1st Creek Waterfall Hike

Mommy Vegas Idea #29

1st Creek Falls – A hidden oasis in an endlessly beautiful desert

000_0032While it’s hard to pick a favorite Red Rock hike, 1st Creek is hands-down my favorite this side of the fee area. This short and technically easy trail is great for young, but slightly seasoned hikers. This was the first hike Little Bear leaped out of the sling and decided to try his own little hiker’s legs, and actually made it about 1/2 way on his own and he wasn’t even a year old. *Which cracks me up considering he’s now a preschooler and demanding a ride after only a few hundred meters!*

First Creek Trail and Waterfall

DSCN3773Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance:  About 3 miles round trip
Other Notes: Be sure to avoid
feeding the Burros.

 

Note: this is NOT located on the Red Rock Scenic Route (the portion within the Park).

 

This is an amazing hike to explore a diverse array of habitat and terrain, much of which is fairly family friendly, but all hikes can be dangerous and or strenuous. Be sure to know the abilities of all the individuals in your party and be equipped for just about anything. As with all hikes, be sure to carry water, bring snacks, wear hats and sunscreen and tell someone where you’re heading prior to leaving.

This is a shorter hike, only about 3 miles total, but can be a slow journey, particularly with tiny legs. Be sure to allow plenty of time (at least a couple of hours), lock your car, and leave valuables at home.

Be prepared to lug smaller children around, particularly on the way back.

*As with all hike descriptions, this is an informational post and not intended as a map or stand alone guide. Always research new places before visiting, and be equipped with the appropriate equipment to keep you and your party safe. Remember when ever you hike, you are hiking at your own risk.

Getting there

About 4 miles South of the Visitor Center and Entrance to Red Rock Scenic Loop

If you are coming from the Southeast side of Vegas or coming in from Pahrump, take Highway 160/Blue Diamond to the Red Rock turnoff, then travel NW on Highway 159. You’ll see a dirt turnoff to your left (West) about midway to the entrance to the scenic loop. It is past the town of Blue Diamond, Bonnie Springs, Spring Mountain Ranch, but before Oak Creek the exit from the Scenic Loop.

If you are coming from the Summerlin side of Vegas, you will continue on Charleston past the Scenic Loop and Red Rock Visitor’s Center about 4 miles or so. There will be a dirt turnoff to your right, after Oak Creek but before you reach Mountain Springs Ranch and Bonnie Springs.

The Hike DSCN9009Venture carefully through the wooden turn gate or “burro gate” (this will undoubtedly tickle the littles, I know Bug will repeat the action at least a half dozen times each visit). Older kids may enjoy hypothesizing as to why these convoluted apertures are coined “burro gates.” Which brings me to a critical point regarding the fuzzy faces you are likely to see. DSCN9043

Burros/Donkeys/Asses are fun to watch and uber cute in a bobble-headed giant rabbit meets pony kinda way, but there’s a whopper of a fine if you feed them, and it really isn’t in your best interest to try and pet them. They seem docile, but don’t mistake their confidence for an invitation to engage them. They have big teeth planted in well exercised jaws, which are more than adequate for finger removal, but it’s their namesake end to really watch out for!  These guys aren’t skiddish like horses, their rumps are seemingly spring loaded and either end is likely to stomp, kick, strike and even charge anything they deem threatening. So enjoy our feral friends, but give them their space and be sure the kiddlettes are aware of their potential and take appropriate caution.

Once you breach the gate you’ll go through a rocky wash** and then you’re free sailing on a smooth graded trail for about a mile.

**Many desert trails are associated with washes, as such it’s always best to avoid desert hiking in rainy weather. NEVER enter or attempt to cross a flooded wash. When possible, turn back if a sunny day begins to turn stormy.  DSCN9013

There are a few places that require a helping hand and a sure foot or two, but most of the trail is smooth and easy to follow. That being said, it’s not particularly stroller friendly, but this path is well traveled by the trail ride groups, and let’s be honest, you don’t take city-slickers on a crazy rough trail while perched precariously atop an unfamiliar horse. The roughest portion of the trail is the final decent to the hidden grotto nestled in the creek cut gully to the North of the main trail. You’ll have about a mile or so of smooth marked trail until you can cut off onto a small network of “goat paths,” as my dad calls them. As the trail starts to near the canyon, you’ll notice some of these off-shoots here and there. DSCN9014Feel free to take one of these, moving Northwest as you travel closer to the canyon. DSCN9015Once you find the low rocky, often dry in places creek bed, you’ll want to begin traveling up it towards the mountains.DSCN9032 The trees will grow more numerous and the leaves broader and denser until you reach the grotto which is largely shrouded by ferns, deciduous trees and grape vines in the late Spring and Summer, but rather exposed from late Fall to mid-Spring.   DSCN9034If you like your surroundings and the munchkins aren’t totally beat, you’ll want to continue up the canyon some more to explore more lush habitat. When you’ve had your fill, scamper back on down the trail to the car. We always like to have everyone pick up a few pieces of trash on their way back. We ask that if you enjoy the hikes we share, you consider doing the same.

Happy Hiking!

-Candice

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