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Hidden Peak Hiking Route
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Arrow Canyon Range, Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area
hidden peak
Hidden Peak
Hidden Peak and access canyon (view E from highway trailhead)

Overview

This is a strenuous route that climbs some 2,600 ft from the valley floor to the summit of Hidden Peak, one of the higher peaks in the Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area. The route crosses the valley, ascends a rocky bajada and canyon to the crest of the range, then follows the loose, rocky ridge north and eastward to Hidden Peak. Upper parts of this route have a little 3rd-class scrambling and lots of loose rock. As with all other peaks in the Arrow Range, views from the summit are spectacular.

Link to route map.

Hidden Peak
Hidden Peak and access canyon (view E)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a strenuous route with a little 3rd-class climbing, many pour-overs and loose rocks, and a lot of steep 2nd-class scrambling, but other than potential rock fall, this is a fairly safe route.

This route goes into the Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area, so while hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. There are few cairns on this route; please don't leave any new ones. Also, this is a long hard hike, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Hidden Peak
Approaching imposing cliffs (view NE)
Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located on the west side of the Arrow Canyon Range, about 45 minutes northeast of Las Vegas.

From Las Vegas, drive out to the west side of the Arrow Canyon Range. From the intersection of Interstate-15 and Highway 93, drive north on Highway 93 for 23.1 miles. Stop by Mile Marker 75 (Site 0880), well off the pavement. Park here; this is the trailhead.

The Highway Patrol probably will check your vehicle while you are away, so when you return, expect to find a notice on your antenna about abandoned vehicles.

Hidden Peak
Canyon, approaching 1st fork (view SE)

The Hike

From the highway trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), the route climbs over the highway fence and runs eastward for about 0.8 miles to a powerline road (Wpt. 02), then continues another 0.9 miles to the mouth of the major canyon (Wpt. 03) that runs diagonally up and right across the face of the range. Most of the canyons on the west side of the Arrow Range run straight up and down the scarf, rather than diagonally. This point (Wpt. 03) also marks the entry into the Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area.

Initially, the route winds among vegetation typical of the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone. Creosote Bush, White Bursage, and Mojave Yucca dominate the landscape, with many other species (including some cactus) mixed in. There is also a lot of cryptogamic (biological soil) crust in the bottom of the valley. The crust is a complex community of bacteria, algae, lichens, mosses, and other stuff that bind loose soil particles together, thereby stabilizing and protecting the soil surface from erosion. The little (1-inch high) peaks in the crust can take a century to develop, and to the extent that we can, we should avoid walking on the crust.

Hidden Peak
Canyon, approaching 2nd fork (view SE)

From the mouth of the canyon (Wpt. 03), the route runs southeast up the canyon all the way up to the saddle on the crest of the ridge. The route stays to the right at the first major fork (Wpt. 04), and to the left at the second major fork (Wpt. 05) in the drainage.

The lower canyon is a relatively low-angle, easy hike in the wash. From the second fork (Wpt. 05), the route scrambles up the canyon. This section is steeper with lots of boulders and a few little pour-overs (minimal 3rd-class) to scramble up.

Near the middle of the canyon, there is a place where some enormous pieces of quartzite fell from the cliffs and came to rest at the base of a pour-over. In January 2003, there was fresh rock power that appeared never to have been rained on, suggesting that the rocks might have fallen during the previous three weeks (it had snowed here on December 31, 2002) -- an interesting thought to contemplate while hiking in a steep, narrow canyon.

Hidden Peak
Canyon, approaching saddle (view SE)

The route continues up the canyon. Near the summit ridge, the canyon opens up above a slot in the cliffs and continues southeast on the lower-angle slopes towards a saddle (Wpt. 06) on the skyline.

