Cowboy Caves In Red Rock Canyon
We sought to mix things up in Las Vegas this weekend and were in search of caves; cowboy caves to be exact. Some of our Slinvite members had heard there were multiple underground areas to explore just south of the Red Rock National Park. Now that it’s colder in Vegas, we decided for a late morning start to try and get as much sunshine on us as possible. We easily parked our vehicles at the Cowboy Trail Rides parking area and headed up toward the canyons. A few minutes after leaving the gravel road and entering the actual hiking trail, we noticed that we were forced to make a decision. The trails split with Cave Canyon on the left and Fossil Canyon on the right. At the time we didn’t know the names, and luckily chose to go left.
The actual hike itself wasn’t too difficult. The trail was easy to follow and was just enough of a challenge to keep things interesting. The real fun, and difficulty, came from trying to find the caves. At multiple instances we would see something that looked like a cave opening along the canyon walls and would scurry up the steeper slopes from the trail only to discover it was a false hope. These scrambles ended up still being fun since we got to go into discovery mode and were on a mission to find one of these special caves.
After hiking for a bit with no luck in finding an underground dwelling, we stopped for a rest and to investigate another potential cave opening not far from the trail at a location that took us around an outcropping. We spotted an area that seemed like it could be a cave entrance, but it entailed getting down low and fitting through. While some group members checked it out, I noticed another opening about 20 feet above and to the left. I went to explore. When I reached this new opening it seemed like it had potential. I took my backpack off and slipped between the rocks. SUCCESS! I called out to the group and they all joined me in entering our first cave.
The first thing you notice upon entering the cave is the increase in temperature. I’d say it was about 60 degrees which was warmer than the outside air. Each explorer had come equipped with headlamps and flashlights, and they immediately came in handy. We could easily stand up to full height and there was plenty of room to explore this underground world. While caving it’s always recommended that you bring helmets for protection, but we had forgotten ours, and luckily didn’t need them. There was plenty of room to walk around and investigate the different rooms. Stalactites were scattered around separate ceilings too. After taking some great photos, and having a snack, we exited the cave and continued hiking up the trail for about another half hour. Sadly we weren’t able to find any other caves further up the trail.
Upon returning home and checking other sites with information about the Cowboy Caves, we found out we had actually discovered and entered the upper cave along this route. The first cave can be found lower along the trail but higher along the west canyon. I guess this gives us a reason to return and find the other.
- Hiking Distance: 2 Miles
- Hiking Time: 2 Hours
- Elevation Gain: 300 Feet
- Class: 2 of 5
- Difficulty: 2 of 5
- Exposure: 2 of 5
- Danger Level: 3 of 5
- Pace: Moderate