Hikers in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area may have seen Dale’s Trail in their travels. Employees and volunteers in the park attribute the title to Dale Morrison, who led a group of three Eagle Scout troops and the National Outdoor Leadership School in the trail’s construction in 1996.
“Dale’s effort as a volunteer shows the passion and care all of our volunteers have for Red Rock Canyon and other areas like it,” said Kate Sorom, interpretive park ranger for the Bureau of Land Management. “They like the ability to meet new people with similar interests; they want to help conserve and protect our wild places so that everyone has a place to go to for quiet, spiritual renewal or just to feel good and stay healthy … It was such a long time ago, none of us remember Dale’s last name. He no longer volunteers. The trail was his last project.”
The Boy Scouts of America office said it has no information on Morrison as its records don’t go back that far.
But Ken Osgood, who has been a volunteer with Friends of Red Rock since 1994 and has worked trail maintenance, recalled working alongside Morrison to install the trail.
“Dale’s Trail, we put it in between Ice Box and Pine Creek,” Osgood said. “I was working a few volunteer days with him, I’m guessing 1996, 1997. … I think he was retired.”
He said Morrison was in his 60s, not a thin man, had mentioned being from “back east” and was thought to be retired. Osgood recalled him as committed to getting the trail built but was also receptive to input from others about where the trail should be placed.
To get to Dale’s Trail, enter the park and take the Scenic Loop Drive to Ice Box Canyon’s parking lot. Go down the trail, climb out of the wash and hike about 200 yards on a recently built trail. To the south of the trail, at about the tree line, is the entrance to Dale’s Trail.
An alternate way to get to it is to drive to Pine Creek, park and then hike across the wash about 300 yards, and there will be a sign for Dale’s Trail. The latter route allows hikers more scenic views, Osgood said.
Dale’s Trail is home to Skull Rock, an oversized boulder that looks as if it belongs in Treasure Island on the Strip.
Tom Pfaendler, another volunteer with Friends of Red Rock, wrote about the trail in the group’s newsletter years ago:
“This month we continue exploring the lengthy Escarpment Base Trail by hiking along the middle segment known as Dale’s Trail, which could have been named for it’s (sic) hill-and-dale topography, but was really named after Dale Morrison. … You can access Dale’s Trail from either Ice Box Canyon, where it intersects with the SMYC (Spring Mountain Youth Camp) trail, or along the Pine Creek trail across from the remains of the old Wilson Homestead gate. This two-mile route around Bridge Mountain is rated moderate, but I would bump that up to strenuous in the summer months. If you go, take all the water you can carry, and if there’s any room left, take your camera, you’re going to want it.
“The first thing that strikes you about Dale’s Trail is the solitude. Chances are really good that you will be the only hiker out here. This is a very lightly traveled path, probably because it lacks its own parking lot, or doesn’t seem to have a unique point of interest (actually it does), so the tourists go elsewhere and the locals just tend to ignore it. Fine! Sometimes life is good. I’ll say flatly that this is one of the very best hiking trails at Red Rock! It offers diversity, great beauty, challenge and a certain pristine feeling that is somehow missing on the more popular trails. Along the way you will find four wooden benches strategically located for you to relax and enjoy the views. Amazingly, none of these benches have been vandalized! The second thing that strikes you about Dale’s Trail is the terrific design work. (Ninety percent) of this trail was laid out perfectly with comfortable grades and genuine Kodak moments around every turn.”
Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.