Nightmare Gulch in Rock Canyon State Park attracts many
raptors. In order to protect the raptor nesting sites, the gulch is closed to hikers and vehicle travel yearly from February 1 to July 1.
The cross-country route starts just a half mile north of the entrance to the park at a small turn out on the east side of the highway. The route travels north then east around ridge tops offering panoramic views of the gulch and the Southern Sierra Nevada, then descends and turns south to the entrance of Nightmare Gulch.
The gulch is filled with side slot canyons just waiting to explore. After exiting the gulch turn north to head back to the trail head.
LENGTH 8.8 mile loop trip
TRAIL HEAD Half mile north of the entrance to Red Rock State Park at a small turn out on the east side of the highway
DIFFICULTY Easy to moderate
BEST TIME TO HIKE September – January 31 (can be very hot during the middle of summer) the area is closed February 1-July 1
There are several possible cross-country routes into the canyon. The moderate level of this hike makes it a great family hike. A camera is a must on this trip. Watch for raptor nests in the cliffs above the canyon.
For a shorter hike option enter the gulch from Red Cliffs day area, then retrace your steps.