Las Vegas, NV: Trail Canyon to North Loop

Ascend through aspen groves and pine forests and below limestone cliffs on this high-altitude adventure to killer views on the hike from Trail Canyon to North Loop. BY CHELISE SIMMONS
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Ascend through aspen groves and pine forests and below limestone cliffs on this high-altitude adventure to killer views on the hike from Trail Canyon to North Loop. BY CHELISE SIMMONS

The Trail Canyon to North Loop hike begins at the north end of the Trail Canyon parking lot, next to the kiosk, and ends on Deer Creek Rd. at the North Loop trailhead. From the Trail Canyon trailhead, follow the wide path north through a patch of aspens and past a municipal water tank. Catch views of Mummy Mountain peeking through the pine trees to the north. The trail parallels Cockscomb Ridge to the saddle at the junction with the North Loop Trail. A mile and a half up the trail, climb a series of about six short (but steep) switchbacks, then continue through an old burn area.

You'll gain 1,500 feet in elevation in the first two miles, at which point you reach the junction with the North Loop Trail. Mummy Mountain is directly in front of you. Cockscomb Ridge features prominently in the southeast. At the junction, continue north toward the North Loop trailhead. Watch for Clark’s nutcrackers in this area; these high-elevation birds love pine nuts. Just under the Mummy’s toe, climb east to around 9,500 feet and then ease into some gentle switchbacks. The effort is totally worth it because the views west to 11,911-foot Mt. Charleston, south to 11,060-foot Griffith Peak and Cockscomb Ridge are amazing. These views disappear once you round the corner and head north into a bristlecone forest. (Fun fact: Bristlecone pine trees are known for living in harsh conditions and for living thousands of years.)

The trail ascends to the unmarked junction with Mummy Springs. Here, see the famed "Raintree," a very large, 3,000-year-old bristlecone pine. Continue east through an area of twisted trees and rocky outcrops and then descend for approximately two miles. At mile 4.5, reach an area that is flat and gravelly. This is a perfect place to camp, not only because it is almost treeless, but because the stars up here are much brighter than in the Las Vegas Valley below. As you descend to Deer Creek Rd. and the North Loop trailhead, South Sister is prominent to the west.

Trail Facts

  • State: NV
  • City: Las Vegas
  • Distance: 5.8
  • Contact: (702) 515-5400
  • Land Type: National Forest

Waypoints

TNL001
Location: 36.266370, -115.658608
Trail head. Walk north on trail from parking lot. Follow gravel trail.

TNL002
Location: 36.268035, -115.657763
Junction with old Trail Canyon trail. Continue north on trail.

TNL003
Location: 36.286245, -115.647169
At trail junction hike north east towards North Loop trail head on trail that drops down behind junction sign towards Mummy Mountain.

TNL004
Location: 36.294102, -115.633329
From the large bristlecone pine, hike east at the unmarked junction.

TNL005
Location: 36.296672, -115.626531
The rest of the trail is downhill from this point.

TNL006
Location: 36.301057, -115.624353
Sparsely vegetated, level, gravelly area good for camping.

TNL007
Location: 36.308940, -115.611747
North Loop trailhead. The end.