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BLM 403 Trail - Park Peak Loop
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Sloan Canyon NCA
BLM 403 Park Peak  Loop Trail
Park Peak Trail
Shadow Canyon Trailhead (view SE)

Overview

The Park Peak Loop Trail provides a fairly strenuous, 5.2-mile loop in the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area that climbs onto the summit of Park Peak and provides grand views over the Las Vegas Valley. Paved access to the trailhead makes this an easy getaway from town into the black, volcanic mountains that rim the south edge of Las Vegas. These mountains seem to catch a lot of rain, making the Mojave Desert Scrub vegetation fairly robust and diverse in this area.

This is the official BLM 403 Park Peak Loop Trail. Another loop trail, the Park Peak Trail, also climbs to the summit of Park Peak. The major difference between these hikes is that the official trail has a long in-and-out with a short loop in the middle (37% loop), while the Park Peak Trail is a long loop (81% loop) with a short in-and-out at the start and end of the hike.

Link to map.

Park Peak Trail
Cinder-block building atop dam (view SE); trail turns right

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this hike is fairly safe with no unusual hazards. Be careful walking around on the boulder pile that is 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 Sloan Canyon NCA, but it is accessed from urban neighborhoods in the Anthem area of Henderson, as described for the Shadow Canyon Trailhead.

BLM 403Past the cinder-block building, the trail climbs the ridge (view S)

The Hike

From the Shadow Canyon Trailhead, (Table 1, Waypoint 01), this loop starts by running southeast on the paved Anthem East Trail in a well landscaped gully bordered by houses. After about 0.28 miles, a paved trail crosses the Anthem East Trail (Wpt. 02), and by this time, hikers can look out in the distance and see a small cinder-block building on a hill. The hill will turn out to be a dam that catches floodwaters before they affect town.

The paved trail bends a bit left and then splits (Wpt. 03). Here, hikers can go either way, but it is probably easier to turn right on the Anthem East Trail and follow the pavement to the cinder-block building atop the dam (Wpt. 04).

From the cinder-block building (Wpt. 04), trails diverge. The Anthem East Trail turns east to cross the dam, the BLM 404 (Black Mountain) Trail continues straight (northeast), and the BLM 403 (Park Peak Loop) Trail turns right (southwest).

BLM 403
Trail follows powerline road to a fork (view W)

Turning southwest and climbing the steep hill behind the cinder-block building, the trail joins a powerline road atop the ridge. Following the dirt road west, shortly the BLM 403 Trail forks off to the left (Wpt. 16), leaving the dirt road, and enters the National Conservation Area as it heads off into the wildlands.

Beyond the fork, the trail turns south and runs a short distance to a trail junction (Wpt. 15), then continues southeast following the crest of a broad, low ridge. Bypassing the highpoint of the ridge, the trail winds down into a wash off the end of the ridge and arrives at another trail junction (Wpt. 14).

Here, the BLM 403 (Park Peak Loop) Trail continues straight (east). This is, however, the start of the "loop" portion of the trail, and the BLM 403 Trail will eventually return via the trail to the right (south) to close the loop at this point.

BLM 403
Trail passes a fork (view S)

Continuing straight, the BLM 403 Trail runs out to a T-intersection (Wpt. 08). Here, the BLM 402 Connector Trail comes in from the left, while the BLM 403 Trail turns to the right.

Turning south, the BLM 403 Trail crosses a wash and begins to climb the hillside ahead on the left. As the grade steepens, the trail makes seven long switchbacks, runs out to the southwest, makes two more switchbacks, and climbs towards a saddle on the ridgeline (Wpt. 09).

From the saddle, which functionally is the toe of Fracture Ridge, the Park Peak Loop Trail climbs west following the East Ridge of Park Peak. Running up the ridge, the well built trail suddenly ends (Wpt. 10) at the base of a rock pile. Using the plethora of cairns as a guide, hikers can pick their way up through the rocks (barely more than 2nd Class) for the last 25-or-so vertical feet to the summit (Wpt. 11).

BLM 403
Following broad, flat ridge (view SE)

Views from the summit are pretty good for such a low summit. To the west are Mt. Potosi and the Red Rock Canyon cliffs. To the north lie Mt. Charleston, the Sheep Range, the Las Vegas Range, and Frenchman Mountain. Views to the east are short, but give a good vantage of Black Mountain and Fracture Ridge. To the south is a deep canyon and high ridges block much of the long-range view, but the higher peaks in the North McCullough Wilderness are visible to the southwest.

Departing the summit, the route continues west across the top of the summit boulder pile, and before long, the well built trail on the West Ridge comes into view. Climbing down off the boulders (Wpt. 12), the trail starts again and switchbacks down the West Ridge.

After several long switchbacks, the BLM 403 Trail (Park Peak Loop Trail) reaches a trail junction (Wpt. 13) at the turn of the last switchback. Here, the obvious BLM 403 Trail switchbacks right to run northeast, while the faint BLM 101 Trail (Petroglyph Canyon Connector Trail) continues off the point of the switchback to run southwest.

