Diverse canyon offers plenty to do, not the least of which is watching climbers
There are so many ways to enjoy Oak Creek in Red Rock Canyon that I've broken some of the major routes into separate hike descriptions. The most obvious way to reach Oak Creek is via the paved scenic loop road, which takes you down a gravel road to a parking area and trailhead. This is a nice place to begin if you want to explore the upper canyon, or as part of Knoll, Arnight, or long hikes to 1st Creek, Pine Creek, or Icebox. The lower canyon (between the parking lot and SR 159 - Charleston Blvd.) is one of the largest and most lush vegetation of any of the washes in Red Rock and I cover that in another hike. The wildflower blooms and snowmelt filling the creeks in spring may only be surpassed by the winter beauty of ice and snow in the canyon. Fall colors are spectacular, thanks to the ash, aspens, and willows. Brilliant purples of the western redbud contrast sharply against the green pines, mahogany, and junipers when early summer/late spring takes hold.
Red Rock Canyon is located 18 miles W of Las Vegas Blvd. on Charleston Ave. (SR 159). Enter the canyon at the fee/entry station & take the scenic loop to the very last pkg - Oak Creek TH. You can begin at this point (vault RR, no water) if you want to explore up into the canyon. This is also the TH for the Arnight, Knoll, trails. Follow the signs leading into Oak Creek canyon, or just follow the many rock climbers who work up the north wall of the canyon - Rainbow Mtn. The main trail from this parking area takes you west, along the north rim of the creek. Of the many ways to explore this canyon, this is the route most often written up in guidebooks. Horses have to use existing 2-track trails to ride within the maintained canyon - along scenic loop, so you don't want this pkg/TH. If you're not impressed with this hike, try one of the other because this is a great all-around canyon !!
Red Rock (BLM) ranger at entry to NCA (fee station) 702-515-5950