Tuesday

Bowl of Fire - Summary Page

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Destination: Bowl of Fire.
Distance from Point of Origin: 56 miles.
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: One hour and 30 minutes.
Directions: The location for this hike is northeast of Las Vegas along Northshore Road in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 3 miles and turn right to merge onto US-93/95. Go 12.5 miles and Merge onto NV-564 E/W Lake Mead Pkwy via Exit 61B. Heading east on NV-564 (Lake Mead Blvd) go over the mountains to the park entrance station. Pay the entrance fee ($5 per car or an annual pass), and proceed to the T-intersection with Northshore Road (NV Rt 167) and Lakeshore Road (NV Rt 166). Bear left and drive north on Northshore Road (NV 167) for 18 miles, approximately .2 miles past mile marker 18 (see map below) to a roadside trashcan pullout on the left side of the road; this is the Northshore Road trailhead. The Bowl of Fire is to the northwest, but your view is blocked by a low ridge immediately northwest of the pullout.  Note: Along the way, at Mile Marker 16 (see map below), you can also take the unpaved Callville Wash North Road (Road 94) starts up Callville Wash. In a 4WD vehicle, drive up the sandy Road 94 for about 1.8 miles*. Avoid places where you see that other drivers were stuck in the sand. The road passes to the south of a small mountain that is capped with wildly-folded sedimentary layers, and shortly arrives at the mouth of a large wash that comes in from the north. This is just past the first place in the wash where you can look north and see red sandstone outcrops. Stop at the mouth of this side-wash and Park here; this is the Road 94 trailhead. *With all its twists and turns this ends up being nearly twice as long as the “as the crow flies” distance of 1.8 miles.
General Description: Located within the boundaries of the Lake Mead NRA, the Bowl of Fire also lies within the 48,000-acre Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area. Similar to the Valley of Fire, this is an area of brilliant-red Jurassic-Age sandstone outcrops surrounded by gray limestone mountains. Most of the Aztec sandstone in the Bowl of Fire is dark red and heavily eroded, with less common outcrops in paler shades of yellow, pink and orange. Similar also are its many formations with small arches, bowl-shaped cavities, petrified dunes and small pinnacles. The dark pink sandstone is most common and generally forms the uppermost parts of the region, though there is a line of red cliffs that rises higher to the northeast. These outcrops are separated by open land of sand dunes and dry washes, some of which are lined by patches of very nice, smooth, banded sandstone.
Geologic History: Despite the name, fire had nothing to do with the area's formation. These petrified sand dunes are from the age of the dinosaurs, between 65 million and 250 million years ago. Oxidized iron in the rock, locally called Aztec sandstone, create the vast array of bright reds and oranges that you see. The lighter buff-colored limestone rock, which in some places was pushed up by 'thrust faulting', dates back to 500 million years.
Special Attraction or Points of Interest: Though difficult to find, looking for and finding interesting formations, similar to some of those found at Valley of Fire such ‘Elephant Rock’, can make for some nice picture taking. Generally speaking, it is a just a place to wander amongst a wonderland of jumbled piles of red sandstone; a place to go and just hike about with no particular destination. Sparse vegetation includes the occasional large barrel cacti (ferocactus acanthodes), the very spiny cotton top cactus (echinocactus polycephalus), the spineless beavertail (opuntia basilaris) plus a small selection of flowers and shrubs, including the brightly colored indigo bush (mostly visible in the spring).
Primary Activity: Hiking.
Secondary Activities: Photographing and Rock-hounding.

Elevation: 2,000 – 2,300 feet
Best Time To Visit: Available for visitation and hiking year round, the best time to make this hike would be in the cooler months of Fall, Winter and Spring.
Difficulty: With an elevation gain of between 200 and 400 feet, depending upon where you go, this is a moderate hike as long as you stay in the washes and on the trails and in the washes that dissect the sandstone outcrops. However, hiking up some of the outcrops can be inviting; so if you decide to climb on the rocks be sure to watch your step.
Facilities: None.
Estimated Round-trip Time: Six hours or more depending upon whether you have a 4WD vehicle and how much hiking you have to do.
More info on the Redstone Loop Trail: Bowl of Fire

(Fig. 02)

05/17/2016 Trip Notes: Today I made my third visit to the Bowl of Fire. On this hike I was accompanied by Blake Smith, Bob Croke and Ron Ziance. The weather was so threatening that we almost cancelled this hike. Unfortunately, even though it never did rain, the dismal overcast prevented us from obtaining any really good pictures. We started today's hike, the yellow line in (Fig. 02), at the trailhead located at the 18.2 mile marker on Northshore Drive. After reading about and viewing pictures of previous hikes to this location below, click the following link to view this new page ... Bowl of Fire - Trip Notes for 05/17/2016.

05/08/2013 Trip Notes: Today the rock-hounds from the Henderson’s Heritage Park Senior Facility made another visit to the MM16 area along Lake Mead's Northshore Drive. While most hiked to the Anniversary Narrows, Harvey Smith and I hiked to the Bowl of Fire. Because I had so many pictures for this hike, I created a separate update page. After reading about and viewing pictures of our first hike to this location on this page, click the following link to view this new page ... Bowl of Fire - Trip Notes for 05/08/2013.

04/16/2012 Trip Notes: I took this hike with my fellow hiking friend Harvey Smith. To cut down on hiking time, we drove his 4WD truck up the Callville Wash. Because the base of the wash is 25-50 feet below the plateau above, it is very hard to determine where you are at any point in time. As a result, we actually drove more than a mile beyond what we had predetermined to be the starting point of our hike. Though we had a great day and got some beautiful pictures, further research has shown that had we gone further up the wash we may have actually gotten to an even more spectacular area. (Click on and enlarge the Google Earth shot below) Looks like we may have to make a return trip on another day.
                                   
Bowl of Fire Google Earth Map
                                     
Below are just a handful of the many beautiful shots we captured on this hike. The top shot was taken looking due west through a natural arch we found in one of the several red sandstone monoliths scattered throughout the valley. The wide view in the middle picture was taken looking due east in the opposite direction. As you can tell from this picture and the bottom two, the valley floor is quite uneven and crisscrossed with a series of rough, craggily, wash-like gullies.
                                   
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As many of you know, I’m always looking for rock structures that strike my imagination and show a resemblance to some other type of know thing. Upon first glance of the light colored sandstone outcrop in the center of the picture below, I immediately recognized the long ‘snout’ of a crocodile, leading back up to the ‘bump’ of its brow and eyeball socket. OK, maybe it’s just me.
                            
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Though there was not an abundance of wild flowers on todays hike, between the wash and here we did come across a couple that were worth capturing. Unfortunately, the beavertail cacti, thought showing signs of starting, were not quite yet in bloom. Below is a grouping of some shots of wild flowers and Harvey and myself enjoying the beautiful views this area provided.
                                   
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If you click this last picture to enlarge and look closely, you will be able to see a sliver of Lake Mead in off in the distance near the center of the photo with its commonly recognized ‘white bathtub ring’.
                         
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Slideshow Description: The slideshow above contains 35 pictures that were taken at the Bowl of Fire.