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Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Wilson's Pimple Trailhead (view W)

Overview

Wilson's Pimple Peak provides a surprisingly scenic view for such a low summit. This pleasant 4-mile hike crosses Red Rock Valley to the base of Mt. Wilson using the Wilson's Pimple Loop Trail. Atop Wilson Saddle, the peak is reached using an old mining road and a steep use-trail. From the peak, grand views spread out below across the vast expanse of Red Rock Valley, and of course, the east face of Mt. Wilson, which towers above, feels very close and airy.

Link to map.

Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Trail sign and old gate before Oak Creek Wash (view W)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a fairly safe hike, even for kids, but mind the edge at the summit.

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 40 minutes from town, but not on the Scenic Loop Road. Drive out West Charleston Blvd, past the entrance to and exit from the Scenic Loop Road, to the Oak Creek Camp Trailhead. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Rocky trail crosses desert flats (view NW)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the Wilson's Pimple Loop Trail runs west and down the old road towards the original Red Rock Campground. The trail runs straight to a trail sign and gate at the edge of Red Rock Wash (Wpt. 02). Following old roads (Wpts. 03, 04, 05), the Wilson's Pimple Loop Trail runs north and then west, eventually running up a canyon along the base of Wilson's Pimple and climbing onto Wilson Saddle (Wpt. 06).

Atop Wilson Saddle (Wpt. 06), the Wilson's Pimple Loop Trail continues over the other side, while the Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail turns right following an old road towards the peak.

The old road bends left and levels out somewhat as it contours up and across the hillside. After offering nice views into Oak Creek Canyon from the point of a hairpin turn, the road turns back and up along the side of the ridge. At the next bend in the road (Wpt. 20), this time to the left, Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail (a use-trail) leaves the road and continues up along the side of the ridge.

Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Wilson's Pimple below the face of Mt. Wilson (view W)

Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail runs straight up the hillside, staying between the ridgeline on the right and the gully on the left. After passing under several Utah Junipers, the use-trail turns abruptly left to cut up and across the high, steep slope aiming for the rocky ridge on the skyline (Wpt. 21); watch for cairns.

Over the ridge, rather than following the rocky ridgeline towards the summit, the use-trail runs northeast into a open, fairly flat, sandy area. Deep soils in this area and near the summit provide opportunity for lots of trees (pinyon, juniper, and oak) and robust shrubs (manzanita, goldenbush). About 60 yards out, the use-trail turns right towards the summit.

Winding among the trees, shrubs, and boulders, Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail arrives unceremoniously on the rocky summit (Wpt. 22). This is a good place to sit, relax, gaze up at Mt. Wilson, and enjoy the grand views spreading out below.

Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Climbing towards Wilson's Saddle (view NW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Wilson's Saddle (view NW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail departing Loop Trail (view N)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Trail follows old road across hillside (view NW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Old road runs around a hairpin turn (view N)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Old road turns left; use-trail continues up slope (view E)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Use-trail continues up slope (view E)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
use-trail passes trees (view E)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Beyond the trees, the use-trail turns left (view E)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Use-trail cuts across steep slopes to skyline ridge (view NW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Over ridge, trail runs on sandy flats (left in photo; view SE)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Mule deer near the summit
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Trail winds among trees and rocks towards the summit (view SE)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Wilson's Pimple Summit (view SE)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit scenery (view SW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit scenery (view W)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit scenery (view SW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit register (view SW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit scenery (view SW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit scenery (view N)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit scenery (view NE)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit scenery (view NE)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Bighorn sheep near the summit
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Summit scenery (view SE)

Descending Wilson's Pimple Peak

Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Starting down from the summit (view NW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Use-trail winding among trees and rocks (view NW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Cairn at edge of ridgeline (view SW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Trail drops across high, steep slopes (view SW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Trail descends through juniper trees (view NW)
Wilson's Pimple Peak Trail
Trail approaching the old road (view NW)

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates and Distances based on GPS Data (NAD257; 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 Oak Creek Camp Trailhead 639689 3994796 3,756 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Trail Sign and Gate 639441 3994828 3,736 0.16 0.16 GPS
03 Road Forks, Stay Left 639284 3994936 3,742 0.13 0.29 GPS
04 Road Forks, Stay Left 638748 3995372 3,821 0.45 0.74 GPS
05 Merge with Main Dirt Road 638524 3995556 3,857 0.20 0.94 GPS
06 Wilson's Pimple Saddle 637473 3995556 4,137 0.75 1.69 GPS
20 Use-Trail Leaves Old Road 637440 3995692 4,232 0.18 1.87 GPS
21 Use-Trail at Ridgeline 637510 3995737 4,366 0.09 1.96 GPS
22 Wilson's Pimple Peak 637623 3995688 4,420 0.12 2.08 GPS
01 Oak Creek Camp Trailhead 639689 3994796 3,756 2.08 4.16 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150116

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