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Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Mojave National Preserve
Rings Trail
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Hole-in-the-Wall and Rings trailhead (view W)

Overview

This short route drops through Banshee Canyon (a narrow cleft in the rocks) following a watercourse from the Hole-in-the-Wall picnic area to the desert floor some 100 feet below. This route is interesting simply because of the narrow cleft and the unusual geology, but also because of the ringbolts installed for hand and footholds in the rock walls where the route descends steep, smooth pour-overs. For those who don't want to climb down through the 3rd-class cleft, there is an overlook into another narrow canyon where you can yell to the people (but not see them) who do climb down the rings.

Link to map.

Rings Trail
Trailhead warning and sign to overlook

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a pretty safe hike except that hikers could fall on the steeper, 3rd-class sections of the route. There are two sets of ringbolts for handholds, but hikers could fall as much as 10 feet, and there are several other section of scrambling. Watch the kids at the overlook and throughout the hike. The ringbolt route requires a little balance and agility.

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.

Rings Trail
Overlook with barrier fence

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in Mojave National Preserve, about 2 hours south of Las Vegas.

From town, drive out to Mojave National Preserve and the Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor Center (Table 1, Site 0502), which is about 85 miles south of town. From the Visitor Center, continue west on the Visitor Center road for a minute or so to the picnic area at the end of the road (Site 0846). Park at the western-most point on the road; this is the trailhead.

Rings Trail
View down from overlook

The Hike

There are two parts of this hike: the short overlook trail and the ringbolt route. First, at the trailhead, read the interpretive signs, then go over to the overlook and look down into the canyon. Second, scramble down Banshee Canyon climbing down the ringbolts to the bottom of the canyon, which opens onto desert flats.

There is a way to get up into the canyon below the overlook, but without a little rock climbing, you can't actually see the overlook from below.

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), the trail runs south for less than 1 minute to the overlook. This short trail leads through a break in the rocks to an overlook at the top of a cliff. Guardrails and fences at the edge keep everyone safe.

Rings Trail
View up from overlook

To scramble down the ringbolt route, walk west from the trailhead for about 1 minute or so. The trail drops into a narrow, rocky canyon that gets narrower and steeper the farther you go. Follow the canyon down through the cleft, using two sets of ringbolts for hand and footholds on pour-overs in the steepest sections of the route. When the route breaks out of the cleft and hits the dirt at the bottom of the canyon (Wpt. 02), continue downhill for another minute or two. The route passes an historic check dam used to catch water for cattle, then passes out of the cliffs into open desert. At a signed fork in the trail (Wpt. 03), the left trail (Rings Loop Trail) will wrap around the cliffs and leads back to the ranger station, while the right (Barber Loop Trail) connects with trails leading as far as Mid Hills Campground.

To get back to the trailhead, retrace the route and climb back up the ringbolts, or continue down and around the cliffs to the south on the Rings Loop Trail (see photos at the bottom of the webpage).

Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Rings Trail trailhead
Rings Trail
Hikers at Rings Trail trailhead
Rings Trail
Trail information sign
Rings Trail
Sign about geology
Rings Trail
Sign about local history
Rings Trail
Starting on the Rings Loop Trail
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Trail runs towards canyon (view W)
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Trail drops into Banshee Canyon (view NW)
Rings Trail
Hikers descending into Banshee Canyon (view NW)
Rings Trail
Hiker climbing down Banshee Canyon
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Narrow Banshee Canyon
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Arriving at upper ringbolts
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
upper set of ringbolts
Rings Trail
Ringbolt
Rings Trail
Starting down the upper ringbolts
Rings Trail
The narrow slot is a bit awkward with a backpack
Rings Trail
Climbing down the upper ringbolts
Rings Trail
Climbing down the upper ringbolts
Rings Trail
Hikers above and below the upper ringbolts
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Arriving at lower ringbolts
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Arriving at lower ringbolts
Rings Trail
Hiker starting down the longer, lower ringbolts
Rings Trail
Hiker descending the lower ringbolts
Rings Trail
Hiker descending the lower ringbolts
Rings Trail
Ringbolt
Rings Trail
Ringbolt
Rings Trail
Hiker finishing second set of ringbolts
Rings Trail
Looking back up second set of ringbolts
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon) Rings Trail
Rings Trail
Hikers emerging from the cleft (view SW)
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Canyon becomes wider (view SW)
Rings Trail
To the left is a way to get up below the overlook
Rings Trail
Historic check dam to catch water for cattle
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Historic check dam to catch water for cattle
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Historic check dam to catch water for cattle
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Historic check dam to catch water for cattle
Rings Trail
View into the open desert
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Fork in trail; end of the Banshee Canyon route (going right)
Rings Trail
Hiker at fork in trail (going right)
Rings Trail
Sign for Rings Loop Trail to the left (view W)
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Other side of the post: sign for other trails (view S)
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Hiker below lower ringbolts
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Crags and desert flats beyond the Hole-in-the-Wall (view SW)
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Return to trailhead by climbing back up the ringbolts (view NW)
Rings Trail (Banshee Canyon)
Return to trailhead by climbing back up the ringbolts (view NW)

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

Site # Location Latitude (°N) Longitude (°W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
0502 Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor Center 35.0422 115.3949 646403 3878704 4,260 Yes
0846 Hole in the Wall; Rings trailhead 35.0440 115.3973 646180 3878900 4,252 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) Verified
01 Trailhead 646177 3878898 4,256 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Bottom of Cleft 646079 3878812 4,182 0.17 0.17 GPS
03 Trail Junction 646020 3878753 4,163 0.05 0.22 GPS
01 Trailhead 646177 3878898 4,256 0.22 0.44 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 130524

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