BLM 403
Following broad, flat ridge (view SE)

Now running northeast, the BLM 403 Trail contours down and across the flanks of Park Peak until dropping into the wash below, turning north, and running out to a T-intersection (Wpt. 14).

This point is a bit confusing because the intersection is with the BLM 403 Trail; yes, the BLM 403 Trail intersects the BLM 403 Trail at a T-intersection: this is where the BLM 403 Trail closes the loop.

To return to the trailhead via a different trail, hikers can turn right to the next trail junction (Wpt. 08), then turn left and follow the Connector Trail north to the Black Mountain Trail, then turn left and head back to the cinder-block building and the trailhead.

However, to finish the Park Peak Loop Trail, hikers turn left. Hiking northwest, the trail leads onto a low ridge that eventually bends more to the north. At a fork in the trail (Wpt. 15), the BLM 403 Trail stays right and shortly merges with a powerline road (Wpt. 16). Staying right, the trail shortly turns left and drops off the roadway to the cinder-block building below (Wpt. 04). From here, the hike follows the paved Anthem East Trail back to the trailhead.

BLM 403
Trail bypasses high point on the ridge (view SE)
BLM 403
Trail junction at the start of the official "loop" (view SE)
BLM 403
Trail sign at start of the official "loop;" hikers on trail (view E)
BLM 403
Trail sign at start of the official "loop;" hikers on trail (view S)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 402 Trail ends at Park Peak Trail junction (view S)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Park Peak Trail sign (view S)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail starts up hillside (view SE)
Park Peak Trail
One of several switchbacks on hillside (view E)
Park Peak Trail
Trail climbs towards a saddle and the peak (view SW)
Park Peak Trail
Fracture Ridge (view E from near saddle)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on East Ridge of Park Peak (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers approaching boulder covered summit (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
End of built-trail (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker scrambling up boulders towards summit (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on the summit (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Summit (grand view NW to Las Vegas Strip and Downtown)
Park Peak Trail
Summit register
Park Peak Trail
Summit register in old ammo box
Park Peak Trail
Summit (grand view NW across the Las Vegas Valley)
Park Peak Trail
Summit (grand view W towards Mt. Potosi)
Park Peak Trail
Summit (grand view E to Black Mountain and Fracture Ridge)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail continues off summit across boulder field (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Start of built-trail on west side of summit boulders (view NW)
BLM 403
Looking back: end of trail on W side of summit boulders (view NW)
BLM 403
Hikers on trail (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on trail (view W)
Hikers on trail (view W)
Switchback to the north (view N)
Hikers on trail (view W)
Switchback to the west (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on trail (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers at junction of BLM 403 Trail and BLM 101 Trail (view W)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 101 Trail to Petroglyph Canyon (view SW)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers switchback and continue on BLM 403 Trail (view NE)
Park Peak Loop Trail Park Peak Trail
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail at BLM 403 Trail (closing the official loop)
BLM 403
Hikers starting on the in-and-out part of the hike (view N)
BLM 403
Looking back at trail junction sign (view S)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker on BLM 403 Trail (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker on BLM 403 Trail (view N)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker on BLM 403 Trail (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker on BLM 403 Trail (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker on BLM 403 Trail (view N)
Park Peak Trail
Trail junction; BLM 403 Trail stays right (view N)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail merges with powerline road (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail departs road and drops towards cinder-block building
Park Peak Trail
Back on the pavement (view N)
Park Peak Trail
Returning to the trailhead (view N)
more to come ...

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 673133 3979357 2,966 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Trail Junction 673277 3979000 2,976 0.26 0.26 GPS
03 Trail Junction 673415 3978839 3,021 0.13 0.39 GPS
04 Trail Junction 673476 3978746 3,052 0.11 0.50 GPS
16 Trail Junction 673430 3978613 3,185 0.13 0.63 GPS
15 Trail Junction 673393 3978473 3,212 0.10 0.73 GPS
14 Trail Junction 674230 3977513 3,366 0.90 1.63 GPS
08 Trail Junction 674396 3977485 3,419 0.13 1.76 GPS
09 Saddle 674494 3977047 3,677 0.61 2.37 GPS
10 End of Trail 674312 3977070 3,776 0.18 2.55 GPS
11 Park Peak Summit 674295 3977067 3,813 0.02 2.57 GPS
12 Start of Trail 674269 3977052 3,761 0.02 2.59 GPS
13 Trail Junction 673827 3977210 3,373 0.64 3.23 GPS
14 Trail Junction 674230 3977513 3,366 0.35 3.58 GPS
15 Trail Junction 673393 3978473 3,212 0.90 4.48 GPS
16 Trail Junction 673430 3978613 3,185 0.10 4.58 GPS
04 Trail Junction 673476 3978746 3,052 0.13 4.71 GPS
03 Trail Junction 673415 3978839 3,021 0.11 4.82 GPS
02 Trail Junction 673277 3979000 2,976 0.13 4.95 GPS
01 Trailhead 673133 3979357 2,966 0.26 5.21 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 140206

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