This is the peak at the head of Oak Creek canyon and can be seen as one approaches the canyon looming in the center background. It splits the canyon into two forks, north and south and the traditional route to the summit follows the south fork up canyon before reaching a cutoff roughly beneath the summit and heading up out of the canyon on your right. The climb should take a fit hiker about 5-6 hours. Views from the summit provide a unique perspective of both Mt Wilson and Rainbow Peak. The route described offers an airy incredibly long class 3-4 climb. Where you initially climb out of the canyon to climb to the ridge there is a knobby, exposed easy class 5 pitch. Estimated roundtrip distance is 6.5 miles and elevation gain about 2200'.
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. There are a couple of trailheads that can be used for this climb. My preference is a pullout from Hwy 159 about 2.6 miles SW of the entrance to Red Rocks. (.6 mile past the exit from the 13 mile loop road) The other trailhead is reached by driving around the 13 mile loop and taking the Oak Creek trailhead exit which is the one after Pine Creek parking area and involves driving perhaps ½ mile on a gravel road. The hiking distance is about 5 minutes longer from Hwy 159.
National Park entrance fees apply in Red Rock National Conservation area. Hours of operations vary by season. See Red Rock NCA Home Page
There is a campground located south of SR159 two miles east of the entrance to RRCNCA. There is no developed campground within Red Rock NCA, although backcountry camping with a permit is allowed.
Follow the trail chosen to the foot of the canyon enjoying the views of Mt Wilson on the left side of the canyon (south) and Rainbow Peak on the right side. It is about 1 ½ miles across the desert to the mouth of the canyon. If you hike from the highway, there is no need to worry about hours of operation for Red Rock so you can start or finish whenever you like. This trail used to be an old jeep trail and when you reach any junctions, head either toward the canyon or take the right fork if neither is heading toward the canyon.
Approach from Hwy
When you reach the canyon, watch for a trail that follows the right hand side above the wash. This will get you up canyon a ¼ mile or so before ending at a junction that heads down into the wash on your left. From this point, note where you start bouldering up the wash for your reference on the return. The bouldering is very enjoyable and meanders back and forth between the left and right sides of the canyon. After about an hour, you will reach a fork where the canyon splits and goes past Oak Creek Peak on either the north or south. Take the left (south) fork and look to start climbing up a large gully south of the prominent East ridge that heads steeply toward the summit.
Gully near start
As you climb up this gully, observe the ridge on your right and climb past the first two sections of wall before traversing right to actually start climbing the ridge. It may be possible to reach the ridge lower, but the exposure on the traverses is extreme and makes it much preferable to bypass the excitement.
First wall to climb up to ridge
When you reach the ridge, it can be followed for nearly 1,500’ vertical with an airy class 4 climb that is unparalleled in Red Rocks.
looking up east ridge heading up view down
Picture the climbing of the “nose” of Bridge mountain, but continuing almost to the summit of Oak Creek Peak. Below the summit block you reach a large overhang
Roof blocking E Ridge
and there is a ledge running around both directions. The right hand ends rather abruptly overlooking a huge drop into a large bowl and beneath a large smooth vertical wall. If you go over to check this perch out, head back and start around the left side of the ledge that will allow you to traverse completely around the summit before joining the standard route and heading up to your right.
Ledge beneath roof
A more direct approach is to follow this ledge about 20 yards, past a narrow portion, and turn right to climb up a chimney system (the crux of this route) that will top out above the overhang that blocked you initially. There you can return to climbing up the ridge a short distance looking for a shelf on your right that can be safely crossed before taking the next crack system on your left.
Last wall before top
From here you top out just below the summit which is an easy stroll.
The return is best done as a loop either down into the north fork or down to the south fork and back out Oak Creek canyon. If choosing the north fork, head west a hundred yards before starting working you way NW down toward the canyon below. Continue working down and left until you can drop into the canyon safely.(A more aggressive descent can be done by heading southerly directly toward the S fork of Oak Crk crossing a couple of small ridges along the way)
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