Exploring Arizona | Grapevine Canyon Trail in Nevada

After getting lost for 14 miles on a desert trail in Kingman, I completed the rest of my Arizona hikes with companions. During the brief time that my neighbours tolerated me, two ladies who were RVing solo invited me to go hiking with them. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the experience, because I had never spent time with anyone at the park. But, I figured, as long as I drove my own vehicle, I would be fine.

The ladies were up bright and early for the hike. I had a long night of work, so I got up a little late. I gobbled down breakfast, got dressed, and packed my hiking gear. I was out of there just in time for the planned 10 AM departure from Golden Valley, Arizona. It was a 30-mile drive to Grapevine Canyon.

I hadn’t looked up the trail and was preparing to be as underwhelmed as I had been on the Monolith Gardens Loop Trail. Yet, as we neared the location, I perked up in my seat. I was driving towards the most beautiful part of Arizona I had ever seen. “Finally!” I shouted in the car. “Somewhere in Arizona, I can fall in love with.”

Well, the joke was on me. “Welcome to Nevada!” my GPS told me, as I crossed the bridge from Bullhead City into Laughlin. I couldn’t help but laugh. In a few minutes, we made a right turn onto a dirt road. It was well-maintained but rough.

Back to the Silver State

Driving for just half an hour and being back in my new home state was a good reminder that I wasn’t far away from people who were a lot saner than what I had encountered in Mohave County. This part of the desert is also close enough to California to bear a striking resemblance to Joshua Tree National Park, but the colours aren’t as beautiful and the rock formations aren’t as delightful.

The Petroglyphs

The area was originally inhabited by the Mojave Native Americans and they created more than 700 Petroglyphs. These writings and drawings date back to anywhere from 1900 AD to 1100 AD. Historians have no clear idea what they mean or why they were created.

The Climbing

Navigating this trail required more climbing and scrambling up and down the face of rocks than actual walking. It was so confusing that about a half a mile in, we met a lady who was about to give up on finding a safe way into the canyon. She was hiking alone, so we invited her to hike with us.

I wouldn’t call it dangerous, per se, but there are definitely some perfect opportunities to slip, slide and break bones. I barely took pictures on the hike, because we passed through a lot of areas where I needed both hands or would risk dropping my phone into places I could never recover it from.

On the way out, someone in another hiking group fell. We could hear the screams bouncing off the rocks while we walked back to the car.

Do not hike this trail alone. Even I wouldn’t do it!

The Canyon

I love scrambling through the crevices between rocks, particularly when I know the temperatures are not favourable for our slithering friends to be out and about.

At the end of this walk through the canyon, we had to climb out.

The Plants

If you’re wondering how the canyon got its name, there are actually grapevines inside. The only picture I took of them was me getting lost inside them. There were also some surprisingly tall, lush trees for desert landscapes.

The Mountainviews

If memory serves, the ladies I hiked with referred to the mountain range as Spirit Mountain. I would have loved to see them against a sunset sky, but I would never try to hike back from this location under a dying sun.

This was the only hike I did with these ladies. After this, the one we met on the trail flew back to Florida, for work. One of the other two ladies was one of the many who ostracised me during my flag wars with the Confederacy. The other lady was a best friend of hers. While she denounced her friend’s actions as wrong and maintained contact, we never went hiking together again.

The final hike I took in Arizona was with a guy I had met through them. When these women cancelled our next planned hike out of the blue, on Day One of Ostracising Alex, he shrugged them off and came with me. That’s the hike I’ll be sharing next week.

If you ever make it to Laughlin, Nevada, I recommend getting a group of friends together to tackle this hike. When it starts to look impossible, start looking for safe ways to climb up and over obstacles to make it to the other side.

You might also want to take the day off. I had hiked Monolith Gardens Trail Loop just two or three days before this. I was sore for almost two days, afterwards!

What trail have you hiked that put your body to the test? What was it about the trail that made it challenging?

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21 thoughts on “Exploring Arizona | Grapevine Canyon Trail in Nevada

    1. I’ve never done the Blue Mountain hike, but I really want to. When I lived in Buff Bay, there were so many signs all around for tour guides going up there, but I was nine and my parents were not about that life. 😂

  1. You know things are bad when Alexis says even I wouldn’t hike this alone, ha! I love reading about your hikes 🙂 I didn’t do any hikes this year though. All the waterfalls I went to were just a few minutes’ walk. Looking forward to check out more of the hills and mountains next year.

