Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cowboy Horse Trails - 11/29/14

Horse Trail Across Wash below The Muffins

The Stink Eye

Climbing Up the Hill
 Today's late Saturday morning hike was a windy but pleasant hike around some of the lower elevation horse trails near the Red Rock stables. With fourteen hikers in tandem, we started from an already crowded Cowboy Trails parking lot on Highway 159 and took an immediate left onto a well-trod trail. This trail took us around behind the large corral which was full of horses and mules for the Thanksgiving weekend trail rides. As we passed the horses quite close to the fence, we got the "stink eye" from a few of them! In fact, one mule voiced his opinion!

Hiking the Ridge
 Before the horses could get too upset, we turned to our left and found ... yes, found this time ... the trail that leads up the side of the hill that lies between the horses and the highway. No wonder we did not see the trail last time we were here. It is barely decipherable! But, it is there and once we found it, we were good. The climb up the hill zigzagged and made for easy going. ... No scrambling this time!

Hiking the Ridge of Horse Trail Peak
 We hiked along the ridge from end to end with wide open views on both sides. These 360 degree views are unique to Red Rock.

View from Horse Trail Peak toward the North Blue Diamond Hills
 Looking toward the North Blue Diamond Hills, we could see the last half of today's hike as indicated in the photo above.

The Horse Trail in the Gravel Wash

After the Two Left Forks
 The footing on the descent trail is very rough and we took it very slow. Then, we rounded the corner to follow the clear horse trail in the gravel wash. There is quite a network of trails that the cowboys use on trail rides, therefore, after leaving the gravel wash, it can only be said that we took a left fork and a left fork to bring us to the small canyon beneath the Muffins hill. We soon found a large area in the canyon where there was enough seating for the group to enjoy a snack break.

Starting into the Small Canyon
 After the break, we continued up the canyon until we junctioned with the Muffins / Skull Canyon Trail. A right turn started us back toward the cars. On the way back, we took a left fork and a right fork, crossed the dirt road and followed the trail back to the trailhead. As we were packing up to leave, we saw a long line of horse riders starting up the same trail we just hiked.

3 miles; 400 feet elevation gain; 2.25 hours

Hiking the Small Canyon below The Muffins

Trail Across the Desert on Return

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