You’ll encounter Joshua trees, bighorn sheep, and jackrabbits on the 4.2-mile Oak Creek Loop in Red Rock Canyon. From the trailhead, head west into the cactus-studded desert on an old Jeep trail (keep an eye out for wild burros along the way). At .8 mile, fork left to start the clockwise loop and begin a gradual climb for about a mile.
After 1.7 miles, bear left at the junction and descend into a canyon with lush vegetation and great views of the mountains. Less than half a mile later, fork right at the junction and enjoy a spectacular view of Rainbow Mountain to the northwest. Keep an eye out for climbers ascending popular routes like Crimson Chrysalis, Solar Slab, and Slab Gully.
At mile 2.3, the route crosses Oak Creek (look for colorful rocks and boulders around the creekbed), then re-crosses it 0.2 mile later. As the trail winds to the south, look northward for a view of Red Rock Canyon’s Calico Hills. Complete the loop at mile 3.4 and turn left for the brief stretch back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Dave Miller