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Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, United States

Charlie's Spring Loop

A Valley of Fire loop hike with great views and water - year round.

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.7 miles / 10.8 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly
 
Overview: This is a hike to a spring that has water year round. The spring seeps out of the ground and runs in a small stream through some grasses that result from this water in an otherwise dry area. There are numerous cat tails and tamarisk. There is evidence of recent rains bringing down mud and gravel when the water ran quickly down the wash to the east.

We parked at an area across from the trailhead. There is room for a few cars before you would block off the entrance to this employee only area. From here, we walked across the road and started down the trail that goes below the John Clark Memorial to a man who died here in June of 1915. There's an interpretive marker along the Valley of Fire Road designated SR 169.

The hike continues down the wash for about 2.75 miles to the spring. Near the spring, there are some interesting falls to climb down (2nd class at most), and the sandstone geology is gorgeous. You can imagine filming a movie in this wash.

Continuing down the wash from the spring which goes on for quite a distance, you come to a power line road that comes in from your right, goes down the wash, and then goes to the left and out of the wash. Take the left turn and hike to the top of the hill. Follow the power line road until you get to the next wash heading west, northwest. Follow this wash staying to the left at most junctions with side washes.

Eventually, you'll be approaching a tall sandstone outcrop. You need to get north of this outcrop. You can either climb up and over and then north, or you can go north at the opportunity that looks best for you. Whatever route you follow, you are merely going cross country. There is no trail.

Eventually, you come out on the Valley of Fire Highway near the east entrance and very close to Elephant Rock. Take the highway west to return to your car. On the way back, look at the Arrowhead Highway historic marker and read the interpretive marker for the John Clark story as you gaze across the wash and see the memorial with its white cross on top.

Happy hiking!


Tips: This hike has almost no shade at all. Bring plenty of water. A Camelbak or similar backpack is best. Wear sunscreen. Do the hike in cooler months, not in July!

Cell phone coverage in non-exiastent in Valley of Fire so download the GPS coordinates at the EveryTrail hike description linked below!

Points of Interest

Landmark
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Trailhead

The trailhead is on the south side of the Valley of Fire Road near the Clark Memorial—a small monument with a cross on top.
Landmark
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John Clark monument

On the hill above the wash is the Clark monument. There are trails to the monument, so you can hike and see it and then get back on trail. There's an interpretive marker on the side of the road that you pass on your return that will tell you about Clark.
Junction
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Main wash

The smaller wash you've been hiking down now goes into the large wash from a higher point. Continue hiking in the wash going east.
Viewpoint
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Dry falls

Eventually, the wash brings you to some dramatic sandstone erosion and dry falls. Stay to your left and it's easy to down climb. The area is beautiful. There are lots of good photo opportunities here.
Landmark
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Charlie's Spring

In this general area, the spring starts and runs down the wash for a long distance. The water flows up through the sand and gravel. You'll see a number of reeds growing here and Cat o' Nine Tails—unusual for the desert—and grasses of different kinds.
Junction
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Turn

This is the place you make a turn north and head up the steep hill to start you route back. This is a power line road and it's easy to see.
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Turn 2

After walking the power line road for a short distance on the top of the hill, you come to another was coming in from the northwest. Take this wash.
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Out of wash

Eventually the wash narrows so much, it's best to climb up out of it or take a side wash. I chose to climb out of it, head north, and come out of this section of the hike near the east entrance fee booth.
Junction
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Road

You can see the road from the ridge. This is near the east entrance fee area for Valley of Fire. Turn left and follow the road up the hill and down to the car.
Landmark
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Elephant Rock

There is a sandstone formation that's one of the most photographed in Valley of Fire. It's on the opposite side of the road but you have a great view of it.
Information
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Nevada Historical Marker

There's a state historical marker here about the Arrowhead Trail, the historic road between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. It went through here.
Information
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John J. Clark Marker

This is the place where there's an interpretive marker to describe why the Clark Monument is where it is. Stop and read about Clark and the folly of being in the desert without enough water.
Pictures in this guide taken by: LVHiker

Charlie's Spring Loop Trail Map


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About the Author

LVHiker
LVHiker
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I love hiking in the Southwestern United States.

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