Tuesday

Blue Diamond Hill Trails

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(Fig. 01)
Blue Diamond Trails A-Blue Diamond Trails B
(Fig. 02)
Directions - Blue Diamond Trails


Description: Blue Diamond Hill is located within the boundaries of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, outside the fee area, east of SR-159. It is covered with dozens of mountain bike trails and horse trails that provide many miles of relatively easy hiking. The trails on the northern end of Blue Diamond Hill provide great views of the Wilson Cliffs across the valley to the west, the La Madre Mountain Range to the north, and if you make it all the way to the “Viewpoint” on the eastern edge, views of the Las Vegas valley far below. The parking area for the Cowboy Trail Rides (horseback riding and stable area) also serves as the main trailhead to more than a dozen moderate to strenuous hiking trails, some of which have a one-way distance of more than three miles. The three primary trailheads are the Fossil Trail, Rock Garden Trail and the Fossil Canyon trails. Each of these trails lead to other trails such as the Cave Canyon Trail, Cat-N-Hat Trail, First Finger Trail, Second Finger Trail, To-The-Top Trail, Ridge Ride Trail, Bone Shaker Trail and others.
           
Fossil Trail: Starting at the main trailhead (Fig. 02), this trail runs south to sweep around and climb onto the west side of Blue Diamond Hill. The trail eventually climbs onto Fossil Ridge and runs up the ridge overlooking Fossil Canyon until the ridge and the canyon merge. It is about 1.04 miles to the junction of the Cat-N-Hat trail and about 1.25 miles to the junction of the Rock Garden Trail. The trail eventually ends at what is know as the old “Jeep Trail”, about 2.28 miles from the trailhead. This trail provides great views of the Wilson Cliffs across the valley to the west and the La Madre Mountain Range to the north.

Rock Garden Trail. Starting from the main trailhead (Fig. 02), the Rock Garden Trail is the middle trail and climbs steeply up onto the toe of Fossil Ridge. It then runs out along the top of the ridge for 1.1 miles, where it eventually connects with the Fossil Trail. This trail is loaded with cactus and provides some great overlooks down into Fossil Canyon as well as grand views of the mountains to the west.

Fossil Canyon Trail. Again, starting at the trailhead, this hike makes for a nice, mostly off-trail hike up Fossil Canyon, the west-most of the major canyons. Follow the main road about 200 yards to the first set of cowboy corrals and continue walking the road until you reach the second set of corrals located at the end of the dirt road, just inside the canyon  Just past the end of the road and corrals, the wide trail drops into the wash and crosses to the other side, and begins heading up the canyon. Several hundred yards up the canyon splits (Fig. 02). The wide trail curves left and goes east and up into Cave Canyon. A smaller faint use-trail forks off to the right and runs south into Fossil Canyon. This use-trail drops into the wash from time to time, crosses to the east side, scrambles up little cliffs and pour-overs, as it heads to the top of the canyon where, at about 1.70 miles, it eventually intersects with the Fossil Trail. The hiking becomes a little tricky as you climb toward the top of the canyon. True to the name, the route offers opportunities for finding a variety of seabed fossils such as coral, sponges, brachiopods, and scallops.



02/06/2014 Trip Notes: This latest visit was my second trip to the Blue Diamond Hill Trails with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Senior Facility. On this stop I announced that I was going to attempt the Muffin Trail to Muffin Rocks at the top of the ridge that faces the parking lot. Click here for pictures and info on this hike ... Blue Diamond Hill Trails - Muffin Rocks.


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(Fig. 03)
10/17/2013 Trip Notes: After announcing that I was going to hike up the more difficult Fossil Canyon Trail, I got four other adventurers (Fig. 03) who decided to attempt it with me. The remainder of the group went back to the main trailhead and hiked the Fossil and Rock Garden trails. The elevation at the main trailhead is 3,707 feet. The first part of the hike proved to be fairly easy and provided some nice views looking back towards our starting point (Fig. 04), as well as several boulders that contained a variety of seabed fossils such as the sponges in (Fig. 05). However, as we continued up this use trail, the canyon narrowed and required some scrambling (Fig. 06) over and around some rather large boulders. It become more and more obvious that this trail was less travelled the the others. The views (Fig. 07) however, were still outstanding. Rather than climb all the way to the top of the canyon, we decided to take a rather steep shortcut up the side of the canyon to a spot on the Rock Garden Trail (Fig. 02). By the time we reached this spot I was thinking that maybe my fellow hiking partners wished that had taken an easier trail. The elevation here was 4,098 feet, meaning that we had climbed up roughly 400 feet. Deciding to take the easy way back, we then followed this trail south until it intersected with the Fossil Trail. When we reached the intersection we encountered a group of horseback riders (Fig. 08) that had just come up the Fossil Trail and were about to head down the Rock Garden Trail on their way back to the corral. Taking our time on the 1.5 mile hike back (Fig. 09) we took the time to enjoy the desert landscape around us (Fig., 10), look for more fossils (Fig. 11), and soak in the remaining views (Figs. 1 & 12) before reaching the trailhead.
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(Fig. 04)
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(Fig. 05)
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(Fig. 06)
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(Fig. 07)
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(Fig. 08)
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(Fig. 09)
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(Fig. 10)
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(Fig. 11)
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(Fig. 12)