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Muffin Trail
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Muffin Trail
Muffin Trail
Cowboy Trail Rides Trailhead (view NE)

Overview

This hike starts at the Cowboy Trail Rides parking and works up and across the northwest face of Blue Diamond Hill to the North Ridge, then turns south and climbs the ridge. At about 1.8 miles out, the trail passes the Muffin Rocks, which are Lower-Triassic-age Timpoweap Conglomerate rock. The Muffin Rocks make a nice destination, or at least a nice place to rest in the shade and gaze east over the Las Vegas Valley, or if you prefer, gaze west to the Sandstone Bluffs of Red Rock Canyon.

From the Muffin Rocks, hikers can return over the same trail or continue south towards the summit of Blue Diamond Hill and take one of the several Blue Diamond Hill Bike Trails back down to the trailhead.

Link to map

Muffin Trail
Cowboy Trail Rides lower parking and corrals (view NE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a fairly safe hike, but be careful if you climb around on the muffin rocks, and in a few places the trail runs close to the edge of cliffs.

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 hike is short, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

 

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, about 30 minutes from town, but not on the Scenic Loop Road. Drive out West Charleston Blvd, past the entrance to the Scenic Loop Drive, to the Cowboy Trail Rides Trailhead on the left. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Muffin Trail
Cowboy Trail Rides lower corrals (view NE)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the hike runs northeast on the dirt road about 200 yards towards corrals ahead on the left. Passing the corrals, the trail departs the road to the left (Wpt. 30) aiming for the deep canyon left of the limestone ridge in the foreground. Hiking through this area, there are lots of Joshua Trees and many clumps of Big Galleta Bunchgrass with a few Silver Cholla mixed in.

The trail intersects several trails on the desert flats (Wpt. 31, Wpt. 32, Wpt. 33) as it runs towards the deep canyon ahead. Trails seem to breed on the flats, so aim for the deep canyon on the left side of the ridge in the foreground.

At a trail junction near the mouth of the canyon (Wpt. 34) and on the edge of a deep wash, the hike goes right and up the hill, while the other trail goes down the wash.

Muffin Trail
Departing road behind lower corrals (view E)

The trail climbs steeply as it switchbacks up the face of the hill on north side of the canyon to yet another trail junction (Wpt. 35). Here, the Muffin Trail goes left and heads northeast, while the other trail turns south and runs up into the canyon.

Heading northeast, running more or less on the contour, the hiking is easy and the views are grand. To the west lie the Sandstone Bluffs of Red Rock Canyon, and to the north lie the limestone ridges of the La Madre Mountain Range. On these rocky slopes, which are limestone, cactus does well, evidenced by the number of cactus species here (including California Barrel Cactus, Engelmann's Hedgehog Cactus, Desert Spinystar, Beavertail Pricklypear, and Silver Cholla. Watch for coral and sponge fossils in the rocks along the trail.

As the trail climbs gently along the hillside, it crosses a canyon, then starts onto the North Ridge at a somewhat more energetic pace. Reaching the ridgeline (Wpt. 36), the trail turns back to the south following the top of the ridge.

Muffin Trail
Trail runs behind lower corrals (view NE)

Shortly, the trail passes along the west side of the Muffin Rocks (Wpt. 37). This is a good place to stop and rest in the shade, enjoy the view, and eat lunch.

When ready, hikers can return over the same trail or continue south towards the summit and take one of several Blue Diamond Hill Bike Trails back down to the trailhead.

Continuing south on the ridge, the trail is more faint than before, but it runs along the top of the ridge with nice views to the east over the Las Vegas Valley. Eventually the trail meets another major trail at a low point on the ridge (Wpt. 38). Hikers can turn down the canyon to the west and head back to the trailhead (this is the same canyon bypassed at the trail junction above the switchbacks; Wpt. 35) or they can continue following the maze of trails in the area that will eventually lead downhill to the trailhead.

Muffin Trail
Lots of trail - take either
Muffin Trail
Lots of trail - stay right
Muffin Trail Muffin Trail
Muffin Trail
Trail on desert flats with Joshua Trees and bunchgrass (view NE)
Muffin Trail
Multiple trailing
Muffin Trail
Trail starting up towards deep canyon (view SE)
Muffin Trail
A place to tie up horses? (view SE)
Muffin Trail
Muffin Trail crosses wash, stays right (view SE)
Muffins Trail
Looking left, trail crosses this wash (view NE)
Muffin Trail
Crossing the wash (view SE)
Muffin Trail
Starting up steep hillside (view SE)
Muffin Trail
Gentle trail following the contour (view NE)
Muffin Trail
Approaching hikers coming down from the top (view NE)
Muffin Trail Muffin Trail
Muffin Trail
Nice view of the Sandstone Bluffs (view W)
Muffin Trail
Trail climbs aggressively (view N)
Muffin Trail
Nice view of the Sandstone Bluffs (view W)
Muffin Trail
Nearing the crest of the North Ridge (view N)
Muffin Trail
Hikers the the main Muffin Rock (view E)
Muffin Trail
Lunch with the Muffins (view S)
Muffin Trail
Triassic-age Timpoweap conglomerate rock
Muffin Trail
Triassic-age Timpoweap conglomerate rock
Muffin Trail
Looking back, hikers departing the Muffins (view NW)
Muffin Trail
Faint trail continues up the ridge (view SE)
Muffin Trail
Looking back, faint trail continues up the ridge (view NW)
Muffin Trail
Faint trail continues up the ridge (view SE)
Muffin Trail
Looking back, faint trail continues up the ridge (view NW)
Muffin Trail
A now well used trail drops into a low point on the ridge (view SW)
Muffin Trail
Hikers at trail junction: end of Muffin Trail (view NE)
Muffin Trail
Consider returning via the rocky canyon (view NW)

Table 1. 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 Parking 641052 3998352 3,705 0.00 0.00 GPS
30 Trail Departs Road 641257 3998377 3,686 0.16 0.16 GPS
31 Trail Junction 641390 3998437 3,677 0.09 0.25 GPS
32 Trail Junction 641666 3998438 3,686 0.18 0.43 GPS
33 Trail Junction 641824 3998424 3,711 0.11 0.54 GPS
34 Trail Junction 641948 3998190 3,764 0.17 0.71 GPS
35 Trail Junction 642033 3998052 3,915 0.22 0.93 GPS
36 North-most Point 642669 3998579 4,413 0.72 1.65 GPS
37 Muffin Rocks 642793 3998417 4,526 0.16 1.81 GPS
38 Trail Junction 643572 3997502 4,739 0.80 2.61 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170204

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