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Campground Knoll Loop Route
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Campground Knoll Loop Route
Campground Knoll Loop
Old road and Gun Range Ridge (view E)


A number of nice use-trails have become established in the Red Rock Canyon Campground Area. The Campground Knoll Loop (2.73 miles round trip) runs east from the campground trash dump to the base of Gun Range Ridge, then turns south and makes a long run out to Campground Knoll. The trail ends at the end of an old road, but a bit of cross country hiking leads to the summit. From there, more cross country hiking leads to an old road as the route loops back to the campground. For day hikers, walk up the road from the public trailhead, or hike one of the trails that connect with this trail.

After hiking this nice loop, consider hiking one of the other short or long loops in the campground area.

This hike is nice because it is close to town and not on the Scenic Loop Drive. This makes it free, a quick little get away from town, and it minimizes time driving to and from the trailhead.

Link to map or elevation profile of the route.

Campground Knoll Loop
"Danger: Shooting Range -- Do Not Enter" (view E)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this hike is about as safe as hiking in the desert can be, but watch out for dog poop near the trailhead. There is some cross country hiking, but the terrain is fairly easy.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and please try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this hike is short and close to civilization, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Campground Knoll Loop

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. From town, drive out West Charleston Blvd to Moenkopi Road and turn left towards the campground.

For day hikers, park at the General Access Campground Trailhead, which is located along Moenkopi Road well before the campground. Park here; this is the trailhead.

For overnight campers, continue into the campground, park at your campsite, then walk to one of the trailheads.

Campground Knoll Loop
Huge cairn with Campground Knoll in the background (view S)

The Hike

From the public trailhead, the shortest route leads up Moenkopi Road to where this trail leaves the road by the campground trash dump and water tank (Table 1, Wpt. 33). Alternatively, follow the Campground Flats Trail to the Gun Range Ridge Trail, and then follow that trail to the Campground Knoll Trail at a point northeast of the Group Campground (Wpt. 26).

From the campground trash dump and water tank (Wpt. 33), walk across the road, climb through the barbed-wire fence, and follow the old road east towards Gun Range Ridge. The route runs along the edge of a low ridge overlooking the Group Campground, passes a spur trail to the Group Camp (Wpt. 34), and climbs onto a little highpoint (Wpt. 26). This high point is where the Gun Range Ridge Trail connects with this trail (it is faint, look for cairns to get started.

Campground Knoll Loop
Old road running up onto the side of Campground Knoll (view S)

In this area, the vegetation is diverse, but typical Mojave Desert Scrub habitat type with lots of creosote bush and white bursage, plus Nevada ephedra, spiny menodora, desert globemallow, littleleaf ratany, and galleta grass. Also watch for beavertail cactus, matted cholla, pencil cholla, and silver cholla.

From the little highpoint (Wpt. 26), the trail continues east on the old road, passing a burro trail (Wpt. 27) and continuing towards Gun Range Ridge. The trail sweeps around below the Gun Range Ridge to head south. Note that they really do have a gun range on the other side of the ridge, and this is the downrange end! Don't climb up there to see for yourself! Signs along the trail warn hikers away.

The old road runs south and out onto a ridge where a huge cairn (Wpt 28) was constructed for some unknown reason. Perhaps it was to memorialize the great views in all directions. Beyond the cairn, the old road continues south, drops steeply into a saddle, and climbs the ridge on the other side. The road ends (Wpt. 29) at a place with a view, but it seems like an odd place for a road to go at all, let alone for it to end.

Campground Knoll Loop
Hiker on hillside past the end of the road (view E)

From the end of the old road (Wpt. 29), the route runs off-trail up the hillside to the top of the first knoll, then the second, and finally the third (Wpt. 30), which is the summit. All along this section, there are been great views out across the Las Vegas Valley. Somehow, it seems extra peaceful to sit on a rocky hill, surrounded by cactus and yuccas, and watch people driving around and going about their daily hustle and bustle down below.

From the summit (Wpt. 30), the loop turns west and wanders down towards the edge of cliffs. Enjoy the view, but don't stray too close to the edge. The off-trail route follows the edge of the cliffs back towards the campground, which can be seen from the summit and all along here.

The cliffs eventually run out, and the route drops off the ridge, crosses a saddle (Wpt. 31) just before the last rocky knob, and drops onto another old road (Wpt. 32). This old road runs straight into a newer road near the campground and ends by the entrance to the family campground (Wpt. 36).

Campground Knoll Loop
Traversing the top of Campground Knoll (view E)
Campground Knoll Loop
Campground and Red Rocks (view NW from summit)
Campground Knoll Loop
Las Vegas (view E from summit)
Campground Knoll Loop
Barrel cactus along cliffs on W side of Campground Knoll (view NW)
Campground Knoll Loop
Knob at end of cliffs on W side of Campground Knoll (view NW)
Campground Knoll LoopEnd of trail: gate by campground entrance (view SE)

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)
33 Campground Dump Trailhead 645274 3999799 3,470 0.00 0.00
34 Trail Junction from Group Campground 646215 3999988 3,469 0.62 0.62
26 Trail Junction on high point 646378 4000041 3,501 0.10 0.72
27 Trail Junction with Burrow Trail 646428 4000055 3,497 0.06 0.78
28 Big Cairn along Old Road 646612 3999941 3,538 0.17 0.95
29 End of Old Road 646882 3999333 3,546 0.49 1.44
30 Summit 646791 3998895 3,628 0.35 1.79
31 Saddle behind little Knob 646401 3999177 3,495 0.35 2.14
32 Junction with Old Road 646343 3999139 3,470 0.04 2.18
36 Campground Trailhead 645540 3999428 3,365 0.55 2.73
35 Top of Group Campground Road 646005 3999791 3,412 . .

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 171231

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