Turtlehead Peak Trail

HARD 376 reviews

Turtlehead Peak Trail is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Las Vegas, Nevada that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,991 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

Isolated walk past petroglyphs to ridge line with views of Sandstone Quarry. Well worn path to the summit of Turtlehead Mountain. Alternate exits exist for this classic Red Rock Canyon Peak. Established in 1990 by special legislation the Red Rock Recreation Lands status was changed to a National Conservation Area. The area is comprised of 195,819 acres and is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip. More than 30 miles of hiking trails exists in this scenic area including the well worn path to the summit of Turtlehead Mountain. This classic Red Rock Canyon Peak offers stunning views of Las Vegas and the Red Rock Canyon mountain skyline.

hiking
4 days ago

Been a few years since I hiked this trail. It was my first hike in a long time so I found out real quick that I was out of shape (even though I was 7% body fat). I went home exhausted and burnt from the lack of shade and poor preparation, but it was the beginning of a hiking/climbing journey. Since then, I’ve hiked and climbed all over the country!

12 days ago

Great hike but there was a couple of areas that were a little treacherous

hiking
13 days ago

You can see by my rating of this trail how I feel about Turtlehead…

…but just because I did not totally enjoy it does not mean that you won’t.

The pros first:
1. Turtlehead is one of the more challenging trails at Red Rock.
2. The views from the peak are magnificent.
3. Wildlife can be observed.

…so what’s not to like right?

Well, for me, compared to other trails at Red Rock, the trail to the top is boring: Rocks and Junipers with little variation; the one Red Rock trail that come close to this level of monotony is the last few miles of the White Rock loop where the old road ends.

Wild life is around but hard to spot unless you are towards the top where I saw four of Bird of Prey; I think a Prairie Falcon and Crows. I did see some kind of ground Birds towards the trail head, along the wash; Chukar, most likely. Those two sightings were the highlight of my hike.

The trail is challenging and, at times, downright dangerous and that has never stopped me from hiking a trail but there is usually some variation. I did like the challenge and some of the danger but most of the danger was from loose scree which was more annoying. The hike to the abandoned mines at La Madre Springs has a similar amount of scree but with variation.

Some Tips:

Regarding heat management/water… I hiked at midday in some serious heat, took tons of rests but finding shade was hard; I drank 3 liters of water but could have used 4. If you hike during peak heat expect that kind of water consumption. Camel up at the car and wet down your clothes and hats: that should keep you good in the heat for the first 2 or so hours. Sometimes I pack my pockets with micro fiber cloths and wet those down too. Conserve your sweat, not your water.

Rest when you need to, the heat causes your heart rate to rise so break when you are tired and don’t over exert yourself till you are descending from the peak. When resting wait for your heart rate to get nice and low, preferably in the shade.

Gloves would be a good idea because there is some class 3 scrambling. I took a hiking pole with me and I am pretty sure it was helpful your results may vary.

If I did not stop to take pictures, the hike would have taken me about 5 hours due the numerous rest breaks I took going up: three going up and two going down.

1 month ago

Super fun & challenging!! Your thighs will hurt, coming back feels harder than going up! Take a light lunch to have at the top! Beautiful view to have while eating lunch!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! Starts off pretty easy but gets challenging having to scramble up some rocks. The descent was far more difficult, wear shoes with good tread, and expect to slip and slide a bit on your way down. Bring lots of water and get ready for great views at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

Killer hike. Up to the top with some breaks in 1:38. Took the "short" way back down through the steeper section/wash. Weather was great for 6am start. Wouldn't consider doing it any other way, though. Saw people heading up on our way back, nope. High temps going up this one would be torture.

hiking
1 month ago

Very difficult to finished.. but it’s very rewarding when you reached the top., beautiful view.. got a bit lost on the way down .. lol!! Great cardio work out....

1 month ago

was a fun challenge. trail was easy to follow going up...trickier going down especially at the beginning. poles helped a lot going up. take gloves for some sharp rock scrambling if you can.

hiking
2 months ago

nice accent to the top. never had issues with the trail, the orange and white markers were helpful. a good challenge on the way up but more going down with the shale. take your time or you will fall! I did this hike early and was first to summit. not too many other hikers on this trail on a Weds. amazing views at the top!

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike. We didn't go all the way to because we brought our small dog. Stopped before the ascent. We definitely plan to do the entire hike--without the dog.

2 months ago

Great hike. Plan 4 hours round-trip, great views of Red rock and Vegas at the top.

hiking
2 months ago

Great and challenging hike! The trail is marked so it’s easy to find your way around. Beautiful views at the top!

hiking
2 months ago

Not easy! Hardest part was accepting the reality that my calves and lower back were gonna be on fire until I summited the peak. I think my legs went numb actually, and then I couldn’t walk for the rest of the day, but it was perfect weather, had to wear sunscreen, but never got lost and the trail never got too sketchy. Friendly and respectful fellow hikers.

hiking
2 months ago

This challenging hike was totally worth it!!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful view of Vegas and Red Rock Canyon at the peak.

2 months ago

Great hike for early summer. Warm but not hot on 4/26/2018. Moderately strenuous and trail is tough to follow at times. Take your time to enjoy your surroundings and you’ll find your way to the top by following orange, white and green spray paint markings.

hiking
2 months ago

Gradual ascent up the canyon for the first couple of miles then stay to the left side of the ravine. Some bouldering but mostly a defined trail until about half way up the ravine then its climbing over a couple of rock outcroppings then back on the trail. If you hustle and don't lose the trail, count less than 2 1/2 hrs.

