Saturday, February 27, 2016

Rainbow Canyon Loop - 2/27/16

Rainbow Canyon

Wash Leading into Culvert Crossing

South Face of Rainbow Ridge

Overland to Lovell Wash
 Rainbow Canyon is a great area to explore from mile marker 16 on Northshore Road in the Lake Mead NRA. Fourteen hikers parked at the large dirt trailhead and crossed up and over the embankment in front of our cars. This put us in Callville Wash for a moment until we climbed out the other side and hiked overland below the interesting balanced rocks to our right. Another steep drop into Lovell Wash put us just a little way down from Rainbow Canyon's entrance. The mustard yellow, red and orange colors that decorated the entrance to a small side canyon marked the spot.

Lovell Wash at Rainbow Canyon

Entering Rainbow Canyon

Rainbow Canyon

Approaching Old Mine
The striking colors lasted for around a mile. In the canyon, we saw a few bear paw poppies that were starting to bud. An old mine is marked with posts up on the right side of the canyon. There is an old piece of lumber, a rock with markings on it and the mine itself. The hole is reported to be very deep so a few hikers peered down into the abyss just to be sure. It is storied that a hiker once lost their hiking stick in said abyss! After the mine and a beautiful wall, we continued out the wash and the colors started to fade away.

Features at Old Mine

Rainbow Canyon

Bear Paw Poppy / Notchleaf Phacelia & Sundrops / Brittlebush (CW)

Starting Up Old Road
 To our right, we passed another canyon. Then our route started up the ramp of an old unused dirt road. The road likely served the mine that we had just visited back in the day. As we neared the top of the hill on the road, we got a glimpse of Griffith Peak in the Spring Mountains. The road junctioned with another dirt road that had vehicle tracks on it. We turned to the left then soon dropped down to the left onto another road that only a very high clearance vehicle could possibly negotiate. And, there were some vehicle tracks! We also followed the tracks of a domesticated horse all morning.

Old Road with Griffith Peak in the Far Distance

Down Another Old Road

Continuing Down Old Road

Climb Out from Old Road
 This canyon was very interesting and had a lot of the same colors as Rainbow Canyon. The bedrock was smooth and gnarly. The walls were colorful and around 20 feet high. We turned a corner around to the left and found a good side wash to use to climb out as seen in the photo to the left. On top of the surrounding Horse Spring Formation land, we crossed over to another wash in the area. This wash had an interesting slot made with chert covered limestone / dolomite rock. Seven hikers of the group decided to check it out. We dropped down through the slot all the way to the final expected dry fall. Another fun scramble put us up and over the wall on the left. Soon, we were joining the rest of the group at the bottom of the dry fall.

The Slot

Found Some Shade

Rainbow Ridge from Route's West Side

Starting Down an Interesting Canyon Wash
Down the wash a little more and we were in a good place for a snack break. It was a pretty warm day and we needed just a tad of shade for our rest. Next, we continued down the widening wash then climbed out up to our left to circle around the west end of Rainbow Ridge, the mountain ridge that had been at our left shoulder since the start of Rainbow Canyon. This connected us with another interesting wash that we followed down to a culvert that allowed passage under Northshore Road. We arrived in a bright red/orange area of sandstone. The views were gorgeous all around.


Redstone near Culvert

Wash on South Side of Northshore Road

Gypsum Veins
 We turned left into a redstone wash and followed the washes staying parallel to the highway which laid out of our sight to our left. At around mile marker 15, we had to finagle our way over a high point but the wash on the other side continued. Finally, we arrived at Lovell Wash, a very wide wash. Here, we turned to our left, hiked up the wash to the road tunnel, then climbed up to the road and finished the hike by walking down the side of the road. It was a lovely day full of color. This was the debut of this particular route and it is a good one.

8 miles; 900 feet elevation gain; 4 hours

The Last Stretch of Small Wash

Turning Left into Lovell Wash

Climbing Up to Road from Lovell Wash

1 comment:

Las Vegas Cockapoo said...


What a nice blog! Your pictures of the colors are stunning as are the ones of the flowers. You surprised me with a few pictures I didn't see you take, like the bear paw poppy and horn. Enjoyed hiking with you.