Friday, January 17, 2014

Oak Creek / Knoll / Arnight Loop - 1/17/14

Banana Yucca & Cholla at Base of Red Rock Canyon NCA Escarpment

Escarpment to Turtlehead Peak and the Calico Hills

 Seventeen hikers gathered at the Red Rock Canyon NCA Scenic Loop exit parking lot this morning. With Roger H. at the helm, we started out on a 5.5 mile loop hike on trails running through desert terrain. These sometimes very rocky trails included Oak Creek Trail, Knoll Trail and Arnight Trail. Two unnamed traverse trails were also used to access the parking lot from where we started.

 The first traverse trail took us out toward the old road that we call Oak Creek Trail. This road is not used anymore for vehicles and it is covered with rocks. It leads hikers straight into Oak Creek Canyon. However, we came to the signed junction that told us ... we think ... to turn right for the Knoll Trail. (Signage in Red Rock is old and out dated!) We turned right and started hiking at the base of the escarpment. Desert views greeted us from all directions. It was even getting warm under the clear blue sky.

Yucca and Cholla in Front of Turtlehead and the Calico Hills

Taking a Shady Break in Front of Juniper Canyon

 Just past the high point of the hike, we dropped into a wash to take our break in the shade. Behind us, Juniper Canyon, Rainbow Wall, and Juniper Peak watched over us. ... Or, at least, the other group of AtBF hikers who were headed to Juniper Peak might have been watching ... for a few seconds ....

After the break, we turned back toward the cars using Arnight Trail. Still dodging rocks, we felt like we were in football training. (You know that thing with the tires?)

 Arnight Trail took us to the Oak Creek Trailhead that you can access from the Scenic Loop. Here, we had a short pit toilet break! Another desert traverse trail led off of the dirt road near the parking area and we quickly made our way back to the cars. A fine hike for a fine day!

5.5 miles; 600 feet elevation gain; 2.75 hours

Junctioning with One of the Oak Creek Trailheads

Traversing Back Across the Desert

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