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

Overview

The Park Peak Trail provides a fairly strenuous, 5.4-mile loop in the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area that climbs to 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 volcanic mountains that rim the south edge of Las Vegas.

This loop makes use of four trails: Anthem East Trail, BLM 404 (Black Mountain) Trail, BLM 402 (Connector) Trail, and BLM 403 (Park Peak Loop) Trail.

This hike makes a loop to the summit of Park Peak, but there is another trail, the official BLM 403 (Park Peak Loop) Trail, that also makes a loop to the summit. The major difference between these hikes is that this hike has a long loop (81% loop) with a short in-and-out, while the official trail has a long in-and-out with a short loop (37% loop).

Link to map.

Park Peak Trail
Road crosses paved trail (view SE)

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.

Park Peak Trail
Approaching turn to climb atop dam (view SE)

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 retention 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 turn east to cross the dam, the BLM 404 (Black Mountain) Trail continues straight (northeast), and the BLM 403 (the official Park Peak Loop) Trail turns right (southwest).

Park Peak Trail
Cinder-block building atop dam (view SE)

Continuing on the Black Mountain Trail, the hike leaves the pavement following a dirt foot path that contours southeast around to the back of the retention basin (Wpt. 05). Continuing across the cement-covered slope above the retention basin, at about the middle of the concrete (Wpt. 06), the Black Mountain Trail (marked by a wooden sign) turns to the right, enters the National Conservation Area, and heads up into the wildlands.

The Black Mountain Trail climbs onto a low ridge and follows the ridgeline up to the southeast. This ridge is the West Ridge of Black Mountain. The trail starts up the toe of the ridge, but as the slope steepens, the trail begins to switchback up as it winds among rocky outcrops.

Eventually the grade eases and the trail drops gradually into a broad saddle and a trail junction (Wpt. 07). Here, the BLM 404 Trail (Black Mountain Trail) continues east while the BLM 402 Trail (Connector Trail) turns southwest.

Park Peak Trail
Dirt trail contours above retention basin (view SE)

Following the BLM 402 Trail (Connector Trail), the trail descends off the side of the ridge, then turns and drops across the slope into the wash below. The well defined trail winds among boulders, washes, and joshua trees as it runs south to a trail junction (Wpt. 08). Here, the BLM 402 Trail (Connector Trail) ends at the BLM 403 Trail (Park Peak Loop Trail), which comes in from the right and continues straight ahead.

Continuing 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).

Park Peak Trail
Trail runs atop cement-covered slope (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.

Park Peak Trail
Trail runs atop cement-covered slope (view NE)

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 official BLM 403 Trail closes the loop.

To return to the trailhead from the way they came, hikers can turn right to the next trail junction (Wpt. 08), then turn left and retrace the route back to the trailhead. However, to make more of a loop, hikers can turn left and hike northwest.

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), closing the loop. From here, the hike follows the paved Anthem East Trail back to the trailhead.

Park Peak Trail
Dirt trail turns off at Black Mountain Trail sign (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
Black Mountain Trail sign (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
Well defined trail climbs ridge (view SE)
Park Peak Trail
Well defined trail runs along ridge (view SE)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 404 (Black Mountain) and BLM 402 (Connector) trail junction
Park Peak Trail
BLM 402 Trail to Park Peak (view E)
Park Peak Trail
Trail to Park Peak runs towards Park Peak (view S)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 404 (Black Mountain) and BLM 402 (Connector) trail junction
Park Peak Trail
BLM 402 (Connector) trail descends off ridge
Park Peak Trail
Keep an eye out for the locals (Collared Lizard)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 402 (Connector) trail crosses broad valley (view south)
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
Park Peak Trail at Old Fracture Ridge (view SW) Don't go this way
Park Peak Trail
Old Fracture Ridge (view E from Park Peak Trail) Don't go this way
Park Peak Trail
Park Peak Trail at New Fracture Ridge (view SW)
Park Peak Trail
Park Peak Trail at New Fracture Ridge (view SW)
Park Peak Trail
Fracture Ridge (view E from Park Peak Trail)
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 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 NW to Las Vegas Strip and Downtown)
Park Peak Trail
Summit (grand view E to Black Mountain and Fracture Ridge)
Park Peak Trail
Summit (grand view W towards Mt. Potosi)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on the summit (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail continues off summit across boulder field (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Looking back at hikers descending off summit boulder pile (view SE)
Park Peak Trail
Start of built-trail on west side of summit boulders (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on trail (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on trail (view W)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker at junction of BLM 403 Trail and BLM 101 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
Hiker traversing hillside (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers switchback and continue on BLM 403 Trail (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on BLM 403 Trail (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail at BLM 403 Trail (closing the official loop)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail at BLM 403 Trail (closing the official loop)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers on BLM 403 "connector" trail (view E)
Park Peak Trail
Continuing on BLM 403 Trail towards next little hill (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker on BLM 403 Trail (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker on BLM 403 Trail (view NW)
Park Peak Trail Park Peak Trail
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
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 follows powerline road for short distance (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
Hikers traversing hillside past powerline road (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
Switchbacking down hillside (view NE)
Park Peak Trail
Switchbacking down hillside (view NW)
Park Peak Trail
BLM 403 Trail drops towards cinder-block building (view N)
Park Peak Trail
Hiker approaching cinder-block building (view E)
Park Peak Trail
Trail sign at edge of pavement (view S)
Park Peak Trail
Back on the pavement (view N)
Park Peak Trail
Returning to the trailhead (view N)
More to come
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
05 Trail Junction 673582 3978631 3,086 0.10 0.60 GPS
06 Top of Retention Basin 673680 3978654 3,055 0.06 0.66 GPS
07 Trail Junction 674316 3978158 3,398 0.70 1.36 GPS
08 Trail Junction 674396 3977485 3,419 0.58 1.94 GPS
09 Saddle 674494 3977047 3,677 0.60 2.54 GPS
10 End of Trail 674312 3977070 3,776 0.18 2.72 GPS
11 Park Peak Summit 674295 3977067 3,813 0.02 2.74 GPS
12 Start of Trail 674269 3977052 3,761 0.02 2.76 GPS
13 Trail Junction 673827 3977210 3,373 0.64 3.40 GPS
14 Trail Junction 674230 3977513 3,366 0.35 3.75 GPS
15 Trail Junction 673393 3978473 3,212 0.91 4.66 GPS
16 Trail Junction 673430 3978613 3,185 0.10 4.76 GPS
04 Trail Junction 673476 3978746 3,052 0.12 4.88 GPS
03 Trail Junction 673415 3978839 3,021 0.11 4.99 GPS
02 Trail Junction 673277 3979000 2,976 0.13 5.12 GPS
01 Trailhead 673133 3979357 2,966 0.26 5.38 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170827

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