Canyoneering Route Description

Bee Canyon - 3A III
Mount Charleston, Nevada.
Spring Mountain National Recreation Area.

Quick Facts

04-29-16, 3 people, 1 Day (Travel time in route 6.75 hours) Pictures Icon Went up the optional south ridge and to Bee Peak then down Bee Canyon.

Time Required - 3 to 5 hours for the lower approach.  (4 to 6 hours for optional south ridge to Bee Peak then down Bee Canyon)
Distance - 5.2 miles Total, 0.4 miles Technical  - for lower approach
Rappels - 5 Rappels, Longest Rappel 70 feet.
Elevation Range - 2970 - 3970 Feet  (if going up to Bee Peak 4800 feet)
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - Passenger carefully driven - High Clearance preferred. Permit Required - No

Gear Used for Canyon

Rappelling and anchor gear, Ropes and or pull cords for rappels up to 70 feet and 50 feet of 1 inch webbing for sling placement.  A couple anchors are set back a ways and need to be extended and this canyon is not frequently done so odds are good you will be replacing webbing.

General Comments

Bee Canyon offers a desert hike and a short canyon not too far from town. Bee Canyon does not offer anything epic but is a fun way to spend a few hours with friends.  Bee Peak is described in one of Courtney Purcell's books of peaks around Las Vegas.  Thanks to Kevin Humes for inviting us on his quest to one of the most unfulfilling peak hikes I have been on.  I was more interested in the lower canyon so I sat down and enjoyed the solitude while the Kevin and Tracy did the last 0.3 miles out then back to Bee Peak.

While this route is in lesser traveled areas, be aware there are a lot of places nearby that are commonly used as desert shooting areas.  While hiking in and out, it is common to hear gun shots.

The approach route described here goes up and over the northern side of the canyon to drop in just above the lower technical section of Bee Canyon and does not take you to Bee Peak or down the upper non-technical portion of the canyon. While route finding across open desert, you will cross a few deep washes where you will need to drop down into then back up the other side. There are also various animal trails all over the place, don't let the animal trails lead you to the wrong place.  Good navigation skills with map or GPS will help keep you on track.

Alternate approach and trip to near by Bee Peak:
Alternatively you can travel farther across open desert go up the ridge on the south side (not the north side as described here) of the canyon then follow that ridge all the way to Bee Peak.  From Bee Peak descend the upper non-technical portion of Bee Canyon before getting back down to the lower technical portion. Hiking the ridge up to Bee Peak is relatively straight forward and easy to figure out but adds significant elevation gain and distance to the route, so it is not described here. If you are one who likes going to minor peaks in random places in the desert, Bee Peak at 4800 feet is for you.

Note / Navigation Aid:
While following the approach route take a look back toward the car park a few times to get a feel for what to look for after exiting Bee Canyon. The white patch for the car parking is easy to identify from a distance but the car may not be easy to spot.

Driving Directions

To get to the Trailhead

High clearance recommended. Carefully driven passenger car can make it.

From Las Vegas, drive north on I-95 out of town. A few miles out of town you will pass the exit for Snow Canyon. Continue north on the 95 for another 4.5 miles to a turn off on the left (west) side of the road (ExTheMost). I called the road The Most since that was painted on some concrete nearby on my first visit. There is no turn off for this side road from the north bound side. You will need find a way to cross the highway or drive up to the next exit and double back on the south bound side to get to the turn off.

Drive west on this rough dirt road ignoring turn offs onto power line roads on the way. 0.7 miles from the highway will be the parking area in a target shooting area in a large white patch of dirt (pkBeeCanyon).

This white area of dirt is pretty easy to see in the distance so it makes a great navigation aid for the hike back to the car from the canyon exit.

To leave the Exit Vehicle / Escape Pod

No exit vehicle is needed.  This is done as a loop route.

Maps

GPS coordinate information listed at the bottom.  For information about waypoint naming and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Map Link Icon
Click the links for maps of the route.

Map of the entire route.
Map of last part of approach and the technical section.

Details

The Approach:
From parking spot (pkBeeCanyon) route find open desert to a minor wash running up the hills just north of Bee Canyon. Note that the minor wash is not seen from the parking area and will come into view as you get closer. Follow the blue line in the route image.

