In my wanderings in Red Rock Canyon and elsewhere in Southern Nevada wilderness areas, I occasionally come across a path that looks as if it was a road sometime long ago. These paths preserve the double tire ruts of vehicles, yet are overgrown to the extent that its evident no vehicle has used the route for decades. One of the most famous of these roads is The Old Arrowhead Trail in Valley of Fire State Park, which was once a route between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
Roads like The Old Arrowhead Trail show up crisscrossing many of the wilderness areas documented on LasVegasAreaTrails.com.
This video features three old historic roads in Red Rock Canyon NCA, Nevada:
There are likely more historic roads in Red Rock Canyon. However, the above three roads are ones I stumbled upon while documenting the wilderness in the area. Learn more by reading this publication on the history of Red Rock Canyon by Chuck Williams, Sharon Schaaf, Norm Kresge, Linda McCollum, Dan Wray, Cam Camburn and Crystalaura Jackson: Seekers Saints & Scoundrels: The Colorful Characters of Red Rock Canyon.
As you’re exploring the Southern Nevada wilderness, you just may come across an old historic road. Watch for the double tire ruts partially overgrown. Let me know what you find!
Take the Highway 159/Red Rock Canyon exit off I-215. Take a right onto the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop. Circle the scenic loop nearly to the loop exit. The last trailhead turnoff is for the Oak Creek Trailhead. Park here and follow the ridge angling to the Northwest toward Pine Creek Canyon.
I’d seen a cut-off trail between Pine Creek Canyon (Fire Ecology Trail area) and the Northern portion of The Knoll Trail on some maps. But trails that appear on maps are not always there when you’re actually on the ground. When on the ground in The Fire Ecology Trail area, I could find no clear path leading to and across the creek.
However, looking at the South ridge of Pine Creek Canyon, there was a path ascending that ridge, so I headed across the creek to the base of the ridge and ascended the path to the summit of the ridge. Standing on the summit of the Southern ridge of Pine Creek Canyon, I saw a huge pile of rocks just 100 feet away, so I headed for that rock pile. Clearly someone had put a lot of effort into creating the rock pile that was nearly 6 feet high and twice as wide. That’s a lot of rocks to move in the middle of nowhere!
Curiously, beginning at that rock pile there appeared the distinctive duo tire ruts of an old road leading along a ridge toward the intersection of The Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive and Oak Creek Canyon Road. So, I followed the tire ruts which did indeed end just a hundred feet or so before reaching the Scenic Drive.
I’ve traced the route of this historic road on the map on this page. Its beginning and ending are unclear. However, looking at the route one can imagine it logically beginning at the current route of the Scenic Drive and ending in Pine Creek Canyon near the location of the Horace and Glenda Wilson homestead, built in the 1920’s. Was this the road Horace and Glenda took to their homestead? Based on the growth around the tire ruts indicating many years of disuse, this road could be a portion of that route. The road would have begun and ended in a canyon wash, which explains the absence of a beginning and end point.