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Blue Diamond Hill Trails
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Blue Diamond Hill
Blue Diamond Hill
Cowboy Trail Rides Trailhead (view southeast).

Overview

The north end of Blue Diamond Hill, located in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, but not on the Scenic Loop Road and therefore not in the fee area, has become covered with mountain bike trails. These trails provide many miles of easy hiking because the bike trails were designed with gentle grades. Although "easy" might be an overstatement, the grades tend to be gentle.

The Blue Diamond Hill trails provide great views of the Red Rock Cliffs (Wilson Cliffs) across the valley to the west, of the La Madre Mountain Range to the north, and if you make it to the Viewpoint, of the Las Vegas valley far below. Don't overlook the plethora close things: birds, lizards, flowers, cactus, fossils, rocks, and more!

Link to trail map.

Blue Diamond Hill Trails
Hikers starting up Fossil Trail (view south).

Flora and Fauna

Blue Diamond Hill is located in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) Life Zone where typical species include creosote bush, white bursage, joshua trees, mojave yucca, blackbrush, and lots of cactus. Almost all of the common species of cactus in southern Nevada can be see here. There are lots of California barrel cactus and buckhorn cholla, and there are nice examples of silver cholla, cottontop cactus, beavertail pricklypear, pincushion, and old man pricklypear.

As is typical for the desert, look for lizards and birds during the day; most everything else comes out at night, but you might come across a wild burrow. Common lizards include side-blotched lizards, horned lizards, western whiptails, and collared lizards. Always keep an eye out for speckled rattlesnakes in hilly places like this. Red-tailed hawks frequent the ridgelines, and Great-horned Owls nest in the cliffs

Blue Diamond Hill
Upper end of Fossil Trail (view north).

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a fairly safe hiking area. The Blue Diamond Hill trails were designed for mountain bikes, so the grades generally are gentle and not too precipitous, but you have to watch out for bikers careening down the trails. Falls off the east side of the summit ridge or into some of the canyons would hurt.

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

Blue Diamond Hill Trails
Hiker on trail in a canyon (view northwest).

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.

Blue Diamond Hill
Hiker on First Finger (view north).

The Hikes

Fossil Canyon Trail. This hike starts at the trailhead and makes for a nice, mostly off-trail hike up Fossil Canyon, the west-most of the major canyons. True to the name, the route offers opportunities for finding a variety of seabed fossils such as coral, sponges, brachiopods, and scallops.

Fossil Trail. This trail starts at the trailhead and runs south to sweep around and climb onto the west side of Blue Diamond Hill. The trail eventually climbs onto Fossil Ridge and runs up the ridge overlooking Fossil Canyon until the ridge and the canyon merge. The trail ends at the old Jeep Trail.

Blue Diamond Hill
Vegetation on Blue Diamond Hill (view northeast).

Rock Garden Trail. This trail starts at the trailhead and climbs steeply into Fossil Ridge, then runs out along the top of the ridge to connect with the Fossil Trail. The trail overlooks Fossil Canyon with grand views of the mountains to the west and lots of cactus.

Cave Canyon Trail. This hike starts at the trailhead and leads to two caves. Bring three sources of lights per person and try to find the caves. They are big and deep, but not exactly pristine. Enjoy the caves, but plan to haul out some trash when you leave.

Cat-N-Hat Trail. This is a steeper alternative to an upper section of the Fossil Trail that avoids running along the precipitous edge of Fossil Canyon.

Blue Diamond Hill
Trail hazard on First Finger (view north).

First Finger Trail. This is a pleasant loop trail that runs out the first ridge east of Fossil Canyon (short ridge between Fossil Canyon and Cave Canyon). This is a good hike on an easy trail with grand views.

Second Finger Trail. This is a longer loop trail that runs out the second ridge east of Fossil Canyon (main ridge between Fossil Canyon and Cave Canyon). This is a good hike on an easy trail with grand views.

Muffin Trail. This trail works up and across the northwest face of Blue Diamond Hill to the North Ridge, then climbs to the Muffin Rocks, conglomerate boulders on the ridgeline. The trail runs 1.8 miles to the Muffin Rocks, or continues a total of 2.6 miles to the next trail junction.

Blue Diamond Hill
Collared lizard relaxing on Blue Diamond Hill.

To-The-Top Trail. I'm not sure if the signs point the way "to the top," or if the trail really is called "To The Top," but it does run out to the Viewpoint at the top of Blue Diamond Ridge, so it is an okay name either way. Great views and the feeling that you make it to the top.

Bone Shaker Trail. This trail is a bit rocky. It starts high on the To-The-Top Trail and descends the steep north face of Blue Diamond Hill. I haven't hiked this trail, so I can't provide details, but I hear that bike riders need to jump off some low cliffs and use caution on tight switchbacks.

Blue Diamond Hill
Las Vegas: so close and yet so far (view east).

Three Amigos Trail. This trail runs north from the Viewpoint and descends the north end of Blue Diamond Hill. I haven't hiked this trail, so I can't provide details.

Ridge Ride Trail. This trail runs north from the Viewpoint and descends the north end of Blue Diamond Hill. I haven't hiked this trail, so I can't provide details.

Jeep Trail. The Jeep Trail serves as a connector trail along the south edge of the bike trail area.

Blue Diamond Hill Trails Blue Diamond Hill Trails

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150925

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