Elevation: 3,885 ft
GPS: 36.035, -115.45 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 599,489 total · 3,261/month
Shared By: M. Morley on Feb 16, 2004
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen
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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


Black Velvet Canyon could well be called the crown jewel of Red Rocks. The black, varnished rock is of the highest quality and its walls host a high concentration of excellent and longer trade routes. With walls over 2,000 feet high, the canyon receives little sunlight and as such can be quite a bit cooler than other areas. Area classics include Epinephrine (V 5.9, 12-18 pitches), Prince of Darkness (5.10c), Frogland (5.8), Triassic Sands (5.10c), Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a), Yellow Brick Road (5.10a), Refried Brains (5.9) and many others that I haven't yet climbed. As expected, the classics tend to be crowded (especially Frogland, Prince of Darkness, and Epinephrine). It is recommended to have an alternative in mind should there be a queue for your desired route.

Many routes require two ropes to rappel.

Camping is NOT permitted at the trailhead (parking area) and violators will be ticketed. Legal camping can be found 2 miles east of the Visitor Center on Hwy 159 for $10 per night per site.

IMPORTANT: Waste bags are provided by the Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council in order to reduce human waste issues at the crags and boulders. Please feel free to take one, use as directed, and dispose of in any trash receptacle. Please do not leave them lying around, and do not throw them in the toilets at the parking areas. The project was funded primarily by the American Alpine Club's Cornerstone Conservation Grant, with additional funding from the Access Fund and Mountain Gear. Please do your part to be a good steward of this amazing climbing area.

Getting There

Unlike much of the Red Rocks area, Black Velvet Canyon is NOT accessed via the Scenic Loop Road. Instead, from the Red Rock Canyon Campground (a.k.a. "13 Mile Campground"), drive southeast on Hwy 159. At the intersection with Hwy 160 (gas station w/ good beer selection), turn right (west) for approximately 4.5 miles towards Pahrump. Be on the lookout for a pullout and road on the right-hand (north) side. There is a paved parking lot here (called the "Latenight Trailhead" by the mountain bike set) with rest rooms. Follow the dirt road north from the parking area. After a mile or two the road makes a left turn (west) at a usually closed gate and ends at a parking area near the mouth of the canyon. Although fairly bumpy, 2WD vehicles **should** be okay on this road. Park and follow the well-defined trail from here. Count on a half hour to 1 hour for approach.

119 Total Climbs

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Location: 16-Black Velvet Canyon Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at 16-Black Velvet Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Trad 6 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Refried Brains
Trad 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Trad 13 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
The Misunderstanding
Trad 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Dream of Wild Turkeys
Trad 7 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sour Mash
Trad 6 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
The Gobbler
Trad 3 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wholesome Fullback
Trad 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Rock Warrior
Trad 6 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Triassic Sands
Trad 6 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Prince of Darkness
Trad, Sport 6 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Fiddler on the Roof
Trad, Sport 7 pitches
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Our Father
Trad 3 pitches
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
The Delicate Sound of Thunder
Trad 2 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Trad, Sport 3 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Frogland Whiskey Peak
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 6 pitches
Refried Brains Black Velvet Wall
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Epinephrine Black Velvet Wall
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 13 pitches
The Misunderstanding Whiskey Peak
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Dream of Wild Turkeys Black Velvet Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 7 pitches
Sour Mash Black Velvet Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 6 pitches
The Gobbler Black Velvet Wall
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Wholesome Fullback Whiskey Peak
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Rock Warrior Black Velvet Wall
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad 6 pitches
Triassic Sands Whiskey Peak
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 6 pitches
Prince of Darkness Black Velvet Wall
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Sport 6 pitches
Fiddler on the Roof Black Velvet Wall
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Sport 7 pitches
Our Father Whiskey Peak
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R Trad 3 pitches
The Delicate Sound of Thunder Whiskey Peak
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad 2 pitches
Ixtlan Whiskey Peak
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad, Sport 3 pitches
More Classic Climbs in 16-Black Velvet Canyon »

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There are 2 dirt roads in close proximity. If you reach mile marker 16, you have gone to far, it's the previous dirt road. Mar 22, 2004
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
Well, someone finally got around to paving the Black Velvet turnoff. When you get out there on 160, just look for the nicely paved right hand turn that turns into a dirt road after about 150 feet.... Sep 3, 2005
Poughkeepsie, NY
rgold   Poughkeepsie, NY
The turn-off and the dirt road in can be seen quite clearly in Google Earth, which is even capable of rendering a few cliff details (worth a look if you will be descending Black Velvet Peak and also Windy Peak, for example).

The turn-off is at (36 deg 00 min 35.5 sec) North, (115 deg 25 min 55.55 sec) West. Apr 15, 2009
The last time I was visiting Black Velvet canyon, the entrance was still being re-paved. Is the roadwork now complete and is the original access to BV canyon now open? Last Spring I had to take a 4WD detour to get back there...thanks in advance. JE Apr 30, 2009
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
The roadwork is finished, all is back to normal ... back to the usual program of seeing how far your rental car can get. Apr 30, 2009
Peter Lewis
Bridgton, ME
Peter Lewis   Bridgton, ME
The dirt road is fine. We did it in 20 miuntes in a tiny economy rental car in October 2009. Just go slow. Nov 3, 2009
Ken Chase
Toronto, ON
Ken Chase   Toronto, ON
comments on the parking lot here are older than my last visit by far. was there 2010,11,12 all feb/mar/arp so a bit out of date but useful:

We did the dirt road to parking in a front wheel drive rental and one time on a rear donut (lol, long story). Required getting out of the car to move some midsized rocks by hands, and occasionally needed a spotter for clearance in front of car, and came out in the dark each time, but was fine, unless new beta says washed out or deeper ruts. There's 2 parking lot sections, the upper one (which brings you a whole 100 yards closer..) was inaccessible without high clearance but not a big deal. Dec 23, 2014
yann gauthier
Trois-Rivières, QC
yann gauthier   Trois-Rivières, QC
vimeo.com/214904598 Apr 30, 2017
We were out last October (2016) and 4x4s were getting temporarily stuck on a portion of the black velvet entrance road. Has the road been fixed so a sedan can make it again? Aug 19, 2017
Is the road in a condition where we can make it in an economy rental? Feb 1, 2018
Gary N  
I was climbing here on 2/9 and a bunch of people got their windows smashed and cars banged up. From someone I talked to, they only had their credit cards stolen even though they had a van full of stuff. Not sure about the other people. There was broken glass everywhere.

I was in a rental with nothing in sight, although there was evidence they tried to pry the doors open, and there were dents from rocks being thrown at the vehicle.

We passed a ranger on the way out, and he said they may have to think about trail cameras for the future.

Might be best to either avoid this place unless you've got good insurance, or leave nothing in your car and the windows down! (Walk from Late Night TH??)

I won't be returning in my vehicle, that's for sure! Feb 12, 2018
Professor Snax
Professor Snax   Atlanta
I'm curious how other's have fared with the cobbled/gravel road from Late Night TH. I have a front-wheel drive Rav4 and I wasn't convinced I could make it past the first 1/4 mile without incident. It seemed pretty gnarly but maybe I'm too cautious? This was the end of January '18.

Also, those break-ins are a unnerving to hear about! Thanks for the heads up, Gary. Feb 17, 2018
John Carson
Austin, TX
John Carson   Austin, TX
Lost Julbo Glacier Glasses one week ago on Friday the 15th if you have seen them contact me at (512) 8OO-2791 1 day ago · Lost & Found