La Madre Springs
This moderate hike in Red Rock Canyon leads up a very well-graded trail to a quaint river with a gurgling spring. The views of the steep sided mountains and sandstone cliffs along the trail are truly awe-inspiring.
From Las Vegas follow Route 157 West as it exits the city. After less than 10 minutes of driving from the city limits you will reach the turn off for Scenic Drive, and signs towards the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Visitor Centre. Take this turn and pay your dues at the park entrance. Follow the one-way Scenic Drive for just less than 12.9km until you reach the Willow Springs Picnic Area, at the apex of the loop. Turn off and park as far down the road as possible.
|When to do|
Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat
Out and back
From the parking lot follow the 4×4 road for approximately 1.6km. You will cross over a dried up creak bed that can cause uncertainty as to where the trail goes, however following the tire tracks (veering left) brings you the right way. As you hike you will enter a small canyon, and there will most likely be rock climbers ascending the extremely steep cliffs on either side!
Soon you will reach a signposted junction. Turn right here and head towards the La Madre Springs. The trail will narrow slightly, but remains a double track trail all the way to the river. From here the route starts to gain elevation, but does so at such a moderate pace that it’s almost hard to notice. The trail has sporadic shade, but should not be relied on. As well, on especially hot days this hike can be quite challenging due to the solar reflection off the mountainsides.
As you slowly climb you will get even grander views of the mountains in front of you, and if you turn back you will be rewarded with gorgeous panoramas from where you came.
Finally, you will reach the beginning of the stream. For the last few hundred yards the trail turns to single track as it snakes beside the river. The path bears left following the river, and shortly crosses it. At several points as you climb up beside the stream there will be junctions with paths leading along the river, and others crossing it. Do your best to stay on the right side of the river when ascending, as this path tends to be a lot easier! Don’t overdo it though, as at times there is no path along this side.
Finally you will reach a small waterfall, and the path forward requires some steep scrambling. This is where we recommend stopping, and there is ample shade here to take a break before returning the way you came!
If you have a high clearance 4x4 vehicle you can skip the first section of the hike and park where the trail bears off to the right.
It is possible to connect this hike with White Rock Trail. Pick up a map at the visitor centre to get a better idea of how to do this!
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