  2. a hike that kicked my butt, was when a buddy and i did the “bright angel trail” at the grand canyon. my buddy said we could camp at the bottom, but when we got there we found out we could not camp as you had to make RESERVATIONS! my buddy said he was not aware of that. we had planned to spend a couple of days, but we spent a long night with several others in a stone building (which you were not supposed to camp in) at the bottom of the trail near the river. the next day we had to hike back up the trail to the south rim where we had started the day before. we had FULL packs! it took us ALL day to hike back up and both of us were dead the next day. lol also, we did not have enough water for the hike back as there was no water on that trail as we planned to get water at the camp ground which we never reached.

  3. What an adventure! Just seeing the photos you took of the hike, even I would be hesitant to do it on my own. I’ve gone on hikes by myself in the past, which might’ve been unwise, as it does help to have a buddy to keep you company in case of getting lost or anything worse. The petroglyphs are gorgeous, and I wished that I’d seen them when I’d gone to Joshua Tree this summer. Keep the posts coming!

    1. Yeah, I would not recommend it at all. The lady who was going to turn back was an avid solo hiker and felt unsafe doing it alone. I don’t blame her and I’ve done mostly solo hiking too!

      Are there petroglyphs in Joshua Tree? There should be. This park looked very similar to Joshua Tree to me, even though it was a state away. I think it’s because the Mojave desert stretches across. If I’m remembering correctly, JT is where the Mojave and the Colorado desert meet, which would explain why its colouring was still a little different from here.

      By the way, I’m thinking of heading up to Tahoe when it gets warm. That should be closer to your Cali latitude. 😅

  4. I don’t hike, but I enjoy reading about your adventures!
    As a kid, our Bible camp took a hike up Killington mountain. We experienced drinking ice cold water from a stream.

    1. Haha, you’re missing out! Maybe when I finally make it to Texas, I’ll convince you!

      I haven’t experienced drinking from cold streams yet, but I did go swimming in one. I’m not sure what the temperature was, but it was cold enough that the lady kept her wine and cheese out there instead of in her fridge!

      1. I’m sorry to hear that! I’m not sure what the reason is, but just a heads-up that there are paved trails you can ride a scooter on or even use a wheelchair. We have several in Atlanta. They aren’t as common as out west though.

      2. I’m getting older, (68) and life dealt me arthritis and bad low back. Scooter could be fun. I’m just not able to walk looong distances… standing still is harder. But I’m working on getting better stamina. It’s cooler now so I should start walking. 🙂

      3. Does biking make it any easier? You could probably get one of those e-bikes. I’ve been thinking of getting one myself!

      4. If you can handle a stationary bike, I think you’d do great on the e-bike. I was recommending it for trail use, definitely not for riding around town. The only trouble would be how to get it into your vehicle and back out. Some of them can be really heavy!

      5. No prob! If I finally get my hands on one, I’ll let you know how it goes. 😅

  5. Good to read about your adventures again. Love to hear how you made it to the other side of the country! Pictures are beautiful. How’s the cat?

    Marie (Marushka).

    1. Hi Marie! It’s been so long! How have you been with the pandemic and all? Thanks for dropping by!

      Shadow is doing great, so far! He took a few weeks to warm up to life on the road but he adjusted like a champ. He’s good in the pet carrier and he loves spying on the neighbours outside the window.

      I’m not sure if you’re on IG, but you can find him here: http://www.instagram.com/shadowtheprcat

  6. Enjoyed the read on this hike, but I suspect it’s a little beyond my desire, if not my ability. I don’t mind a bit of vertical ascent, but I prefer to do that on a trail rather than over boulders. >grin<

    I don't know how long you plan to stay in Arizona, but if you go south toward Sedona, I know you're sure to find some beautiful places to hike.

    1. I wouldn’t do the hike a second time, but I’m glad I went. The bouldering was fun, but I just think there are far more beautiful places to see in the desert than there.

      I’ve heard Sedona is stunning. It’s on my list with Coconino, but I didn’t get the chance to head that way, while I was in the area.

      I’m back in Cali. I needed a break from Arizona and all that racial tension. I might head back to AZ in the spring or summer. We shall see!

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