This is a challenging route to North Peak from the Willow Springs picnic area. There is a lot of 4th class climbing including perhaps a dozen dry falls and this is a canyon seldom traveled or viewed even by canyoneers. The roundtrip hike takes about 5 hours gaining about 2,800’ vertical. The recommended descent is a loop through Graffiti canyon which is the next canyon north of Lost Creek canyon.
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. You should allow about 30 minutes driving time from the strip to the entrance station at Red Rock.
Begin hiking southwest toward a cliff face shown in the start of route photo.
Start of route exposed climbing climb 2nd falls on right
The route goes up the right side of the cliff face and heads south (left) along the top edge of a small plateau for about ¼ mile until you reach the foot of Lost Creek canyon. Round the corner to your right when you reach Lost Creek canyon and head toward the first falls. About half way there, look for a cairn marking a climb on your right that enables you to work your way close to the same elevation as the top of the falls coming out of Lost Creek canyon. Work your way up and down as you traverse toward the top of the falls. The final few feet of the traverse is one of the more difficult portions of the entire climb since it can’t be protected. When you reach the top of the falls you begin working your way up the canyon and the next couple of falls are best climbed on the right.
To make it interesting the next couple of falls are easiest on the left and after that you will find climbing one or the other side of the many falls is possible until reaching the “cavern”
This is climbed by going under and up through the boulder heading counterclockwise and then up and across the steeply pitched top.
After an hour or so, the canyon branches and you should take the right branch for a short distance and then when it branches again, take the left branch. This branch will take you to the head of the canyon and a ridge overlooking Ice Box canyon on your left. After a break to enjoy the sights, continue up the steep face that drops down to this ridge.
steep face climbing the face looking down canyon
Follow the cairns at the top of this face for a short distance looking to work your way to the right where the next face can be climbed. At the top of that face, working back to your left, follow the cairns and your intuition to reach the top. At this point you will see North Peak in the near distance and can cross the plateau toward it with no more difficult climbing.
From North Peak, head NW toward Graffiti canyon the start of which can be seen in the distance. Either drop into Graffiti canyon at the head, or better, continue to the far ridge above the canyon and visit the small peak at the right end.
From this peak, head further north to enter the N fork of Graffiti canyon after climbing down the ridge between the main fork and the N fork. Eventually, the N fork will merge into the main canyon and take you back to your vehicle.
If you opt to drop into the first canyon north of North Peak, which is a branch of Lost Creek canyon, descend several hundred feet looking for a significant ledge system on your left that will enable you traverse across a ridge separating the first canyon and Graffiti canyon which is on your left. Follow the ledge around to the left and continue across a thin traverse to climb down on the far side into the start of Graffiti canyon
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.