Tuesday

Oak Creek & Wilson's Pimple Loop Trail - RRCNCA

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(Fig. 01)

Destination: Oak Creek/Wilson's Pimple Loop Hike
Distance from Point of Origin27 miles..
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time35-40 minutes.
Directions: From the Stratosphere Casino, take a right onto Las Vegas Blvd south (the Strip) to Sahara Ave. Turn right onto West Sahara Ave (NV-589) and continue to follow W. Sahara Ave for 10 miles until it turns into Desert Foothills Drive. Continue on for about 4.5 miles and turn left onto NV-159 W. Charleston Blvd. Continue to follow West Charleston Blvd NV-159 (which becomes aka Blue Diamond Road) west for about 9 miles and turn right to the trailhead and parking area (Fig. 02). Note: The trailhead can be reached from the south by driving west on Hwy 160 (Pahrump Highway) to Highway 159 (Blue Diamond Road). Turn right onto Highway 159 and drive north for about 7 miles, passing the entrance to Spring Mountain Ranch and the trailhead for First Creek. The next parking area on the left is the trailhead for Wilson's Pimple Peak hike.
                      
Area Description: From the hike's trailhead located on the west side of West Charleston Blvd, this pleasant 3.5-mile R/T hike crosses Red Rock Valley to the base of Mt. Wilson and back. As this hike runs across the desert valley floor, it transverses a variety of desert habitats (including Blackbrush Flats, typical Mojave Desert Scrub, and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland).
Special Attraction or Point of Interest: Hiking to the top of the peak. It is reached using an old mining road and a steep use-trail. From the peak, there are grand views that spread out across the vast expanse of Red Rock Valley. Facing west is the towering east face of Mt. Wilson and Rainbow Mountain. Mt. Wilson is so close, it almost feels like you can reach out and touch it. In summary, Wilson's Pimple Peak provides a surprisingly scenic view for such a low summit.
Primary Activity: Hiking, Birding and Photography.
Secondary Activities: None.

Elevation:  The elevation at the hike trailhead is 3,739. The elevation at Wilson's Saddle is 4,152, a gain of 413 feet. From the saddle to the summit of Wilson's Peak, elevation 4,390, is another climb of 238 feet, for a total hike elevation gain of 651 feet.
Best Time To Visit: Fall, Winter and Spring.
Hike DescriptionThe Wilson's Pimple Loop Trail runs north and then west, eventually running up a canyon along the base of Wilson's Pimple and climbing onto a spot known as the Wilson Saddle. Once you reach the saddle you can take a .04 mile detour to the top of Wilson's Pimple Peak or continue the hike that runs around the back of Wilson's Pimple (aka Potato Knoll) to Oak Creek. It the follows the Riparian Woodland downstream along the far side of Wilson's Pimple, and finally loops back across desert flats back to the trailhead (Fig.02).
Difficulty
: The majority of the trail across Red Rock Valley is relative easy. However, the climb to the summit and the hike around the "pimple" can be considered moderate..
Facilities: None
Estimated Round-trip Time: The complete round-trip hike, including the hike up and down to the peak, is about 4.3 miles and will take about 2.5 hours, depending upon how much time you want to spend taking pictures and enjoying the solitude and beauty of the surrounding area.


(Fig. 02)









12/22/2015 Trip NotesThis past week, Blake Smith, Robert Croke and I decided to drive out to Red Rock Canyon to hike the Oak Creek trail to Wilson's Pimple (Fig. 02). Even though the weather was discouraging, cloudy and windy, we still managed to have a good hike. The picture in (Fig. 01) was taken from the parking area at the Trailhead. The tan hill in the center, between the two cacti, is Wilson's Pimple. After walking through a barbed-wire fence, you walk down an old road towards and area that was the original Red Rock Campground. You then come to a heavy metal gate at the end of the Red Rock Wash. Looking left and right at the wash you can see a lot of desert willow and shrub life oak and other vegetation that provides a good habitat for desert birds. From here the narrow old road is quite rock in places as it runs northwest across the desert flats. About halfway out, the picture (Fig.03) of Bob and Blake was looking back toward the trailhead with the Blue Diamond Hills in the background. The vegetation through this area is filled with Blackbrush, Buckhorn Cholla, plus some Mojave Yucca and Joshua Trees. As we hike some more, Willson's Pimple began to  loom larger as it stood at the base of Mt. Wilson (left) and Rainbow Mountain (right). Eventually you reach a fork in the rocky old dirt road. Here turn left and follow the narrow dirt road up a hillsideKeep staying left up an open canyon on the south side of Wilson's Pimple until you reach the top of the Wilson's Saddle (Fig. 05). On the right you can see the start of the .4 mile trail that begins its 238-foot accent up to the top of the hill (Fig. 02). Unfortunately, it was so windy when we got here, we decided that there was no way we were going to attempt it on this visit. Now that we were now higher in the canyon, the vegetation began to change, with more Utah Juniper, Cliffrose, and Mojave Yucca becoming more common. From here we decided to continue to follow the loop trail down into the valley towards Ash Creek and around Wilson's Pimple. (con't below)
  
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)










(Fig. 05)























Notes con't: The next picture (Fig.06) was taken looking east, back at the trail that led up to the saddle with the Blue Diamond Hills in the distance.  From Wilson's Saddle, the trail began to descend rapidly towards Oak Creek (Fig. 07). You can see Bob leading the way in front of Blake and myself (Fig. 08).  The view in (Fig.09) was looking back up the trail towards the saddle. Reaching a halfway point around the 'Pimple', we got a nice view looking north toward the Calico Hills of Red Rock Canyon (Fig. 10). At the bottom of the ravine the trail split; to the left and up into Oak Creek Canyon, and right down toward the creek. After a short distance we found a nice big flat boulder (Fig. 11) where we stopped to enjoyed a picnic lunch with a great view (Fig 12). Just a few hundred feet beyond this spot we crossed the creek for the first time. After hiking uphill from the creek for several hundred yards on the north side of the creek, the trail then started to descend once again down to the creek where we had to cross over to the south side once again. See the pictures in the collage in (Fig. 13). We were all amazed at how much water there was in the creek this time of year. We would all love to hike this again in the spring after the winter snow melts. There is so much vegetation here, we are sure that the area surrounding the creek would be abundance with spring blossoms and wild flowers. Once back on the south side of the creek, we followed the loop trail along the base of Wilson's Pimple through the heavy vegetation (Fig. 14) and then another old dirt road that ran southeast out across the valley floor back to the trailhead (Fig. 15). Except for the winds, it was a great day with many outstanding mountain views (Fig. 16).


(Fig. 06)



(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)

(Fig. 12)

 
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
(Fig. 15)
(Fig. 16)