01 Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada Overview

Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada Overview

The Rainbow Mountain Wilderness is composed of majestic colorful Aztec Red Rock Jurassic Era Peaks. It stretches from the Keystone Thrust above Red Rock Park to the beginning of Potosi Mountain in the Southern portion of the Spring Mountains of Nevada. The most customary way of experiencing these peaks is to approach them from their base from Red Rock Park to Potosi Mountain. Once you’ve navigated through the thick brush at the base of the peaks, you are faced with vertical and near vertical cliffs in order to reach the summit. For this reason, the Rainbow Mountains are a popular destination for rock climbers of all levels. My non-traditional approach involves discovery “from the top down”. The Rainbow Mountains Upper Crest Ridgeline sits above the Rainbow Mountains and parallels its entire wilderness stretch. Most of the peaks can be reached from this ridgeline above with a class 2 and 3 climbing difficulty level. Best time of year for adventures in the higher elevations here: Fall through Spring. When Las Vegas Valley temperatures rise above 85 degrees, the higher elevations can become uncomfortably hot and even dangerous. The higher elevations can drop below 30 degrees during the Winter months. Follow thumbnail images to view the details you will need to plan your adventures here. Click image or title above for more…

02 North Upper Crest Ridgeline | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

North Upper Crest Ridgeline | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

Traverse the Northern Upper Crest Ridgeline between Willow Spring in Red Rock Canyon NCA and North Peak in the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada. This ridgeline runs parallel just above to the West of the Rainbow Mountains bordering the West side of Red Rock Canyon. Discover the unmarked trail that takes you all the way. Return by Rock Gap Road.

03 Rainbow Mountains South Upper Crest Ridgeline | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

Rainbow Mountains South Upper Crest Ridgeline | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

The Rainbow Mountains Upper Crest Ridgeline stretches above the Rainbow Mountains summits from its Southern point at Mountain Springs Trailhead on Highway 160 to its Northern point around the Willow Springs area of Red Rock Park. Here we focus on the Southern half of the Rainbow Mountains Upper Crest Ridgeline from Mountain Springs to Hidden Peak. Route details: 12 mi/ 5,900 > 7,000ft (approx.); Some Trails, Some Wilderness. Click image or title above for more…

04 Mid Upper Crest Ridgeline | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

Mid Upper Crest Ridgeline | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

Experience the Rainbow Mountains Mid Upper Crest Ridgeline from just South of North Peak to Rainbow Mountain. Pictures, video, detailed description. This adventure begins at Willow Spring in Red Rock Canyon, ascends Rocky Gap Road to the Bridge Mountain/North Peak Trailhead then ascends to the ridgeline, turns South taking the Bridge Mountain Trail. Finally, leave the Bridge Mountain Trail to continue South along the Upper Crest Ridgeline. Click image or title above for more…

Bonnie Springs Ranch | Red Rock Canyon

In mid-March of 2019, after about 45 years of operation, Bonnie Springs Ranch and it’s Old Nevada replica mining town, just West of Red Rock National Park, closed down. We feature Bonnie Springs Ranch here not because it is a hiking destination, but rather a long-time fixture in Red Rock Canyon. Click image or title above for more…

Bridge Mountain in Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

Bridge Mountain in the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness of Nevada is one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the area. Summiting Bridge Mountain is challenging and there is at least one class 3+ exposed stretch. The most customary summit approach begins in the Willow Creek Picnic Area in Red Rock Park and ascends Rocky Gap Road to a high point before branching off to the approach trail. Route Details: 17 mi/ 4500 > 7003ft; Some Trails, Some Wilderness. Click image or title above for more…

Far North Upper Crest Ridgeline | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

Far North Upper Crest Ridgeline | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

This is a circuit composed of the Northernmost 3 miles of the Rainbow Mountains Upper Crest Ridgeline. The circuit begins at the Willow Spring Area of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada. From there, ascent the ridge from its Northernmost point, head South, then return to Willow Spring via Rocky Gap Road.

Hollow Rock Peak | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

Hollow Rock Peak | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

Hollow Rock Peak is the second to the Southernmost peak in the Rainbow Mountains with South Peak just beyond. It’s a great 5-mile round trip and offers climbing levels from class 2-3 to class 5, depending on the route you choose (see below). And the calico boulders, pinnacles, cliffs, ledges and scattered bonsai-like bushes and trees make this an adventure of wonder. Spectacular views include the Las Vegas Valley and Strip, Frenchman Mountain, Muddy Mountains, Virgin Mountains (dim, distant), Gass Peak, the Sheep Range, Blue Diamond Mountain, portions of Red Rock Canyon, Calico Basin and La Madre Mountains, Mt. Charleston Wilderness, Lovell Canyon Area, Potosi Mountain, Lake Mojave (or Havasu?), and too many additional points of interest to mention here. Route details: 5 mi RT/ 5,470ft > 5,960ft; Mostly Good Trails, Some Class 3 Climbing. Best time of year for this adventure: Spring or Fall. Click image or title above for more…

Juniper Peak | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

If you’re looking to climb your first peak in the Rainbow Mountains, Juniper Peak is a good start. Many of the surrounding peaks dwarf it in comparison: Mt. Wilson; Rainbow Mountain; Bridge Mountain. Experience all the beauty and challenge of a Jurassic Era Aztec red rock peak in the Rainbow Mountains of Nevada. When you are facing Juniper Peak there appear to be 3 routes from the Red Rock Park side: Two narrow chutes to the left and what looks like a more gradual approach to the right. I ended up selecting the middle of these routes – the right chute of the two chutes to the left. Hindsight says that the easier, and likely the more traditional route is the more gradual climb up the slope on the right (just before Pine Creek Canyon). Route Description: 8.7 mi/ 3,909 > 6,109ft; **Some Trails, Some Wilderness** Click image or title above for more…

Middle Oak Creek Trail in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Middle Oak Creek Trail | Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, Nevada

The videos on this page are an example of rains and flash floods in the desert. I recorded water cascading down canyon walls in the Rainbow Mountains of Nevada. It wasn’t a major life-threatening flash flood, but enough to get an idea how quickly things can change in the desert during a storm. Route Details: 4 miles RT; 300ft elevation gain; **Mostly wilderness, few trails.** Click image or title above for more…