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Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs Trail
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Lake Mead NRA, Bridge Mountain Wilderness Area
Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs
Grapevine Canyon
Sign (view N from Christmas Tree Pass Road at Grapevine Road)

Overview

The Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs are an amazing collection of rock-art, or "rock story" as some native people would say, that were created by ancient people who lived among these rocky canyons thousands of years ago. The rock stories depict abstract forms, the meaning of which has been lost to time, and representational forms such as bighorn sheep and humans.

An easy trail departs from the far end of the parking lot, immediately drops into the wash, and follows the wash upstream for 0.3 miles to rocky crags at the entrance to Grapevine Canyon. Most of the rock stories were written on the crags at the entrance to the canyon.

For more adventuresome hikers, the rocky canyon runs up into granite mountains (unusual for the Las Vegas area) following a seasonal stream past several stands of cottonwood trees and water-sculpted narrows to a nice 15-foot waterfall with a bathtub 1.7 miles out.

Link to map.

Grapevine Canyon
Entering the trailhead parking area (view W)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this hike is fairly safe, but for those of us used to walking on rough, almost sticky, limestone and sandstone, the water-polished granite is surprisingly slick. There is a fair bit of scrambling over and around boulders and walking on granite slickrock, so be careful when you get high enough to fall and hurt yourself.

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

This hike goes into the Bridge Mountain Wilderness Area, so pay extra attention to respecting the land, and don't touch or otherwise mess with the petroglyphs.

Grapevine Canyon
Trailhead parking and toilets (view W)

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located near Laughlin, about 75 miles south of Las Vegas (7 miles west of Laughlin).

From Las Vegas, drive south towards Laughlin. From the intersection of Highway 93 and Highway 95, drive south on Highway 95, past Searchlight and Cal-Nev-Ari, for 54 miles to Highway 163 (Table 1, Site 0826). Turn left onto Highway 163 towards Laughlin and drive east for 12.8 miles to Christmas Tree Pass Road (Site 0823). Watch for a small sign indicating a left turn. This point is 6.7 miles before the bridge in Laughlin. There is no turn lane, so consider stopping on the right shoulder and waiting for traffic to clear before making the left turn.

Turning onto Christmas Tree Pass Road, signs give names and distances to points of interest, including "Grapevine Canyon Parking Area 2 miles." Drive north on the graded dirt road for 1.8 miles to a T-intersection with Grapevine Canyon Road (Site 0824). Turn left (west) and drive west for about 0.15 miles to the parking area at the end of the road (Site 0825). Park here; this is the trailhead.

Grapevine Canyon
Trailhead parking (view W)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), a trail drops into Grapevine Wash. The trail runs west (uphill) for 0.27 miles to a gap in the cliffs where Grapevine Wash comes out of Grapevine Canyon (Wpt. 02).

There is an amazing amount of rock art on the granite cliffs on both sides of the gap. There are some nice petroglyphs at eye-level right where the trail gets to the cliffs, but there are better ones a few feet higher up the cliffs on both sides of the canyon. Most of the rock art is within a 1-minute walk of the gap, but rock art is scattered farther up the canyon. Be careful if climbing on the cliffs to see petroglyphs up close. Don't fall, and also don't climb on the petroglyphs. These are treasures from a time gone by, and all of us are responsible for taking care of them today.

When ready, either continue up the canyon or return to the trailhead by following your footprints back down the wash.

Link to more information and photos of the rock art here.

Grapevine CanyonTrailhead parking and trailhead (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
Trailhead (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
Approaching the trailhead (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
Trailhead (view NW)
Grapevine Canyon
Trailhead sign: sacred area (view NW)
Grapevine Canyon
Trailhead sign; protect America's past (view NW)
Grapevine Canyon
The trail descends into the wash (view NW)
Grapevine Canyon
In the wash, the trail heads uphill (view N)
Grapevine Canyon
Trail in the wash (view N)
Grapevine Canyon
Trail in the wash with blooming Brittlebush (view N)
Grapevine Canyon
Approaching entrance to the canyon (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
Entrance to the canyon (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
Entrance to the canyon during wet spring (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
Mouth of the canyon during wet spring (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
Entrance to the canyon: south side (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
Entrance to the canyon: north side (view W)
Grapevine Canyon
South side, outside entrance to the canyon (view SW)
Grapevine Canyon
South side, inside entrance to the canyon (view SE)
Grapevine Canyon
South side, inside entrance to the canyon (view SE)
Grapevine Canyon
South side, inside entrance to the canyon (view SE)
Grapevine Canyon
South side, inside entrance to the canyon (view SW)
Grapevine Canyon
South side, inside entrance to the canyon (view SW)
Grapevine Canyon
South side, inside the canyon (view S)
Grapevine Canyon
Sheep panel rock (view S)
Grapevine Canyon
Sheep panel rock, close-up (view S)
Grapevine Canyon
South side, at sheep panel (view NE to entrance to the canyon)
Grapevine Canyon
North side, outside entrance to the canyon (view NW)
Grapevine Canyon
North side, entrance to the canyon (view NW)
Grapevine Canyon
North side, inside entrance to the canyon (view NE)
Grapevine Canyon
North side, inside entrance to the canyon (view NE)

Returning to the Trailhead

Grapevine Canyon
Creek flowing from mouth of the canyon after a wet winter (view E)
Grapevine Canyon
Creek disappearing into the desert sands after a wet winter (view E)
Grapevine Canyon
Heading down the dry wash (view E)
Grapevine Canyon
Heading down the dry wash (view E)
Grapevine Canyon
The trailhead comes into view (view E)
Grapevine Canyon
Approaching the trailhead (view SE)
Grapevine Canyon
Trail exits the wash (view SE)
Grapevine Canyon
Back to the trailhead parking area (view E)

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
0823 Hwy 163 at Christmas Tree Rd 712306 3897607 35.20082 114.66796 1,952 Yes
0824 Christmas Tree Rd at Grapevine Cyn 711331 3900326 35.22553 114.67796 2,325 Yes
0825 Grapevine Canyon Parking 711079 3900353 35.22582 114.68072 2,341 Yes
0826 Hwy 95 at Hwy 163 695527 3896339 35.19280 114.85245 2,516 Yes
1219 Hwy 93 at Christmas Tree Pass Rd 693735 3904630 35.26787 114.87016 2,535 Yes

Table 2. 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)
01 Grapevine Canyon Trailhead 711051 3900358 2,366 0.00 0.00
02 Petroglyphs 710645 3900478 2,420 0.27 0.27
01 Grapevine Canyon Trailhead 711051 3900358 2,366 0.27 0.54

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 180410

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