Western Trails & Ridges | Blue Diamond Hill, Nevada
Overview | Western Trails & Ridges | Blue Diamond Hill, Nevada
Traverse a number of trails on the Western side of Blue Diamond Hill in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Trails include:
- Bunny Trail
- Cat in the Hat Trail
- First Finger Trail
- Second Finger Trail
- Kibbles ‘N Bits Trail
In this adventure you will get a rare experience of two ridges and their surrounding canyons on the Western side of Blue Diamond Hill, Nevada. First and Second Finger ridges jut out Northward out from the Southern end of the public area on Blue Diamond Hill.
First Finger Ridge reaches out over Fossil Canyon to the West and Echo Canyon to the East. Second Finger Ridge. Second Finger Ridge, over twice as long, towers over Echo Canyon to the West and the most impressive Cowboy Canyon to the East.
Both these ridges feature a trail that loops around the ridge just below the upper ridgeline, giving spectacular views of the canyons on each side below.
As you head down each ridge you are facing an expansive view or Red Rock Canyon and the Keystone Thrust cliffs of the La Madre Mountains Wilderness straight ahead to the North along with non-stop incredible views of the Rainbow Mountains to the left (West).
Finally, during the descent along the Western edge of Blue Diamond Hill, you’ll dip down onto a portion of the Kibbles ‘N Bits Trail that includes a large field of impressively sculpted composite rock pillars that might make Stonehenge jealous.
Best Time of Year for This Adventure
Mid-Fall through mid-Spring are best, and when Winter snow level is over 4,000ft. Summer temperatures can rise to 110 degrees.
Trailhead Directions | Western Trails & Ridges | Blue Diamond Hill, Nevada
Take the Charleston exit off Hwy 215 in Las Vegas. Head up toward the mountains (Red Rock Canyon). You’ll pass Calico Basin and then the Red Rock Canyon entrance. Just a bit beyond that watch for the Cowboy Trail Rides on the left.
Park in the Fossil Canyon Trailhead area on the South (left) side of Highway 159 outside the Cowboy Trail Rides operation.
Adventure Description | Western Trails & Ridges | Blue Diamond Hill, Nevada
Fossil Canyon Trailhead to The Bunny Trail
Beginning at the Fossil Canyon Trailhead, head toward the base of the high ridge immediately ahead and to the South. That’s Fossil Ridge, with it’s own trail. The huge Cowboy Canyon is immediately to the left (East) of Fossil Ridge.
Once at the base of Fossil Ridge, instead of ascending the ridge, take a smaller trail to the right (West) that will wind around upward through an amazing desert garden area with the Rainbow Mountains as a backdrop. Eventually this beautiful lesser-known stretch of trail will connect with the Bunny Trail as it ascends along the Western edge of Blue Diamond Hill. The Bunny Trail is a multi-use trail including equestrian, so you might experience a line of horseback riders along the way (as in the video on this page).
450-Million-Year-Old Fossils Along the Way
Once on the Bunny Trail, take time to note the darker gray rocks on either side of the trail. As you look closely, you’ll see they are embedded with fossils that are nearly 450-million-years old. Curiously, the Web Telescope, activated in 2022, sent back images from what is believed to be the edge of the universe, about 450-million light years away. This indicates that if you were standing on that edge of the universe with a super powerful telescope looking at the Earth, the images you saw would be 450-million-year old images of the ancient sea creatures swimming the oceans. Today, they are the fossils you will embedded in the rocks along all the trails of Blue Diamond Hill.
Continue to ascend Southward up the Bunny Trail which will merge into the Cat in the Hat Trail before finally reaching the Southern edge of the canyons on Blue Diamond Hill.
