WINTER CAR CAMP & SNOWSHOE
My kids, Toby and Sierra, and I joined a group of seven others from the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club for a winter car-camp at Kyle Canyon campground and a snowshoe up the North Loop Trail the following morning. Chris Ransel organized and led a very enjoyable trip. For me and the kids, it was our first time camping in winter conditions. We noticed that there are a few differences between winter camping and summer camping:
1. Hammering tent stakes into snow is easier than into rocky ground.
2. The snow covers up those annoying rocks that are uncomfortable to sleep on.
3. Ice chests are not really necessary when the air temperature is the same as the temperature inside the ice chest.
4. Most critters that would try to get into your food are hibernating.
5. Campgrounds aren't as crowded as they would be in the summer; only the hardy want to camp on top of snow!
6. Kids get less dirty playing in snow than in dirt.
7. Starting a campfire in winter is more difficult.
8. Piles of snow in campsites can be great for sliding down.
9. Icy campground roads can be very slippery.
10. Sierra does not like being cold; she prefers warm-weather camping.
GRAND CIRCLE AT RED ROCK
Report and Photos by Henry Jingle
In Red Rock during winter the canyons can be cold. On a sunny day, a good winter or early spring hike is the Grand Circle. At 11.3 miles, it is BLM’s longest official hike. There are trail signs along the way.
While BLM calls this a difficult hike, I rate it as an easy class 1 except for the distance. The morning views of the mountains after a snowfall are beautiful.
From the visitors’ parking lot, you hike around the new Visitor Center to find the trail. You then hike towards the Calico Hills to the Calico 1 parking.
From there you hike down the trail to the trail sign. The trail heads West with good views of the Calico Hills. If you look carefully you may see climbers on the numerous sports routes on the sandstone walls. On the way, you go past a Native American Petroglyph site.
The trail comes out at the Sandstone Quarry parking area. Heading down the trail towards Turtlehead, you'll find a sign for the Grand Circle on your left.
The trail then heads across the desert towards White Rock Hills. The trail crosses the 13 mile drive once and comes out on the road at the junction with the dirt road that leads to the White Rock parking. You hike up the dirt road to the parking area, which is the high point of the hike at 4920 feet. There is a trail sign on the left. From here you hike in front of the White Rock Hills on the White Rock loop trail. If you want a longer hike, you can go right behind White Rock to the Willow Springs picnic area and then to the return trail to the Visitor Center.
A short ways down the trail from the parking is a junction with the trail that leads to White Rock Springs. The spring is about the halfway point and has a good bench for lunch. In December, there were no birds; however, in early spring we have seen many here.
After lunch, we hiked in front of White Rock and checked out a chute that someone reported could be climbed. This looks like a good adventure for the spring when the days are longer. One of the advantages of Red Rock scrambling is there are different ways to get to the summits and loop hikes are fun. Continuing, we finally reached the trail sign at the junction of the return trail that leads back to the Visitor Center. Hiking the 4 miles back, you get great views of Turtlehead and the Calico Hills.
The following is a topo map of the Grand Circle hike, which has an elevation gain of about 1200 feet.
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Las Vegas Mountaineers meeting this month is on Tuesday, February 23rd