Willow Springs | Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area

Hiking Willow Springs - Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area Hiking Willow Springs

Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area

Overview

RATING: Easy hike
MAPS: LA MADRE SPRING, NV; LA MADRE MOUNTAIN, NV

Tue

Sunny, with a high near 75. North wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

75 | 53

Wed

Sunny, with a high near 80. South southwest wind 2 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

80 | 56

Thu

Sunny, with a high near 80.

80 | 56

Fri

Sunny, with a high near 78.

78 | 57

Sat

Sunny, with a high near 76.

76 | 56

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Any, although summers can be very hot.
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: None, bring all you need.
NOTES: See description for information on the reservation system to enter the conservation area.

Tue

Sunny, with a high near 75. North wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

75 | 53

Wed

Sunny, with a high near 80. South southwest wind 2 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

80 | 56

Thu

Sunny, with a high near 80.

80 | 56

Fri

Sunny, with a high near 78.

78 | 57

Sat

Sunny, with a high near 76.

76 | 56

View Full Weather Details
Lost Creek fall in the rain.

Lost Creek fall in the rain.

Willow Springs in Red Rocks Conservation Area is a stunning natural oasis, nestled within the rugged Red Rocks landscape. Willow Springs is a picturesque desert oasis, where a scattering of willow trees thrives among the springs, creating a verdant contrast to the surrounding arid environment. This is a place that ancient peoples used, and left pictographs.

Today, several short trails traverse the area, as well as a large parking area, picnic tables and restrooms. This is an excellent spot to have a picnic and do some short hikes.

Note: As of 2023, the BLM requires a reservation between October 1st and May 31st for the Scenic Drive to reach the trailhead. Currently, it is for entry between 8AM and 5PM. More information is available on the BLM site in the hours section: https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/nevada/red-rock-canyon If you are a morning person, like we are, you can enter before 8AM without currently needing a reservation.

Timed entry reservations can be made at Recreation.gov by visiting https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10075177, or by calling (877) 444-6777.
Hand prints. Hard to see, but just left of middle.

Hand prints. Hard to see, but just left of middle.

Getting There

From the Red Rock Canyon fee booth, follow the scenic drive 7.2 miles to where the Rocky Gap/Willow Springs road leaves on the right. Follow the road 0.6 miles to the large Willow Springs picnic area and trailhead parking.

Boardwalk in Willow Springs

Boardwalk in Willow Springs

Route

Rock Art and Historic Site Etiquette
Rock art and historic sites are fragile, non-renewable cultural resources that, once damaged, can never be replaced. To ensure they are protected, please:
  • Avoid Touching the Petroglyphs: Look and observe, BUT DO NOT TOUCH!
  • Stay on the Trails: Stay on the most used trails when visiting sites, and don't create new trails or trample vegetation.
  • Photography and Sketching is Allowed: Do not introduce any foreign substance to enhance the carved and pecked images for photographic or drawing purposes. Altering, defacing, or damaging the petroglyphs is against the law -- even if the damage is unintentional.
  • Pets: Keep pets on a leash and clean up after them.
  • Artifacts: If you happen to come across sherds (broken pottery) or lithics (flakes of stone tools), leave them where you see them. Once they are moved or removed, a piece of the past is forever lost.

Petroglyph Wall Trail (about 0.3 of a mile round-trip)
From the north end of the parking area, where the road turns to dirt, follow the signed Petroglyph Wall trail. It heads west, crosses the wide wash, and reaches the cliff wall and a petroglyph panel in just a few short minutes. The area is fenced to protect the rock art. Though tempting, please don't go beyond the fence.

Willow Springs Loop Trail (about 1.5 miles with the dry fall side trip)
Across from the picnic area, the Willow Springs Loop trail leaves on the west side of the road. Follow the trail as it crosses the wash and contours along the base of the cliffs. The Discover Trail joins from the left, stay right soon Lost Creek where it comes in on the right. There is a pictograph panel here on the right where the trail contours around into Lost Creek. This is a minute or so before the trail descends into Lost Creek and reaches a junction.

Dry fall side trip
From the junction, it is worthwhile to go right, hiking up the bottom of Lost Creek. Just a few minutes up, the canyon is blocked by a dry fall with overhanging cliffs. A lovely spot that, depending on the time of year and recent storms, may actually be a flowing waterfall.

Willow Springs Loop Continue
Go left to continue on the Willow Springs Loop when you reach the Lost Creek junction. The trail crosses, via a boardwalk, a riparian area before passing the SMYC trail that leaves on the right and reaching the main road and alternate trailhead.

Cross the road and pickup the Willow Springs Loop trail on the other side. It begins heading north. Ignore the White Rock Loop trail that leaves on the right. Just about the time you reach the picnic area and trailhead, a pictograph panel on the right. The panel, which consists of handprints, is behind a fence, and just right of a crack between two sandstone formations. It may take a minute or two to spot.

The trailhead is just beyond the panel.


Maps

Petroglyph Wall / 0.27 miles / Elevation Range 4,576 - 4,635 ft.
Willow Springs Loop / 1.38 miles / Elevation Range 4,451 - 4,607 ft.
Printable Maps:
Trailhead

11S 635036mE 4002843mN

N36° 09' 39" W115° 29' 55"

Petroglyph Wall

11S 634851mE 4002846mN

N36° 09' 40" W115° 30' 03"

Dryfall

11S 635102mE 4002282mN

N36° 09' 21" W115° 29' 53"

Discovery Trail Jct

11S 635158mE 4002456mN

N36° 09' 27" W115° 29' 51"

Pictograph Under Overhang

11S 635214mE 4002378mN

N36° 09' 24" W115° 29' 49"

Dryfall Side Trail

11S 635199mE 4002322mN

N36° 09' 22" W115° 29' 49"

SMYC Junction

11S 635417mE 4002432mN

N36° 09' 26" W115° 29' 40"

Alt Trailhead

11S 635483mE 4002464mN

N36° 09' 27" W115° 29' 38"

White Rock Loop Jct

11S 635502mE 4002549mN

N36° 09' 30" W115° 29' 37"

Pictograph View

11S 635155mE 4002771mN

N36° 09' 37" W115° 29' 51"

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