Summary: This is pretty much a "must do" peak for all local hikers. At only 5 miles, it is one of the shortest distance hikes to get such a great, unobstructed view of the Las Vegas valley. There is also a sign-in book inside an old ammo can, buried at the foot of a rock cairn on the peak -- always fun to read the entries and add your own. Be warned, this is not an easy walk. I highly suggest you read the detailed directions for this hike in either Branch Whitney's book (Hiking Las Vegas) or Jim Boone's website (Hiking Around Las Vegas) BEFORE you go so you get a good feel for the steep ravine section & the climb to reach the peak. The upper section of this hike is very rough, loose rock, steep falls, and many confusing side paths, with no distinct signage or main trail to follow. This trail can be extremely dangerous when wet -- during or after rain, and the peak is no place to be when it's windy or in the summer heat. If you're prepared, this is a GREAT hike !!
Trailhead: 18 miles W of Las Vegas Blvd. on Charleston Ave. (SR 159) to Red Rock entry (fee) station. Take 13 mile scenic loop to the 3rd parking area past the entry station -- this is the Sandstone Quarry parking lot and it's really easy to find, go straight when the road curves sharply to the left -- there is a nice sign showing you where to park. This parking lot gets really, really full especially on weekends so go early for a place or be prepared to park further along the road and walk back to the trailhead. There are vault toilets at Sandstone Quarry pkg, but no water of any kind. Even though this is a short hike, it is strenuous with no shade so carry plenty of water. Dogs are technically allowed on this trail, but it is very strenuous and tough scrambling to the peak. Sandstone Quarry is also the TH for Calico Tanks & is very popular for tour buses, rapellers, climbers & yoga classes going on -- very busy and full of people! Follow signs for Turtlehead Peak trail. (Lat:36.16312 Lon:-115.45024)
Trail Guides for Turtlehead Peak (Red Rock Canyon NCA):
Keystone Hiking Trails Information
by BLM - Red Rock NCA (BLM - Red Rock NCA)
Hiking Around Las Vegas
by Jim Boone (Jim L. Boone)
Hiking Las Vegas
by Branch Whitney (Branch Whitney)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Red Rock (BLM) ranger at entry to NCA (fee station) 702-515-5350
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kat Green, who has posted 86 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 6 Submit your own review
Reviewed by HiPlainsDrifter on 5/14/2013
I do this hike at least once a month. It is amazing how many different "trails" lead to the top. Lol. There are no trails...! I did it last Friday, May 10, in 2 hours and 46 min..including some scenery gazing at the top...I have run countless marathons in my 64 years....the physical feeling at the completion of this hike is the same as a 26 mile run...yeah it's that tough.!...and a great sense of accomplishment and appreciation of Nevada's boundless natural beauty...I could see all the way to Arizona at the top...!
Reviewed by Cyndi on 10/30/2012
Great hike. Avoid taking animals unless they are very athletic. Our pitbull made it to the top but some places coming back down were a bit hard from him. The trail is very hard to follow. VERY HARD. Not only does in have very few marker but due to the rain over the summer the trail is washed out in spots. Also the book that is suppose to be at the top to sign isn't there anymore.
Reviewed by BB on 4/30/2012
I did something a little different in that I hiked up from the southeast side no trail. I hiked in from Calico Basin area. I was originally hiking the Gateway Canyon and decided to head to the peak from the less traveled side. Absolutely no trail to follow so you have to really study your options and the lines you want to take from a distance. You will also have to give up hard earned elevation to traverse 2-3 deep gorges. Well worth it, took 3 hours to get to the top from the end of Sandstone Dr parking area. Not recommended for the novice hiker.
Reviewed by Dawn on 4/2/2012
My husband and I have been hiking Turtle Head for 5 years now. My favorite hike! At 42, I can make it to the top in 1 hour! My best time was 55 min. We have been known to hike this trail 3 times a week, after work, just for the exercise. I recommend this trail to anyone who likes to challenge themselves (see how fast you can make it). It's a truly powerful feeling! The view will remind you why it is so great to be alive on this amazing planet. Have fun!
Reviewed by Dowe on 1/19/2012
Went up on 1/19/2012.I started out at 8:30 with temp around 40 and made the top in two hours. Stopped to rest several times and drank three litres of H2O Light winds at lower elevation but a pretty brisk wind at the top. The most important thing is to stay to the right when going up the ravine. Also, on the way down a trekking pole is a real help. Saved me from falling several times on loose gravel. 56 year old reasonably fit flatlander.
Reviewed by NByrne on 9/24/2011
Great view, great workout and well worth the effort! I went through over 3 liters of water.
Reviewed by Keith on 8/22/2011
i got to the top in exactly 2 hours. it was a heart pounder, but i loved it. the trail is poorly marked, but it did not seem to be a problem until i headed down. got lost off the trails and ended up half way down the back side of the mountain. no trails and very difficult terrain. i had to climb back to the summit and start again, lucky i had packed plenty of water. found the trai all the way down, but somehow got lost again before the parking lot behind the sandstone structures and had to backtrack again. i really was exhausted.
Reviewed by Dennis on 6/4/2011
Today was my first time to the top.Loved it. Going to do it again when the pain subsides. Great way to get into shape.
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