First Finger Ridge Loop Trail
Now, take a left (East) and begin skirting the canyon upper openings. The first canyon opening is Fossil Canyon. Immediately beyond the Fossil Canyon opening, take a left (North) onto First Finger Ridge. First Finger Ridge is just a little over a half-mile long. You’re on the Western side of the First Finger Ridge loop trail, looking down into Fossil Canyon to your left and the Rainbow Mountains in the distance. As you reach the lower Northern end of First Finger Ridge and the trail begins to loop around, you might take a little detour and continue downward to the very tip of First Finger where you can look down to the convergence of Fossil Canyon to your left (West) and Echo Canyon to your right (East). It’s like being on the edge of a peninsula.
Now return to the trail and continue to loop around the East side of First Finger, back to its upper South end. To you left is Echo Canyon, much deeper and narrow, with the sheer cliff walls which produce the sounds from which the canyon get’s its name. As the line of canyons on Blue Diamond Hill progresses to the West, the canyons get deeper and the cliff walls on either side tower higher. As you ascend the Eastern loop of First Finger Trail notice also a low ridge immediately to your left (East) and a much higher ridge beyond. The closer low ridge is Second Finger Ridge and the higher ridge beyond is the ridge of Bone Shaker Trail between Cowboy Canyon and Skull Canyon.
Second Finger Ridge Loop Trail
Nearing the upper Southern end of First Finger, you’ll take a trail looping to the Northeast, then circling around to the very upper end of First Finger. Take a left, and just about 100-200ft beyond another left will put you on Second Finger Loop. Unlike most of the other trails on Blue Diamond Hill, there are actually trail directional arrows pointing to each side of Second Finger Loop (West straight ahead, East to the right). Second Finger Ridge is about two-and-a-half times the length of First Finger Ridge. Below and to the left (West) is Echo Canyon. To the right is the much deeper Cowboy Canyon with its caves.
You might take a detour on the West side of the loop to get a great view of the lower end of First Finger Ridge to the West. And, as with First Finger Ridge, at the lower end of Second Finger Ridge, as the trail begins to loop around to the East side of Second Finger Ridge, take a little detour to the very lower edge of Second Finger Ridge to experience the conjunction of Echo Canyon and Cowboy Canyon. At this point, you’ll also see below and to the North the Fossil Canyon Trailhead, Cowboy Trail Rides operation and, in the distance beyond, a spectacular view of Red Rock Canyon, and the Keystone Thrust Cliffs of the La Madre Mountains Wilderness.
Looping around the lower end of Second Finger to ascend toward its upper Northern end, don’t forget to notice the non-stop fossils along the trail! And, that high ridge just to the East is the ridge of Bone Shaker Trail.
Descent to the Field of Pillars on the Kibbles ‘N Bits Trail
Once at the upper end of Second Finger, take a right (West) toward the Rainbow Mountains and descend past First Finger, Fossil Canyon and Fossil Ridge to angle Northwest down the side of Blue Diamond Hill on the Kibbles ‘N Bits Trail. There is actually a network of trails here and you might get a little off course. On this day I diverted onto a trail to the right that took me into a magical field of sculpted composite rock pillar formations, now bronze in the evening sunlight. These pillars are pictured in the video and slides on this page. A trail weaves in and around the field of pillars offering non-stop incredible photo moments.
Re-Ascent to the Cat and the Hat Trail, Then Return to Fossil Canyon Trailhead
However, I found myself eventually going around in circles and back on a section of trail I’d traversed shortly before! To get out of those circles I headed upward to reconnect with the Cat in the Hat Trail, then descend that trail to its convergence with the Bunny Trail and finally back to the Fossil Canyon Trailhead. During the descent on these trails, the sun was beginning to sink below the Rainbow Mountains to the West, eventually creating an awesome silhouette with a band of light along the entire length of the ridgeline. Ahead, and to the North Red Rock Canyon along with the Keystone Thrust Cliffs of the La Madre Mountains Wilderness and the Calico Hills were beautifully lit up by the last light of the setting sun.
This can be easily be an entire day of incredible discovery with a variety of unique sights and experiences!