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Dale's Trail - Northbound
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Dale's Trail
Dale's Trail
Pine Creek Trail approaching Dale's Trail (view W)


Dale's Trail is a 2.1-mile segment of the Escarpment Route that runs through open desert along the base of the Wilson Cliffs. Dale's Trail runs between the Pine Creek Canyon Trail at the south end and the Icebox Canyon Trail on the north end, so it can be walked in either direction. Here, it is described as running northbound. For the other direction and for more details, see Dale's Trail Southbound.

The trail runs through Pinyon-Juniper Woodland vegetation at a fairly gentle grade most of the way, but it has several short, steep sections; it is quite rocky and hard to walk on; and it seems to twist and jog back and forth far more than is necessary. The south end of the trail cuts across a number of steep ravines, but rather than contour around the back of the ravines, the trail drops into each one and climbs back up the other side. In general, this trail was poorly laid out and is not among my favorites. Fortunately, park benches along the trail encourage hikers to stop, relax, and enjoy the splendid views.

Link to map.

Dale's Trail
Pine Creek Trail approaching Dale's Trail (view E)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a moderately strenuous hike requiring careful attention to the trail so as not to twist an ankle on the many loose rocks.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this is a short hike, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located along the Scenic Loop Road in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, about 45 minutes west of Las Vegas. Drive out to Red Rocks, pay the fee, and then drive about 2/3rds of the way around the the Scenic Loop to the Pine Creek Canyon Trailhead. Park here; this is a close as it gets to the south end of the Dale's Trail.

Dale's Trail
Dale's Trail (view N from Pine Creek Trail)

The Hike

From the trail junction with the Pine Creek Trail (Table 1, Wpt. 10), Dale's Trail runs north, starting out across gently sloping desert flats that burned a few years ago. Running to the left of a broad wash, the trail passes the toe of a low hill and then crosses the wash.

Switchbacking up the hillside across the wash, the trail passes Skull Rock (Wpt. 09). Although interesting for hikers already here, this isn't a destination.

Continuing, the trail runs up over the crest of the ridge (Wpt. 08) in an area of enormous, white sandstone boulders. From there, the trail drops steeply to cross a canyon, then climbs rather steeply up the far side of the wash to the top of the next ridge, which forms the northern edge of Pine Creek canyon. Running northwest along the edge of the ridge, the trail turns (Wpt. 07) to run north and more gently across the sidehill.

Dale's Trail

The trail continues northward across the side of the mountain, dropping into and climbing out of every gully along the way. Fortunately, grand views and park benches (Wpt. 06) make the trail more pleasant. The trail passes a highpoint (Wpt. 05), drops through a gully and climbs back onto the hillside (Wpt. 04).

The trail passes three major gullies, then begins to run gently down a canyon and out across the desert flats where the hiking generally is more pleasant.

The trail eventually dips into and crosses Icebox Wash, which sometimes has water, then climbs out the other side and shortly arrives at the Icebox Canyon Trail (Wpt. 02).

Dale's Trail ends at this point. Hikers can continue north on the Escarpment Trail, where the next segment is the SMYC Trail. Alternatively, hikers can turn left and hike up Icebox Canyon or turn right and hike out to the Icebox Canyon Trailhead (Wpt 01).

Dale's Trail
Approaching Skull Rock (view NW)
Dale's Trail
Skull Rock trail sign (view E)
Dale's Trail
Skull Rock (view NW)
Dale's TrailOne of the park benches
Dale's Trail
Mule Deer along the trail
Dale's Trail
Trail on hillside (view NE)
Dale's Trail
Trail on hillside (view N)
Dale's Trail
Approaching bench (just beyond tree; view N)
Dale's Trail
Approaching Icebox Canyon Trail (view N)
Dale's Trail
Icebox Wash with some water (view W)
Dale's Trail
Hiker approaching Icebox Canyon Trail (view N)
Dale's Trail
Dale's Trail at Icebox Canyon Trail, SMYC Trail continues (view N)

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
12 Wilson Homeplace 636507 3998532 4,030 . . GPS
11 Pine Creek Trailhead 637417 3999122 3,988 . . GPS
10 Pine Creek Trail 636966 3998718 3,986 0.00 0.00 GPS
09 Skull Rock 636869 3999058 4,076 0.25 0.25 GPS
08 Top of Ridge 636829 3999119 4,103 0.06 0.31 GPS
07 Edge of Major Ravine 636678 3999243 4,205 0.15 0.46 GPS
06 Sunny Bench 636743 3999827 4,336 0.44 0.90 GPS
05 High Point 636756 3999907 4,341 0.05 0.95 GPS
04 Hillside 636831 4000056 4,314 0.17 1.12 GPS
03 Park Bench 636801 4000352 4,268 0.22 1.34 GPS
02 Trail Junction 636233 4001217 4,307 0.78 2.12 GPS
01 Icebox Canyon Trailhead 636455 4001453 4,280 . . GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150114

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