This is a half day loop scramble from the Willow Springs picnic area to the summit of White Rock Mountain and back. You gain about 2,250’ in elevation and there is some nice bouldering up the gully. If you pick your route carefully nothing exceeds 3rd class. This is an easily accessible mountain with a myriad of scrambling routes all around it. Most visitors are content to do the 10K hike around the base of the mountain and would be surprised by some of the nice climbing on the sandstone above them.
From Charleston Blvd and the 215 Beltway in the western part of Las Vegas, take Charleston Blvd. (Highway 159) west for about 5 miles until you reach the entrance to Red Rock Canyon NCA. Once inside the park, follow the 13 mile loop road for about 6 miles to the Willow Springs cut off. Follow this road almost to the end of the paved portion which will put your vehicle near the exit from Graffiti canyon. There is a restroom on your right and some interesting ancient art on the sandstone near the beginning of the trail. You should allow about 30 minutes driving time from the strip to the entrance station at Red Rock.
Start counterclockwise on the 10K trail that goes around White Rock Mountain and follow it up onto a small plateau that you pass on a northerly course. Look for the East Gully on your left and leave the trail before it drops down toward a wash to head toward the Gully. As you approach, look for cairns and once you find them the route is fairly well marked.
Climb through a large hole you will see in the boulders as you ascend. Continue until reaching a dead ponderosa pine
which you pass just before heading right into the upper canyon that joins the main canyon at this point.
Follow the cairns all the way to the summit.
After enjoying a snack and the views, look to your south toward North Peak
View south to N Peak
and start heading in that direction again following the cairns. After descending in a generally southerly direction for about 1,000’ the route begins a long traverse back to the East (left) and about the same elevation. Continue almost all the way to a viewpoint above where you left your car before descending the last 1,000’. Again there are numerous cairns along the route and if you get off the route, there are many variations available for getting back to the start. Note however, that there is a difficult cliff band beneath you on the long traverse and the best areas to down climb are found at either end of the traverse.
National Park entrance fees apply in Red Rock National Conservation area. Hours of operations vary by season. See Red Rock NCA Home Page
When to Climb
Spring and Fall are the peak seasons as it becomes extremely hot in the summer. Winter can be an excellent time as well unless snow and ice accumulate from winter storms making the scrambling too hazardous. This is most likely to occur in January and February.