From the saddle, the route turns north and runs up along the summit ridge. The hiking in this part of the route is easier to the east and south of the actual ridgeline. This bypasses some difficult spots and high points on the ridge, but it causes hiker to traverse rocky sideslopes. Along the way, the route passes another saddle (Wpt. 07), cuts across side slopes (Wpt. 08), passes to the south of a knob, and climbs onto a promontory (Wpt. 09) just below cliffs with interesting thin bands of black and white rock layers (like a stack of Oreo cookies).

Higher up, this area still is in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone, but here the vegetation is dominated by Blackbrush and bunchgrasses.

Hidden Peak
Steep cliffs of dolomite and quartzite (view N)

From Oreo Promontory (Wpt. 09), which is only some 200 yards below the summit, the route continues northeast, but crosses a low saddle onto the west side of the ridge. Here, hikers must carefully pick their way across steep, rocky sideslopes and climb through short sections of 3rd-class rock to regain the summit ridge at a point only a few yards from the summit (Wpt. 10).

Views from the summit are spectacular. To the east are Mormon Mountain and Moapa Peak, Moapa town, the Virgin Mountains, and peaks up in Utah; to the south is the Lake Mead region and the southern parts of the Arrow Range; to the west are the Las Vegas and Sheep Ranges on the Desert National Wildlife Range, and to the north is the remainder of the Arrow Range and numerous mountain ranges beyond.

When ready to depart the summit, retrace your footprints down the ridges and down the canyon to the desert flats below. When departing the summit, be sure to drop down the west side of the summit ridge and hit Oreo Promontory (Wpt. 09); it would be easy to get started on the ridge that runs due south, but this is not the easiest way to get back to the trailhead.

Hidden Peak
Steep slopes above the access canyon (view SW)
Hidden Peak
Traversing long ridge towards summit (view NE)
Hidden Peak
Steep slopes leading to Oreo Promontory (view E)
Hidden Peak
Hidden Peak summit (view S)

Summit Photos

Hidden Peak Hidden Peak
Hidden Peak Hidden Peak
Hidden Peak Hidden Peak

The Descent

Hidden Peak
Summit; contemplating the descent (view W)
Hidden Peak
On return, descend this steep slope to Oreo Promontory (view SW)
Hidden Peak
Hikers on rocky knob (view W)
Hidden Peak
Hikers traversing side slopes (view SW)
Hidden Peak
The grand views do not stop (view S)
Hidden Peak
Hikers approaching the top of the canyon (view SW)
Hidden Peak
Starting down the canyon (view NW)
Hidden Peak
Hiker in rocky canyon (view NW)
Hidden Peak
Hiker in rocky canyon (view NW)
Hidden Peak
Hikers below the steep, rocky parts of the canyon (view NW)
Hidden Peak
Hikers low in the canyon (view NW)
Hidden Peak
Hiker approaching mouth of the canyon (view NW)
Hidden Peak
Hikers descending the bajada (view W)
more to come ...

Table 1. Highway Coordinates based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download highway GPS waypoints (gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
0880 Hwy 93 at Hidden Peak Parking 685272 4062093 36.68827 114.92635 2,430 Yes
1602 Arrow W Powerline Rd at Peak 5146 TH 686558 4062220 36.68916 114.91193 2,415 Yes

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates and Distances 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
01 Trailhead 685272 4062093 2,430 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Powerline Road 686550 4062219 2,419 0.82 0.82 GPS
03 Wilderness Boundary 687999 4062285 2,818 0.95 1.77 GPS
04 Fork in the Canyon 688391 4061811 3,075 0.42 2.19 GPS
05 Fork in the Canyon 688467 4061576 3,261 0.18 2.37 GPS
06 Top of Gully 689099 4061065 4,197 0.64 3.01 GPS
07 Saddle 689219 4061608 4,505 0.37 3.38 GPS
08 South of Knob 689394 4061771 4,617 0.22 3.60 GPS
09 Oreo Promontory 689761 4062057 4,877 0.32 3.92 GPS
10 Hidden Peak 689846 4062205 5,028 0.12 4.04 GPS
01 Trailhead 685272 4062093 2,430 4.04 8.08 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150715

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