Old Spanish Trail
Red Rock & Beyond starts on the Old Spanish Trail at what was once the Late Night Way Station. This was once the only trade route between Los Angeles and New Mexico. After leaving Late Night, you will almost immediately cross under the historic Blue Diamond Road and follow the Badger Pass trail. Here, the trail takes you up a small open valley between low rolling limestone hills. Curving to the right between hills, the trail brings you to the top of a saddle where you get your first good view of the west end of Cottonwood Valley. Now you make a quick 200 ft decent into the valley on to the New 33 Trail. At New 33 you will run west and enjoy a perfect view of the jagged mountains while heading straight towards Mt. Potosi, best known for the Carole Lombard plane crash in 1942. On the west side of the valley you will run south on the Dead Horse Loop Trail. No, you are not going to find any dead horses here, quite the opposite! This is wild mustang territory, where they can often be seen grazing in small herds, or even galloping by crazy desert trail runners. The Dead Horse Loop Trail rolls easily in and around the small wash canyons at the base of the foothills before crossing an old mine road and dropping quickly downhill to the Red Valley Aid Station.
After filling up quickly at this full service aid station, you are on your way up Red Valley for a dramatic change of scenery. As you ascend up Red Valley, you will be pleasantly distracted by an array of colorful wild flowers and Junipers. Watch closely on your right as you climb the valley and you'll catch a glimpse of an old Native American cooking pit. Towards the end of your Red Valley experience, you traverse a small set of switch backs which will quickly bring you to the top of the hills on the east side. Take a moment to enjoy the enjoy the view and get ready to open up with some speed as the Badger Pass Trail brings you back down a long gentle slope all the way back to back down to the Late Night Aid Station (a.k.a., the main aid station & Steph's Kitchen). You have now completed the 9 mile side of the figure eight course and after using the restroom and snacking on some delicious grub from Steph's Kitchen, you will head out to explore the 16 mile side. After leaving Late Night with a satisfied belly, you run east following a series of small inter connecting trails which lead you out to the Duck Tree. Yep, as most dirt loving Vegas trail runners know, we have a Duck Tree tucked away in a low tight valley. The famous Duck Tree is a yucca tree will small rubber duckies (think back to your childhood toys!) hanging from it. If you want to add to the collection just bring a small rubber duck and some string. As you speed away from your new duck friends, you will run around the mountain and connect up with Landmine Loop Trail before joining back up with the Old Spanish Trail again. Stay focused as you run through this area as you will see a few historical stone markers showing pictures of the original Spanish Trail. Parts of this trail date back to the 16th century!
As you quickly rise up the Spanish Trail, you will get a perfect view of the historic mining town of Blue Diamond and have an opportunity to again refuel at the Blue Diamond Aid Station. As you very quickly pass Blue Diamond, you continue on the Landmine Loop back through low open valleys, brining you back around the mountains. As the trail comes around the hills on the north end, you run past the historic Bonnie Springs Ranch and pass into the southern end of Red Rock Canyon. You will definitely want to pause briefly and soak in some of the most breath-taking views of Red Rock Canyon before continuing on Landmine Loop. Weaving in and out with ever changing scenery, you'll come to a trail junction and head due west to the Black Velvet Aid Station. After a quick bite and short run on the Black Velvet jeep road, you are quickly back to a single track paradise on the Inner Loop Trail where you get an astonishing 360 degree view of southern Red Rock Canyon.
After cruising the Inner Loop Trail, you will connect back to the Late Night Loop Trail, traveling along the base of the famous Sandstone Bluffs. Now is not the time to get sleepy! Stay alert and Lady Luck might shine down on you with a sighting of wild burros, deer, big horn sheep, or even Indian petroglyphs! As you emerge from the base of the bluffs, you'll start a gradual downhill run east, soon completing the 25 mile course and returning to the Late Night Aid Station for another great meal from Steph's Kitchen!
Now take a deep breath and get back out there and see what visual effects laps two, three and four bring! If you are not running the 100 miler, feel free to hang-out at Steph's Kitchen, consume some serious calories, and cheer on the 100 mile runners as you relax.
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