Mary Jane Falls, Nevada

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Mary Jane Falls in October 2016

Something like eight years ago or so, my father and I drove up the road to Mount Charleston near Las Vegas. It was a very beautiful drive, though being December, there was snow surrounding us. I knew there were waterfalls in the area, but there would be absolutely no way to see the falls.

So after heading to Las Vegas to visit a close friend of mine, he mentioned that it had just rained in the mountains the day before. It seemed like an ideal time to check out Mary Jane Falls now that one could actually walk to the falls without snow blocking the way.

The drive is still beautiful, and the hike was equally as beautiful. It’s not as easy of a hike as some might lead you to believe. The first half or so of the 1.5-mile (one-way) hike is on relatively level ground…it’s the second half that’s uphill switchbacks that you begin to feel the effects of the altitude change. (You’re going from 2000 to 7500′ along the drive.)

Luckily, it’s not a long hike, so just when you’re about ready to give up, you realize you’re at the falls. Now early October probably isn’t the best time to hope the falls will be wildly flowing… Even with rain in the mountains, we’re talking about a moderate trickle. It might not look like there’s any water in the photo here, but there’s actually more than appears. The wind was blowing just enough at times that where the water would fall would vary.

I would absolutely consider visiting again in late spring. I could also see visiting in the summer just to escape the heat, and in the fall, the changing colors of the trees are equally as stunning.

Directions:

  1. Take US-95 north out of Las Vegas.
  2. Turn left on NV-157, which is clearly marked as heading toward Mt. Charleston.
  3. Drive along Mt. Charleston until you’re nearing the peak. (If you go to far, you have to turn around at some point.)
  4. Turn right onto Echo Road. Drive to the end of Echo Road to a parking area.
  5. Take a left and turn onto the dirt road that leads to the parking area for Mary Jane Falls. (You can also walk from the previous parking area mentioned.)
  6. Follow the trail to the falls. About halfway, you do have to veer to the right and start going up the switchbacks.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: ~100′ (?)
Hike: ~3 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Mary Jane Falls?

First Creek Falls, Nevada

The first time at First Creek Falls was not the charm. The second time was disappointing as well. The third time was the charm!

In January 2009, both my father and I visited the Red Rocks area, and searched for First Creek Falls. We spent a considerable amount of time wandering around to no avail. We found small drops, but nothing significant. It was rather disappointing, but in the Red Rock Canyon, you can’t stay disappointed for long.

In January 2010, I visited the area again. This time around, I was rather unlucky. I got extremely sick the first day there. The second day around, I decided, with what little energy I had, to search for the falls. I had better directions, and I did find the falls, but there was no water! At least I knew the general area of the falls now.

In December 2010, I decided to show up again with my dad. The first full day there, I decided to go and check out the falls. Now, luck would dictate that there would be some problem. It had rained in Las Vegas for the past few days, and so it was the opposite extreme of no water. There was so much water that we couldn’t even pass what was the former dry creek bed at the start of the trail. We had been stymied again. Luckily, three days later, the rain had subsided, the rushing creek had subsided, and so it was easier to get to the falls. And with all that rain, it was pretty much guaranteed there would be water! Success! Oddly enough, my dad says that we had been there in 2009, but there wasn’t any water flowing then. I don’t remember getting to the falls, as I think I would remember a drop this big, even a dry one.

Directions:

  1. The waterfall is off NV-159 (Charleston Boulevard). I’m providing the link of the directions that I used since it is rather tricky to find the falls. Even finding the parking area is tricky, since it’s only marked in one direction, not the other.
    Bird and Hike’s Directions

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 2.2 miles round-trip

First Creek Falls in December 2010

Where in the World is First Creek Falls?

Lost Creek Falls, Nevada

Lost Creek Falls in January 2010

Nevada might not be the first place one thinks of when thinking about waterfalls, but there are some waterfalls in this dry state. Many of these waterfalls, though, are fleeting. They are most likely to be found in the winter and spring, and even then it appears their existence isn’t guaranteed.

Last year, when visiting the Las Vegas area in January, the creeks I visited did actually have a small amount of water flowing. This year, also in January, there was very little water at all. The waterfall on First Creek was completely dry. Lost Creek Falls had a small amount of water flowing over, but admittedly not enough to really show up well in the photograph.

If you live in the Las Vegas area or are visiting the area and are there has just been a rainfall or snow melt has occurred, that is likely the best time to view the falls. If the flow is higher, I think Lost Creek Falls might actually be pretty impressive. The falls were taller than I expected.

Directions:

  1. From Las Vegas, head toward the Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area, which is west of the city off of NV-159.
  2. On NV-159, head to the entrance to the scenic drive for the canyon. There is an entrance fee, which is definitely worth it even if the waterfall is not that great.
  3. Obtain a free visitor’s guide, and look for the area on the map indicating Lost Creek. The visitor’s guide very clearly describes the area.
  4. Begin your drive on the one-way road. You’ll definitely want to make stops along the way. After going more than halfway around the drive, you can either continue on the main road, or take a right. Take the right turn. You must go slowly as you are likely to miss this turn. If you miss it, you have to re-drive the loop again.
  5. After taking the right turn, go to the first parking area on your left, which will be for Lost Creek and the Children’s Discovery Trail.
  6. Park and take the trail for Lost Creek. Trust your instincts, as the trail does split off numerous times, often leading to other trails. The trail is VERY short, only a little more than 0.35 miles one-way. If you’ve gone any further, you’ve probably gone the wrong way.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Lost Creek Falls in December 2010 (flash floods 2 days earlier)

Where in the World is Lost Creek Falls?