Red and Black Mountains via River Mountains Trail

Page Type
Nevada, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Red and Black Mountains via River Mountains Trail
Created On: Mar 25, 2012
Last Edited On: Mar 25, 2012


This is the recommended route up Black and/or Red Mountain. It is longer and more difficult than the Bootleg Wash Route, but it is also a much more scenic route and the trail is in good condition.

Once climbing to a saddle the trail leads to the either to the east summit of Red Mountain (a communication tower adorns the west summit) or right to the south summit of Black Mountain which is 3540 feet elevation. The true summit is to the north and is 3628 feet elevation. I am not sure if off-trail hiking is allowed in order to reach the more northerly summit. The route doesn’t look that difficult, but since this is a trail constructed through a natural easement of Boulder City, off trail hiking might not be encouraged.

Black MountainBlack Mountain as seen from near the summit of Red Mountain.

Getting There

The River Mountain Trailhead is located right at the north end of Boulder City. If approaching Boulder City from the west, take a left at the second stoplight (towards Hoover Dam) [this is the junction of Nevada Highway and Buchanan/Highway 93) and drive 0.7 miles to the marked trailhead.

Red MountainRed Mountain as seen from not far above the River Mountains Trailhead.

Route Description

This is a good trail, but near the beginning, it has several somewhat confusing junctions, at least if any signs are missing.

The trail starts at kiosk and follows a concrete ditch for 100 yards before turning left. After a short distance, the trail reaches a junction. Turn left here (the trail is marked). Remember that you are aiming for the saddle between Red and Black Mountains (it is obvious which is which by their colors!).

The trail enters a canyon and climbs steadily, but not too steeply to the saddle between the two peaks. This is about 2 miles from the trailhead.

Red Mountain

To climb Red Mountain, turn left at the saddle. The trail reaches a road, crosses it and then heads up to the summit. This is 0.3 miles from the saddle.

Black Mountain

To climb Black Mountain, turn right at the saddle and follow the trail to the south summit of Black Mountain. This is about 0.6 miles to the summit.

View east from the summitView east from the summit of Black Mountain on a nice day in late November. Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam and the Bridge can all be seen.

Climbing Red Mountain is 4.6 miles round trip with about 1200 feet elevation gain. Climbing Black Mountain is 5.2 miles round trip with 1200 feet elevation gain. Climbing both peaks is 5.8 miles round trip with about 1550 feet elevation gain.

Essential Gear

A good pair of boots is needed. Bring plenty of water when it is warm (which is most of the year!).