One of the beautiful peaks in the obscure southern end of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (more commonly referred to as ‘Red Rock’, or ‘Red Rocks’) of southern Nevada, Windy Peak is a fine desert peak that gets a surprisingly high amount of visitation, no doubt owing to a well-traveled use trail that can be followed virtually all the way from the “trailhead” to the summit.
Nestled between Mud Spring Canyon and Windy Canyon, Windy Peak is the first peak to the south of the well-known Black Velvet Peak, which hosts Epinephrine
, one of the classic climbs of Red Rock. Though not as well known for its stellar climbing routes as Black Velvet Peak, it does have some climbing routes
of note, such as Jubilant Song (5.8) and Hot Fudge Thursday (5.9).
On a lighter note, for those mainly looking to grab the summit of the peak, and eager to check out the surprisingly excellent views from its top, and in consideration of the lame, loose and uninteresting characteristics of the use trail mentioned above, I suggest a frequently used class 3 variation that is short, enjoyable and highly scenic. The roundtrip numbers for this class 3 variation are in the ballpark of 2200 feet of gain and 6 miles. A nice and easy day out.
Among other things besides the fantastic views, of particular interest on the summit is an ongoing debate between locals in the summit register as to whether the peak is actually Black Velvet Peak itself (and not Windy Peak). I’m not sure what the rationale is behind the Black Velvet Peak advocates’ stance, but the peak is unquestionably Windy. Amusing, if nothing else. Life is full of such little dramas.
*You might also check out a fledgling outdoor site (www.backcountry-explorer.com), which provides access to trip reports, beta, photos and other stuff covering hiking, scrambling, climbing and canyoneering around Las Vegas. A new hiking and scrambling guidebook, Rambles & Scrambles: The Definitive Guide to Peakbagging Around Las Vegas, is now available.
From downtown Las Vegas, get on highway 15 and travel south to highway 160 (the road to Pahrump).
Turning onto highway 160, follow it west for many miles toward the beautiful sandstone bluffs of southern Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (RRCNCA).
Before reaching the NCA, you’ll pass by highway 159 (Blue Diamond Road), which takes you to the park. Instead of turning onto highway 159, continue on highway 160 for another 5 ½ miles or so until you come to mile marker 16.
Just past marker 16 is a dirt road on the right. Turn here.
Once on the dirt road, you will encounter a fork in about 200 yards. Either fork will take you to where you need to go, but I found the right fork to be in worse condition.
That said, take the right fork and follow it for about ½ mile or so until you come to a prominent dirt road heading off in a perpendicular fashion to the right. Turn here.
Once on this road, follow it toward the mountains. Although side roads branch off a couple of times, I found that they were all merely loops that took you right back to the main road.
As you approach the peaks in the distance, the road will bend right and start to parallel the bluffs. Drive to a point that seems reasonably close and look for one of any number of pull-outs to put your vehicle in.
Though road conditions vary, depending on the season and other factors, I would anticipate that a high clearance vehicle (at a minimum) would be needed for this approach. Fortunately, you park your vehicle only a mile or two from the highway. You could certainly park closer to the highway and walk in the extra distance if your vehicle couldn't make it the whole way.
The “trailhead” is outside of the RRCNCA Scenic Loop area; therefore, no fees are required.
Windy Peak is located in a wilderness area…so no bicycles, cars, ATV’s, etc.
When To Climb
Spring and fall are unquestionably the best times, though ascents can be and are done year round. Ice on the ramp in winter could present some issues.
Though on BLM land, no desert camping is allowed in this area. Backcountry camping is allowed above 5000 ft (with permit).
Although there are no established camping areas within the RRCNCA Scenic Loop area, the Red Rock Canyon Campground is nearby and accepts walk-ins. To get to the campground, head back to the intersection of highway 160 and highway 159 and head east. After about 8-10 miles (or so), you’ll pass by the signed turn-off for the park’s visitor’s center. Continue east two miles on Hwy 159 from the visitor's center to Moenkopi Road and turn south. The campground entrance is located one mile south of Hwy 159 on Moenkopi Road.
for the Las Vegas area.
You can also call 702-363-1921 to talk with someone at the visitor’s center.