Hike First Creek Canyon Trail
|In This Guide|
|Distance||2.1 miles (3.4 km)|
|Time||1 Hour (Total Time)|
|Total Climbing||220 feet (67m)|
|Highest Elevation||3,850 feet (1173m)|
|Dog Friendly||Off Leash Okay|
|Park Name||Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area|
The First Creek Canyon Trail hike brings you up along First Creek, through heavily vegetated Mojave Desert scrub, with striking cliffs as a backdrop, and offers a side trip to a hidden waterfall and plunge pool. I often recommend this hike for those looking for a pleasant hike that doesn’t involve too much effort. The First Creek Canyon Trail hike is in Red Rock Canyon park, but outside of the fee area and 13-mile loop drive, so it’s free and easy to get to.
How to Get To First Creek Canyon Trail
The trailhead address is: First Creek Trailhead, Las Vegas, NV, 89161, USA. It’s about a 35 minute drive from the Las Vegas strip.
Parking is free and the lot is large. Overflow parking is along the road.
There are no bathrooms at the trailhead or on the hike, but you can drive a few miles down the road to the Red Rock Visitor’s Center for bathrooms and refreshments.
What You Need For the Hike
This is a pretty easy hike, and you don’t really need any special hiking gear for it. I’d recommend:
- Trail running shoes or sturdy sneakers
- Fitness clothes (appropriate for the season)
- Some water, ideally in a hydration daypack
- A camera
There’s poor cell phone reception in the park, you you might want to take an emergency beacon if you have one.
My Top Gear Picks
Do you have the right hiking gear? Will it stand up to the test? I waste lots of money testing hiking gear every year so that you don’t have to. My gear picks are solid choices that will serve you well on the trail. I don’t do sponsored or paid reviews, I just the share actual gear that I use all the time that’s made the cut. Here are my top picks:
- Garmin InReach Mini Emergency Beacon – Hiking out of cell phone range? Make sure you have one of these two-way satellite texting devices in case your hike doesn’t go as planned. You can read my full review here.
- Injinji Sock Liners With Darn Tough Hiking Socks – This combo is a great way to avoid blisters out on the trail. I have some insider-hiking tips for avoiding blisters here. Pair them with modern, high-tech hiking boots (for women and men) and your feet with thank you.
- Garmin Fenix 5x Plus – It’s a little pricey, but man do I love this thing. Not only does it have all the topo maps and navigation tools on my wrist, but it also acts as a long battery life, rugged, outdoors version of an Apple Watch. Track your workouts, sleep, heart rate, all that stuff.
I have lots of other great, sponsor-free, trail tested gear picks on my “best gear” page.
See My Full Gear List
Insider Tips For the Hike
- Keep your eyes open for the desert tortoise and wild burros, which are pretty tough to spot. Easier to spot are desert hares and ground squirrels. First Creek is a water source for many animals so you have a decent chance to spot something.
- The waterfall is often dry, but it’s still impressive.
- The pool at the bottom of the waterfall is a popular spot to see wildlife. It’s also a nice swimming hole.
- First Creek Canyon Trail is a popular dog walking hike with the locals. Keep your eyes open for dog poop, coyote poop, burro poop, well, let’s just say poop.
- Stay on the main (large) trail. There are some small burro trails that crisscross the main trail.
- You can continue past the waterfall if you want to lengthen the hike. The trail splits apart and reforms many times, with two options, one down by the creek, and one on the ridge above. You might see some rock climbers heading to the cliff walls farther down. The trail gets more primitive as you continue.
First Creek Canyon Trail Maps
I highly recommend bringing a good paper map with you, and then using it in conjunction with a GPS device. You can see the navigation gear that I use here (I’m currently using the Fenix 5x Plus and love it). Just download the GPX file below and load it onto your GPS.
Many people also print out this web page for the turn-by-turn images. And if you really want to get tricky, YouTube Premium lets you download videos for offline use, so you can download the hike video and save it.
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
First Creek Canyon Trail Directions
Subscribe to HikingGuy on YouTube
Turn By Turn Hike Directions
From here, you just head back the way you came. However, you can continue on the trail to make this a 3 mile round trip. The following pictures are from farther down the trail. Also note that as the trail continues, it splits and comes back together often. Unless you direction veers drastically away from the path of the creek, you’re probably fine.
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