one of the massive rocks and ponder the meaning of life.
You may also observe lots of awesome wildlife. On my last hike I was stunned to see a large Mule Deer doe step out from behind a Joshua Tree and right into the trail to stop and look me. I have also seen jackrabbits, dragged the dog away from tons of lizards, ground squirrels, frogs in the creek and all kinds of colorful birds including the brilliantly blue Woodhouse Scrub Jay. Make sure you tread quietly though. Loud conversation or music will certainly scare any wildlife away from you.
Also why would you play music on a nature walk anyway?
Since discovering this trail we have been back several times, with the water running back there I just can’t get enough and I know that by summer while it will still be gorgeous the beautiful creek will surely dry to a trickle.
This is trail for all levels of hikers and let's face it I'm not the most athletic of people myself so if I can so it so can you. It’s also great walk for kids and dogs although it is quite rocky.
Finally while I love going on hikes, I’m not actually a hiking expert so if you'd like some more specific information head over to The Hiking Guy where I found a great entry on First Creek with REALLY specific trail details, maps and even video of the actual trail.
Video of the waterfall