Red Spring Boardwalk, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Southern Nevada
Length: 0.56 mi
Width: 5 ft.
Surface type: Composite Boards
Typical grade: 4 %
Maximum grade: 8.3
Typical cross slope: 0 %
Maximum cross slope: 0 %
Red Spring boardwalk and picnic area are within Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in an area called Calico Basin. No fees or reservations required here, except for group picnics. The picnic area is adjacent to the parking lot which has seven accessible spaces. The boardwalk trailhead is at the picnic area.
During 2020 the original wooden boardwalk was replaced by a new structure of composite materials. From the picnic area the boardwalk ascends up to the spring meadow through an ash tree grove with an elevation gain of 26 ft. through three switchbacks. The structure meets U.S. Access Board standards for recreational trails in grade and width, with spaced rest areas on grades. The maximum grade is 8.3 % with horizontal rest areas at a maximum of 30 ft. interval.
Once up to the meadow, the trail ascends gradually another 25 feet in elevation up to the trickling Red Spring. The boardwalk trail makes a loop around the meadow to return to the grade back to the picnic area.
Don’t expect too much of the spring. It seeps underground to supply the meadow and trees with groundwater. The greenest period is spring. Several interpretive signs are placed along the trail explaining the local ecology, geology, and history of early inhabitants. A boulder with petroglyphs is right beside the trail.
The parking lot is usually crowded because of the hiking trailheads into the red rocks, but there is usually an accessible spot available. There is a vault toilet with handrails at the picnic area, but hold your nose, it is a vault toilet. It is cleaned frequently.
Beware of using the picnic area if a thunderstorm is brewing. The picnic area is in the drainage of the meadow above and is subject to flash floods (photo). This writer was there for one of those rare events and we had to get on top of the picnic tables because of the floodwater. However, it was exciting!
by Ed Price
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