Mud Springs Route

Page Type
Nevada, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hiking, Scrambling
Spring, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Most of a day

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Created On: Mar 16, 2006
Last Edited On: Mar 19, 2006


This is one of the most scenic routes in Red Rock Canyon passing by one of the best waterfall in all of Red Rock. The route is basically the climbers descent route from the climbs Chuckawalla 21 5.9 or The Sidewinder 5.7.
Once in Mud Springs Canyon it's none-stop scrambling all the way to the summit.

Distance: 6 miles – Up and back
Elevation gain: 2,100 feet
Elevation peak: 5,900 feet
Time: 5 to 6 hours (car to car)

Getting There

From the Las Vegas Strip head south and turn right (west) onto State Route 160 (Blue Diamond Highway). Drive 15.3 miles on 160 to an unmarked gravel road on the right. Turn right onto the gravel road. (If you pass mile marker 16, you’ve gone too far.) Drive 1.4 miles and turn left onto a gravel road. Drive 0.9 of a mile to a small pullout along the right side of the road. A high clearence vehicle is needed.

Route Description

From where you parked, look across the small wash for a cairn. Follow a path down the hill and across the wash to the cairn. The path continues at the cairn. Follow it about 70 yards until you intersect a mountain bike trail. Turn (north) right onto the mountain bike trail and follow it across another wash. The mountain bike trail parallels the wash for several hundred yards. When the wash curves away from the mountain bike trail, look for a hiker’s path that comes in from the left. Hike west on this path until it fades and continue to an obvious boulder to the right of the canyon.
Obvious boulder

From the boulder continue west into the mouth of the canyon by staying high along the north (right) side of the slope and follow a faint path, marked by cairns, for several hundred yards. When the path becomes blocked by scrub oak, turn south (left) and enter the wash at the boulder.
Scramble a few hundred yards through the wash toward the lower waterfall. When you get within 50 yards of the waterfall, look for a cairn on a large boulder. There’s a path that weaves through the dense brush to a low angled slab. Scramble up the slab veering south (left) to avoid loose rock. Head for the obvious saddle.
There’s a large cairn just before the top of the saddle. From the saddle veer south (left) to a ramp. Descend the ramp a few hundred yards to a cairn marking an easy route that descends into the wash. Cross the wash and follow cairns through the brush and up a loose chute. Bear left at a juniper and cairn onto the sandstone shoulder. Continue up the shoulder following cairns. If you encounter any climbing harder than class 3, you are off course. When you come to the top of the shoulder, the far end of the canyon is visible. Continue west looking for cairns and obvious weaknesses in the rock.
Soon a three tier waterfall comes into view to the south. The route eventfully climbs to the left of the upper falls. Follow cairns as you head for the deep gully below the waterfall. (You’ll enter the gully past the waterfall and descend to a ramp that leads to the waterfall.) Follow cairns passing a still-standing, dead tree to a small shoulder and climb it. A large cairn sits at the far side of the shoulder. Work you way up the sandstone paralleling the gully below about 100 yards until you can drop into the gully. Once in the gully, descend about 75 yards to a ramp. Walk the ramp, go around the corner, across wide ledges, and descend to the pool and waterfall. Scramble up to the left of the waterfall. Once above the top waterfall, bear left and scramble up a sandstone drainage. Continue several hundred yards to a cairn by a large, still-standing, dead tree. Move left onto sandstone slabs. Work your way up the slabs toward a window. Well before the window turn left and climb a chute. (Be careful of loose rock.) The summit is visible from the top of the chute.
This summit is the higher of the two peaks. The lower peak is where rock climbers top out. That peak was named by Joanna Urioste back in the seventies.

Essential Gear

A rope (75 feet)might be helpful for those not comfortable with exposure.

External Links

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Mud Springs Route

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