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Mud Springs Canyon

Red Rocks beta posted by rickinlo
  • The Hype

    An easy wet canyon (short by Red Rocks standards) with fun jumps small into potholes, some awesome rappels, and a few short swims. Not terribly slotty, but beautifully carved and colored. Either a half day loop trip for just the bottom half, or a reasonable full day shuttle from top to bottom.

    Getting There

    Access Road: Heading South on 15 out of Vegas, take exit 33 to Blue Diamond Rd/NV 160 West. Stay on 160 as you pass 159 on the right (gas station on the left) and drive another 4.7 turning right into the Late Nite Trailhead on the right. Bear right and head through the parking area to a dirt road. Follow the dirt road for 1.5 miles, passing 1 dirt road on the left and taking the one that immediately follows. Follow this road for another mile to where it turns towards the left. Park in a small pullout on the left side where a trail sign on the right reads “Black Velvet Trail”

    From the Trailhead:

    Top of the North Fork: Head back to highway 160 and turn right. Go 5.5 miles to through Mountain Springs and turn right on State Hwy Rd. Bear right at the private property sign on the left and continue another 1/3 mile to a parking area on the right, located before the road continues downhill, where large rocks block a small road that heads up the ridge.



    North Fork Approach: Begin walking up the ridge following the road that is blocked off by rocks, enjoying the soft texture of the dirt that is reminiscent of the feeling of fresh Utah cryptos underneath your feet. Eventually the road will descend off of a small false summit and turn off the ridge to the left. Stay on the ridge here following small paths up the momentarily steep ridge, making your way up to the main ridge where you can look down into the canyon towards Vegas. DO NOT descend directly into the South Fork of the canyon, unless you fancy crowd surfing through scrub oak. Instead, head North a quarter of a mile passing the ridge that divides the North and South forks and head down into the North Fork.




    Bottom up Approach: If a shuttle is not available, Mud Springs Canyon can also be done as a loop from the bottom. This skips the North fork of the canyon, which is quite fun, but hits all of the main section which is definitely the highlight. From the exit point, follow the Black Velvet trail into a wash, then immediately into another larger wash (draining out of Mud Springs Canyon). Follow the trail for a little more than a 10th of a mile. There the Mud Springs Canyon wash on your left carves south away from the trail, and a small climbing path cuts directly West to follow the wash towards the escarpment. If you can't find the trail, just trek across the desert here directly towards the mouth of the canyon, but things will be much easier if you find it.



    Eventually you'll be forced into the wash. Boulder hop into the canyon until you encounter the final rappel which comes in from the right. Scramble around this to your left to arrive on top of the final rappel. From here, look west (left looking up the canyon) and scramble/climb up a space between the rocks just below the 2nd to last rappel. This will take you up some rock scrambling (class 3) along a ridge and through a pass in the rock where you can descend right into the canyon, do so and it will take you down into the main fork of Mud Springs Canyon just above the good stuff.

    The Canyon - Rating: 3B II/III   Longest Rap: 95'   # of Raps: 5

    Skills required: This canyon is fairly easy. All anchors should be natural, but placements are fairly obvious for those with some experience at building anchors.

    Rappels: 8-9 rappels up to 95 feet for full route. 4 rappels up to 60 feet for the bottom only.

    Water Several short swimmers and two potential floating disconnects.

    Anchor Conditions: Should be all natural. Bolts are illegal here.

    Gear Recommendations: Helmet, harness, webbing, rapids, a wetsuit unless it's really hot.

    Flash Flood Danger: Low. In most places you could get out of the path of a flash flood.

    The Exit

    Exit out the canyon through the wash keeping an eye out for a small path on the left. It follows the side of the wash and exits to the north, staying close to the wash through the desert once the sides of the wash become flat. Eventually you will hit a bike trail. Turn right and take it shortly back to your car.

    Red Tape

    This is BLM land, outside of the Red Rocks loop so no entrance. No camping allowed below 5000 feet. Watch out for Mountain Bikers on the drive.
  • Access Road: Heading South on 15 out of Vegas, take exit 33 to Blue Diamond Rd/NV 160 West. Stay on 160 as you pass 159 on the right (gas station on the left) and drive another 4.7 turning right into the Late Nite Trailhead on the right. Bear right and head through the parking area to a dirt road. Follow the dirt road for 1.5 miles, passing 1 dirt road on the left and taking the one that immediately follows. Follow this road for another mile to where it turns towards the left. Park in a small pullout on the left side where a trail sign on the right reads “Black Velvet Trail”

    From the Trailhead:

    Top of the North Fork: Head back to highway 160 and turn right. Go 5.5 miles to through Mountain Springs and turn right on State Hwy Rd. Bear right at the private property sign on the left and continue another 1/3 mile to a parking area on the right, located before the road continues downhill, where large rocks block a small road that heads up the ridge.