Example Pic. Viewed from near the parking area. Follow the blue line toward Bee Peak.

Example Pic. As you get closer to the mountains and Bee Canyon this will be your view.  Follow the blue line up the wash then up the hill to the side of of Bee Canyon.

As you get close to the base of the mountains (BeeCyn10), follow the well used animal trails west up along the right (north) side rim of the wash.

About 700 feet up the trail along the wash rim (BeeCyn11) the trail has one switch back in it going up about 15 feet.

About 200 feet farther the trail drops into the wash (BeeCyn12) just above a dry fall.

About 100 feet up the wash, the wash starts a sharp bend to the left (BeeCyn13). Leave the wash and scramble up the left (south) side and roughly follow the drainage but staying high up on the rim for easier travel Faintly used animal trails follow the rim and make walking a bit easier.

About 350 feet farther the route gets close to dropping back in the wash where the rim is low again (BeeCyn14). Veer left (southeast) away from the drainage and begin scrambling up steep but easy slopes. As you go up look for animal trails veering more left (east) to go around a point for easier travel.

About 500 feet up the slopes the route follows animal trails around a point (BeeCyn15) then contours over into another drainage.

About 200 feet farther the route crosses another drainage (BeeCyn16). Continue southeast up slope about 500 feet to a small saddle.

From the small saddle (BeeCyn17) looking south down into Bee Canyon. Scramble down the slopes about 100 feet and into Bee Canyon.

Once in Bee Canyon (BeeCyn18) turn left and walk east down canyon about 70 feet to where the canyon starts to slot up (yBeeCanyonTp). 

The Canyoneering / Technical Section:
From where the canyon starts to slot up (yBeeCanyonTp) walk a rubble filled wash and a few easy scrambles.

About 150 feet down canyon are about 4 downclimbs (BeeCyn19) of about 6 feet each.  Shortly down canyon is rap 1.

Rap 1 (dBeeCynR1-2) is anchored LDC from a rock outcropping about 10 feet back and drops about 30 feet with a ledge about 8 feet down.

Rap 2 just after rap 1 is anchored from a cairn anchor and drops about 70 feet.

Continue down canyon with a lot of short easy scrambling and downclimbing for about 1000 feet to the next rap.

Rap 3 (dBeeCynR3) is anchored from a rock about 15 feet back from the drop and drops about 25 feet. There is a vertical downclimb of about 8 feet just before the rap where some people may want a partner assist.  Rap 4 is shortly down canyon.

Rap 4 (dBeeCynR4-5 ) anchored from a rock about 20 feet back and drops about 25 feet down into a pothole about 10 feet deep. The pothole is easily climbed out of and if full of water you can get over it while on rap with a little effort.

Rap 5 just around the corner from rap 4 and drops about 60 feet down a sloped section of canyon. This rap can be downclimbed with moderate difficulty or optionally anchored RDC about 20 feet back by a knot chock anchor.

About 350 feet down canyon the walls drop down (yBeeCanyonBt) and you are in a wash with high dirt banks. The animal trails on the LDC (north) side make an easy walk up out of the wash onto the bank.

The Exit:
From Where the walls drop down (yBeeCanyonBt) Look for and follow up the animal trails up out of the wash on the LDC (north) side.

Shortly after leaving the wash the animal trail tops out on the LDC (north) bank (BeeCyn20). From here route find your way northeast about 2 miles back to your car. While walking the desert you will have good views most of the time over to the car park (pkBeeCanyon) area since the white dirt you parked in is visible for a long way away. 

GPS Waypoint Information

GPX Files Available for DOWNLOAD.
Downloadable GPX files for many of the canyons listed here are now available at the BG-Gear Store.  In addition to the waypoints, the GPX files also offer routes and tracks for the canyon.  Over time more GPX files will be added.

If you want to avoid manually adding waypoints into your GPS or mapping software, want the additional routes and tracks or simply want to support the efforts put into BluuGnome, head over to the BG-Gear Store and grab the files that interest you.

Elevations are approximate.  Waypoints with no elevation data will display NaN in place of the elevation.

For information about my waypoint naming convention and map symbols, refer to the Glossary page.

