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Duck Rock Hike in Valley of Fire

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This page last updated on 06/15/2017
(Fig. 01)
Destination: Duck Rock Hike in Valley of Fire
Distance from Point of Origin: 57 miles.
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: 1 hr and 10 minutes.
Directions: From the Stratosphere, turn right onto Las Vegas Blvd south. Go a little over a mile and turn right onto W. Sahara Ave. Go 1.2 miles and reverse direction by making a U-turn to head back east on W. Sahara Ave. Go .5 miles and turn left to merge onto 1-15 via the ramp on the left toward Salt Lake City. Travel about 35 miles and take Exit 75 toward Valley of Fire/Lake Mead. Turn right onto NV-169/Valley of Fire Road/Valley of Fire Hwy. There is a Piaute Indian Reservation Tobacco Shop and small casino at that exit that makes a great pit stop. Drive east on Route 169 for approximately 15 miles. This takes you to the west entrance of the Valley of Fire. From the west entrance of Valley of Fire, drive 3.7 miles along the main park road. Turn left when you see signs for the Visitor’s Center, Mouse’s Tank, Rainbow Vista, and White Domes. Pass the Visitor’s Center (on your right), stay left and go 5 miles to the unmarked Duck Rock trailhead on the right, about a mile before reaching the White Domes parking lot.

Area Description: This entire area is a remote section in the north most portion of Valley of Fire State Park that is not accessible by way of marked or developed trails. It is crossed by numerous washes and a few old abandoned dirt roads. There are many impressive red sandstone formations scattered throughout the entire area.
Special Attraction or Points of Interest: Following the trail shown in (Fig. 02) you come to a sandstone area with a dozen petroglyph elements. About another three quarters of a mile past this spot you come to a sandstone formation that looks like a 'duck'.
Primary Activity: Hiking and Photography
Secondary Activities: None.

Elevation: Elevation at the trailhead is about 1,950 feet. Through the length of the hike it courses up and down roughly 150 feet as you climb into and out of various washes.
Best Time To Visit: Fall, Winter and Spring.
Hike Description: The Duck Rock Loop is an unmarked, off-trail route, which primarily follows washes and old roads. This somewhat strenuous, 2.65-mile loop provides the unique opportunity to see a remote area of Valley of Fire State Park that is not accessible by way of marked or developed trails. The route will pass by a petroglyph gallery, “Duck Rock” and other numerous impressive red sandstone formations.
Difficulty
: Easy hiking in the sandy wash areas with some moderate to difficult scrambling up and down the sides of the washes.
Facilities: None
Estimated Round-trip Time: To complete the round-trip hike is less than 2 hours. 

(Fig. 02)

01/18/2016 Trip NotesOn this visit Robert Croke, Ron Ziance, Blake Smith and myself headed out to the Valley of Fire state park for another hike of the Duck Rock Trail. This time we reversed the direction of the hike. We headed out on the old two track dirt road toward duck rock. Click here for pictures and description of this hike ... Trip Notes for 01/18/2016 (Duck Rock Trail).
(Fig. 03)
01/01/2016 Trip Notes: On the early 40-degree morning of new year's day, Robert Croke, Ron Ziance, and myself headed out to the Valley of Fire state park for a guided hike of the Duck Rock Trail (Fig. 02). After assembling (Fig. 03) at the hike trailhead off of White Domes Road, a group of more than 25 headed out into a remote desert area (Fig. 01) on the northern boarder of Valley of Fire State Park. Primarily following a series of washes (Fig. 04) and a few old roads, this somewhat strenuous, 2.65-mile loop hike, is an unmarked, off-trail route. After hiking along the upper edge of a deeply carved wash (Figs. 04 & 05), we eventually had to scramble down a rather deep decent (Fig. 06) into the wash, where it intersected yet another cross wash (see map in Fig. 02). At this point there were a couple of deep water catches (Fig. 07). The group then climbed up out of the wash and and across the desert, headed north to some high, red Aztec sandstone formations (Fig. 09). (Con't below)
                         
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
Trip notes continued: After reaching the area containing the large sandstone formations, we found a large wall full of petroglyphs. Our guide, Chris Johnson, seen in (Fig. 10), provided information on the history of the area and some of the ancient habitats that may have created the petroglyphs found in Valley of Fire as they passed through this area hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Open to interpretation, the closeups seen in the collage (Fig. 11), show that some of these could be representations showing bighorn sheep, possible maps showing some of the washes of the area, a symbol that could be "duck rock", and more. As we rounded these large outcrops we followed an old road (Fig. 12) that headed east out across the landscape toward Duck Rock (refer to Fig. 2). Along the way we passed a strange formation that I thought looked like some kind of Egyptian head-like sculpture (Fig. 13). Continuing to hike in a southeasterly direction, refer to map in (Fig. 02), we eventually came to the sandstone formation known as 'Duck Rock' (Fig. 14). From the pictures in the collage, you can see that all we could see was the top of its head while walking the wash on its approach. Once we actually reached it, it loomed much larger than we had anticipated. You can see that we then had to climb up a very rocky hill to reach the top of its back, and then down the other side to continue hiking. Hiking back up out of the wash I passed some cryptobiotic soil. Even though we found many examples of this everywhere we walked around this area, these examples, more than 2-inches high, were some of the biggest I've ever encountered (Fig. 15). For more about this subject go to ... Cryptobiotic Soil. From here we mostly followed an old dirt road back to the trailhead and a view of the White Domes (Fig. 16). After the hike we drove to the White Domes parking and picnic area for lunch. The pictures seen in the collage (Fig. 17) were taken while we were having lunch.

(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)

(Fig. 15)
(Fig. 16)
(Fig. 17)