7.0 mi to summit

16.1 mi total


1,567 ft start

5,457 ft max


3,414 ft gain


4 hr 52 min to summit

8 hr 23 min total

Had my eye on this one ever since I hiked Fortification Hill, finally did it! I arrived just before dawn and there were many cars camped along the road by the parking lot. Being my first time on Horse Thief Canyon Rd I didn't try to drive it so as not to disturb the campers or get stuck in a spot that I couldn't turn around. I opted to hike from the parking lot making it a 14 mile trip. (GPS logged 16 but I never trust those things). I hiked the 4 miles to the NPS campground at the end of the road. A 25-30ft. dry cascade blocks your path, definitely climbable without aid but I found a route around it over the ridge to the north. On the other side I rejoined the wash and soon found myself staring at the giant cottonwood trees of Horse Thief Spring. Continuing on the wash it splits after the spring, one route continuing east and the other coming from the south. Looking at a topo map the south split seemed to be a more direct & gradual route to the ridges & summit but the brush gets thicker and the wash eventually turns back east and ends at another dry cascade. This one is also climbable but I again diverted to the north, and eventually joined a ridge between the two splits & proceeded to the summit. Once you make it to the final ridge that heads directly east to summit a faint trail appears in the brush spots. I actually found this last section of the climb to be easier than the parts leading to it. The summit view is one of the most all encompassing views of the Las Vegas Valley and the Lower Colorado Basin combined that I have ever beheld. You can see Charleston, to Red Rock & Potosi, to The Strip, Gass Peak, Frenchman Mt, Boulder City & the River Mts, ALL of Lake Mead from the Boulder Basin, Callville Bay, Virgin Basin, Overton Arm, Temple Bar & beyond, Black Canyon and Lake Mohave to the south. Two thumbs up!!

Route name

Horse Thief Canyon


road/access issues, routefinding

Key gear

GPS device

Related links