    North Fork Approach: Begin walking up the ridge following the road that is blocked off by rocks, enjoying the soft texture of the dirt that is reminiscent of the feeling of fresh Utah cryptos underneath your feet. Eventually the road will descend off of a small false summit and turn off the ridge to the left. Stay on the ridge here following small paths up the momentarily steep ridge, making your way up to the main ridge where you can look down into the canyon towards Vegas. DO NOT descend directly into the South Fork of the canyon, unless you fancy crowd surfing through scrub oak. Instead, head North a quarter of a mile passing the ridge that divides the North and South forks and head down into the North Fork.




    Bottom up Approach: If a shuttle is not available, Mud Springs Canyon can also be done as a loop from the bottom. This skips the North fork of the canyon, which is quite fun, but hits all of the main section which is definitely the highlight. From the exit point, follow the Black Velvet trail into a wash, then immediately into another larger wash (draining out of Mud Springs Canyon). Follow the trail for a little more than a 10th of a mile. There the Mud Springs Canyon wash on your left carves south away from the trail, and a small climbing path cuts directly West to follow the wash towards the escarpment. If you can't find the trail, just trek across the desert here directly towards the mouth of the canyon, but things will be much easier if you find it.



    Eventually you'll be forced into the wash. Boulder hop into the canyon until you encounter the final rappel which comes in from the right. Scramble around this to your left to arrive on top of the final rappel. From here, look west (left looking up the canyon) and scramble/climb up a space between the rocks just below the 2nd to last rappel. This will take you up some rock scrambling (class 3) along a ridge and through a pass in the rock where you can descend right into the canyon, do so and it will take you down into the main fork of Mud Springs Canyon just above the good stuff.
  • Skills required: This canyon is fairly easy. All anchors should be natural, but placements are fairly obvious for those with some experience at building anchors.

    Rappels: 8-9 rappels up to 95 feet for full route. 4 rappels up to 60 feet for the bottom only.

    Water Several short swimmers and two potential floating disconnects.

    Anchor Conditions: Should be all natural. Bolts are illegal here.

    Gear Recommendations: Helmet, harness, webbing, rapids, a wetsuit unless it's really hot.

    Flash Flood Danger: Low. In most places you could get out of the path of a flash flood.
  • Exit out the canyon through the wash keeping an eye out for a small path on the left. It follows the side of the wash and exits to the north, staying close to the wash through the desert once the sides of the wash become flat. Eventually you will hit a bike trail. Turn right and take it shortly back to your car.
  • This is BLM land, outside of the Red Rocks loop so no entrance. No camping allowed below 5000 feet. Watch out for Mountain Bikers on the drive.

Condition Reports for Mud Springs Canyon

  1. Brandon Rial
    Oct 14, 2013
    Brandon Rial

    Difficulty:

    NA

    Skill Level:

    NA

    Water:

    NA

    Thermal:

    NA

    Group Size:

    NA

    Total Time:

    NA


    Made the trip through it Sunday October 13, 2013
    there were 3 of us in our party (Arthur, Trent and myself) we made it through the canyon in 6 hrs taking several breaks along the way. There was very little water which all could be avoided with a little creativity however i didn't mind the water and got in to about knee deep, the larger pools were pretty low so you could completely avoid them.

    Posted Oct 14, 2013
      Artur likes this.
  2. Martin Taylor
    May 30, 2017
    Martin Taylor

    Difficulty:

    Moderate

    Skill Level:

    Intermediate

    Water:

    Dry/avoidable

    Thermal:

    NA

    Group Size:

    1 people

    Total Time:

    1 hour 9 hours


    Accomplished this trip solo 3 times in 2017. It took between 8 and 10 hours around trip and about 9 miles. The First time was in May and the other 2 times were in October. There wasn't much water in the bowls, and I was able to avoid getting wet at each rappel. I started off at the coordinates N36.01522 W115.45296 from Black Velvet access road. Hiked up the canyon that was south of the peak and mud springs canyon. All natural anchors were in good shape. I did not have to replace any.

    Posted Jan 21, 2018
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