2 months ago

Loved this hike! Very strenuous! But the views are breathtaking. I would definitely do it again!

3 months ago

Ain't no thing for a rocky mountain scrambler and her kids. Great quick climb matched by even better views.

hiking
3 months ago

First half of this trail is a steady but doable incline. The second half is listed as difficult/strenuous for a reason. A lot of it is straight up. Take lots of water and take lots of breaks. You’ll know you’re almost there when you reach a big stepping rock that says “hard⬆️ easy⬅️”. We took the easy route to the left which was still kinda tough. Within 10 minutes you reach the top of the mountain then have to scramble up loose shale to reach the actual top. There’s an optional sign in bucket. The views from the top are amazing. You can see ALL of Vegas. The strip, metropolitan area, downtown, and beyond. Heading back down the mountain is a whole different story. If you do not have adequate grip on your shoes(and even if you do) you WILL slip and fall. The first half of the descent is a large degree of decline. You’ll be walking down sideways like a skier/billy goat. PROTIP: bring some gloves to wear to help you descend so you can lean on rocks and boulders for balance instead of falling. Total trip time for us including a nice 20 minute break on the top and amble photo ops was 3:55. I personally used only 2 liters of water. BEWARE: the trail is “listed” at 4.7 miles but that’s from the actual trail head. FROM THE PARKING LOT ROUNDTRIP was 6 miles on the dot. Get there early as there are limited parking spots and it’s $15 to enter the park. All in all, beautiful fun hike, well worth the slip and falls and rocks in your shoes.

hiking
3 months ago

Starts out easy and gets significantly harder towards the last half. Views at the top are great and well worth the climb. There are some confusing parts near the end, but it wasn't too bad finding my way to the top. It's a different story coming down--make sure you stay on the correct path at least until you make it back to the initial side of the mountain, if you come in to that point too high you're in for a bad time and a very steep descent.

hiking
3 months ago

Excellent trail, the views of Las Vegas and the park at the summit are great. This is one of the hikes that are a must if you are just visiting. The hike up does get steep and will take the energy out of you. As the previous poster said, follow the teal/white marks. Most of them are readily visible. Once on top there was a box that contained odds and ends plus a notebook with names and dates. Sign your name. Be careful on your decent, there are a lot of loose rocks/sand/gravel and I witnessed a couple slips and one sprain. Overall, a hike I would do again.

hiking
3 months ago

The view from the top was absolutely amazing! Absolutely worth the trek up. We arrived to the trailhead at about 845 to find an almost already full parking lot. We were traveling during spring break week so the park was expectedly packed. We started walking around 9, and got back to the parking lot at 12:40. I'd estimate around 2 hours was spent on the way up, 30 minutes at the top, and 70 minutes coming down. Trail began relatively flat and continued as so for about a mile. We found it very easy to veer off the trail into the gully to the right, which would eventually lead to an extremely steep climb towards the end. There was a particularly confusing section about 2/3 of the way up where there were 3 different paths with none marked particularly clearly. The paths to the left and right both lead in odd directions, but if you continue up the steeper climb behind the "trail" marker, you will find the trail. This production could've been the result of my party getting off track again, but thought I'd include just in case. Towards the top, teal and white spots will mark where you should be following, which was definitely helpful. After the mid-climb, the trail is pretty flat until the Saddle. We took the "Hard" route up, which ended up being very similar to the steep midpart of the trail. The view at the top was spectacular! On our way down, we accidentally took a very odd path down the middle of the Saddle, which led to a bit behind the split. One member of my party fell and cut himself pretty badly on a rock, as the climb down was harrowing enough that sitting and sliding down was necessary in some parts for us. Overall, the hike was great. We would undoubtedly do it again, now that we know the ins and outs of the trails.

hiking
3 months ago

Trail ended with a great view. The path has some areas with loose rocks so it’s easy to lose your footing at times. We made it to the top in about an hour. I had my dog with me so we made occasional stops for water. My fit bit tracked it as 5.15 miles round trip.

hiking
3 months ago

Guess we were a little early for the wildflowers. I enjoyed the view from the saddle as much as the summit itself.

hiking
4 months ago

Strenuous

4 months ago

Best hike EVER!! Beautiful view! Worth the hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful view!

hiking
4 months ago

Came to trail run, ended up hiking my way through the brutal midway elevation gain.
You start this hike thinking you can go all day, only to find the slippery, serious elevation through the mid-point. Everyone talks about losing your way and I agree that it can be easy to stray (I found many people struggling their way up while I was heading down). That being said there are plenty of trail markings which are predominantly spray painted white or teal dots along the path. If the trail is obvious, find your way. If not, look for dots. In any case this is a summit so you should always be walking up or down to get to where you're going. Does it suck, yes. Is it worth it, big time. Have fun and be safe!

4 months ago

Terrific hike and great views of Vegas and the Spring Mts from the top. I'm 62, in good, not great, shape and managed it in about 3+1/2 hrs (120 min up, 10 min at top, 70 min down). I got conflicting info on the various pathways going up to the intermediate saddle which is to the left of the peak itself. IMHO it's best to stick to the main path, which heads up a spur to the left of the most visible runoff gully which leads nearly straight up to that saddle. Blue paint marks on stones will guide you starting about 2/3 the way up to the saddle. White paint spots and arrows serve as a guide from the saddle up to the peak, with one split marked EASY vs HARD in white paint. I chose EASY :) Many people will have to scramble up in a few places - nothing major. I found it very enjoyable in February - would be more difficult in July- August.

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