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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

White Rock Loop

A hike in Red Rock Canyon with great contrast.

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.3 miles / 10.1 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: This hike at Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, Nevada is a study in contrast. You are always in the Mojave Desert, but it looks markedly different depending on your elevation and the amount of precipitation the area gets.

With the White Rock Loop, you see typical desert plants. On the west side of the mountain, hidden from the Scenic Drive, is a hidden forest of juniper and pinyon. It's a great contrast to the barren east side.

Tips: If you want to get the elevation part of the hike over quicker, hike clockwise from the picnic area.  You will have the elevation gain compressed into a shorter distance.  Once at the saddle, most of the hike is downhill from there.

It's best to have hiking boots and not expect to do this hike with sneakers. A backpack with a plenty of water is necessary for desert hydration.

I generally hike with shorts and this hike doesn't require hiking pants.

There is a small water source near the trail and bighorn sheep are seen periodically here. It depends sometimes on how many people have been on trail already and what time of day you go. Always keep your eyes open as you scan the sandstone cliffs. Generally you don't see bighorn sheep unless they move.

Points of Interest



At this spot, there are several handprints on the sandstone wall. The area is fenced to keep people from getting to the rock art and perhaps damaging it through touching. Next to this area is a roasting pit used by the native Americans. There are interpretive markers at each site.

The trail continues

This is one of the views you have of the trail as it descends into the wash below and then back up the other side.

Spring flower

A Mariposa Lily blooming along the trail. They are quite lovely and very delicate.

White Rock Spring

The small concrete basin that holds spring water brought by pipe from the White Rock Mountain.


There is a pit toilet at this parking lot - the White Rock trail parking lot.

Iron deposits

The sandstone formations near the parking lot show the nodules of iron ore that are "rusting" as time progresses. Eventually these nodules fall of the sandstone.

Fork in the trail

This is the turnoff for the Keystone Thrust Trail. The last time I hiked this trail, the Penn State Alumni letters were almost unreadable. I'm not sure if they're still the trail monitors.

More flowers

These are paint plants - sometimes called Indian paintbrushes. They like the limestone soil as you gain the higher elevations.

The view

The hidden forest of Red Rock Canyon. The view of the area behind White Rock Mountain.

Western side

This is the western side of White Rock Mountain with its many amazing sandstone formations.


The conglomerate formation known as shinarump with a pine tree growing in the "window."


This is one of my favorite views along the trail as it leads through the juniper and pinyon of the area.

Another fork

This is the point where the White Rock Loop Trail meets the La Madre Springs trail.
Pictures in this guide taken by: LVHiker

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About the Author

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I love hiking in the Southwestern United States.

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