Pine Creek Canyon actually splits into two trails. On this hike we followed the trail into the Northern Canyon which is also called Fern Canyon. Fern Canyon is a nice change of scenery from the usual hiking trails in and around Las Vegas. It was a pleasant surprise to hear water trickling down rocks into large pools and be surrounded by huge pine trees and lush greenery. From what I have read the water flows year round and the time of year will determine the volume of water coming through.
The trail itself starts out fairly easy and the further you go into the canyon it gets more challenging with some large boulder scrambling. There are many times you will be crossing over the creek so you may get a little wet depending on the time of the year. Along the way you may see climbers clinging to the canyon walls as this is a popular climbing area. You can determine the length of the hike since it is a down and back.
To get there pull into the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area off of State Highway 159. Follow the scenic drive around for about 10 miles until you get to the Pine Creek trail head. The trail starts out fairly easy moving downhill into a wash. About .25 miles into the hike you will pass the fire ecology trail and a little further in you will pass a trail that goes to Ice Box Canyon. Keep going straight along the path. You can also drop into the creek bed and follow that for a little more of a challenge. Along the way you will pass the foundation of an old homestead home. Keep following the trail as it curves to the west until you come to a fork. Stay to the right and this will take you into the North fork.
At this point you can follow the trail as it works its way past some interesting rock formations or you can drop down to the creek bed. Either way you will hear the water as it trickles over boulders and logs in the creek. The further you move into the canyon the brush will become thicker and the trail will be harder to follow. There are usually multiple trails to follow so if one gets to be too difficult just look for another way through. If you are following the higher trail, I recommend dropping down to the creek bed every now and them to enjoy the shade and water.
If you travel far enough into the canyon there will be giant boulders that block your path that look like it might end your hike. Just take a moment and look around for an alternative route around the obstacles. After about a mile into the hike the trail becomes increasingly more difficult so you can try out your scrambling skills. Some of the views are well worth the efforts. We only went a little over 1.5 miles into the canyon before turning around so I am not sure if it dead ends or connects to another trail but would love to hear from anyone else who has made it further.
I do have to say that I really enjoyed this hike but there has not really been any hikes in Red Rock that have disappointed me. The scenery was beautiful and it was challenging enough to make it a really nice workout. Our hike which was about 3.5 miles took about four hours but we stopped several times to enjoy everything around us. I would recommend this hike for anyone who is a beginner to the more experienced hikers.
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