Juniper Peak
Red Rock Canyon NCA, Nevada
April 13, 2009

Juniper Peak is not among the highest peaks in Red Rock Canyon and only a class 2 scramble, but it was the first desert peak Dinah and I ever ascended. We're used to climbing in the Canadian Rockies, so routefinding in a desert landscape was a bit daunting. But we also found the environment fascinating, and we marvelled at the lizards and cactus as well as the unfamiliar geology. Credit goes to Jim Boone's web site for helping me identify flora and fauna and Anya Jingle's web page for inspiring us to try the mountain.

We tried climbing Juniper Peak the previous day but since we didn't have a good route description we missed the turnoff. When we reached a chimney (later we learned it was Gunsight Notch) that looked risky without helmets, we turned back.

By our next attempt we sorted out where we went wrong. We reached Juniper Canyon from Pine Creek Trail. Keeping right we found the turn-off for Juniper Peak and ascended rock slabs. Here lizards scurried everywhere. So many, that I saw two collide!

We followed the cairns and trails to the summit with little difficulty. Occasionally we lost sight of the route, but by backtracking several metres we were always able to get on track.

Even though Juniper Peak is dwarfed by nearby peaks, the view was superb. But of course, it all of it was new and striking to us. Given how close this rugged, fascinating terrain is to Las Vegas , I can see why Red Rock Canyon is a popular area for climbing.

KML and GPX Tracks

MOVIE (posted on YouTube)


Juniper Peak is in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area


The mountain is accessed from the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop


Juniper Peak from the trailhead: Rainbow Wall sits left while Magic Mountain lies in front


Hiking down Pine Creek Trail: Magic Mountain and Mescalito ahead


Rainbow Peak, Rainbow Wall and Magic Mountain (Juniper Peak is hidden)


Looking back at Turtlehead Peak and the colorful Calico Hills


Cholla and barrel cactus


Hedgehog cactus


Approaching Pine Creek Canyon


We clamber up some boulders


Past the boulders


Side-blotched lizard


Looking back


We'll gain the lower rock slabs on the right. Gunsight Notch left.


On the other side of the canyon we view climbers on Cloud Tower (mouse over to back up)


On the slabs above the canyon


Dinah makes her way up


Lots of pancake pricklypear cactus here


Juniper Canyon below


This lizard watches me intently


Walking up yet another smooth section of rock


Cactus beginning to bloom


Interesting rock everywhere


Following alongside a rock face


Ignoring good manners, this lizard ate his food in one gulp (mouse over)


Paths and cairns like this one make routefinding easy


Just before the summit, the route goes through a tunnel


On the summit


Heading back


Contact with a cactus leaves a spot of blood on my pant leg


La Madre Mountain and Blue Diamond 1:24,000 Topos (4.8 mi, 6102 ft, 2126 ft)


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