Notes for GPS information:
BEFORE
entering coordinates from this website, please ensure your system (GPS or mapping software) is set to the same datum used here.  Waypoint coordinates are listed with WGS84 datum and in Lat/Lon hddd.ddddd° format.  Entering coordinate information with inconsistent datum's can result in the waypoints being off by hundreds of feet.  It is important to keep this in mind when entering waypoints from any source.

Bee Canyon (1) - Drive to Trailhead
  1. ExTheMost          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.40828   W -115.40737        Elev: NaN Feet
    Exit off of highway 95 onto an un-named dirt road by a cement culvert. I call this road The Most because that is what was spray painted on the cement by the road on my first visit. Drive west on this road ignoring turn offs onto power line roads on the way. 0.7 miles from the highway will be the parking area in a target shooting area full of trash in a large white patch of dirt.
  2. pkBeeCanyon          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.40572   W -115.41884        Elev: 2,970 Feet
    Park here to start the Bee Canyon route. This is a large white dirt area with a ton of debris / trash around for it being used as a taget shooting area. A carefully driven passenger car can be driven to here but high clearence would be a better option. This white area of dirt is pretty easy to see in the distance so it makes a great navigation aid for the hike back to the car from the canyon exit. To go to the lower technical portion of Bee Canyon, route find open desert to a minor wash running up the hills just north of Bee Canyon. Note that the minor wash is not seen from the parking area and will come into view as you get closer. Follow the blue line in the route image. To go up the southern ridge to Bee Peak, Walk across open desert southish about 1.6 miles over to the base of the ridge that goes up to the west. Bee Canyon is the large canyon just right of the ridge you will be going up. As you walk the desert there will be a few washes you will need to cross with semi steep dirt banks. If you walk just the right route you may be lucky enough to find the bench mark located about half way between the parking and the base of the ridge.
Bee Canyon (2) - Approach
  1. pkBeeCanyon          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.40572   W -115.41884        Elev: 2,970 Feet
    Park here to start the Bee Canyon route. This is a large white dirt area with a ton of debris / trash around for it being used as a taget shooting area. A carefully driven passenger car can be driven to here but high clearence would be a better option. This white area of dirt is pretty easy to see in the distance so it makes a great navigation aid for the hike back to the car from the canyon exit. To go to the lower technical portion of Bee Canyon, route find open desert to a minor wash running up the hills just north of Bee Canyon. Note that the minor wash is not seen from the parking area and will come into view as you get closer. Follow the blue line in the route image. To go up the southern ridge to Bee Peak, Walk across open desert southish about 1.6 miles over to the base of the ridge that goes up to the west. Bee Canyon is the large canyon just right of the ridge you will be going up. As you walk the desert there will be a few washes you will need to cross with semi steep dirt banks. If you walk just the right route you may be lucky enough to find the bench mark located about half way between the parking and the base of the ridge.
  2. BeeCyn10          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38511   W -115.44143        Elev: 3,440 Feet
    Follow the well used animal trails west up along the right (north) side rim of the wash.
  3. BeeCyn11          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38451   W -115.44373        Elev: NaN Feet
    Trail has one switch back in it going up about 15 feet.
  4. BeeCyn12          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38405   W -115.44408        Elev: NaN Feet
    Trail drops into the wash just above a dry fall.
  5. BeeCyn13          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38398   W -115.44449        Elev: NaN Feet
    Wash starts a sharp bend to the left. Leave the wash and scramble up the left (south) side and roughly follow the drainage but staying high up on the rim for easier travel Faintly used animal trails follow the rim and make walking a bit easier.
  6. BeeCyn14          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38305   W -115.44500        Elev: NaN Feet
    Route gets close to dropping back in the wash where the rim is low again. Veer left (southeast) away from the drainage and begin scrambling up steep but easy slopes. As you go up look for animal trails veering more left (east) to go around a point for easier travel.
  7. BeeCyn15          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38264   W -115.44391        Elev: NaN Feet
    Route follows animal trails around a point then contours over into another drainage.
  8. BeeCyn16          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38211   W -115.44369        Elev: NaN Feet
    Route crosses another drainage. Continue southeast up slope about 500 feet to a small saddle.
  9. BeeCyn17          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38105   W -115.44249        Elev: 3,970 Feet
    Small saddle looking south down into Bee Canyon. Scramble down the slopes about 100 feet and into Bee Canyon.
  10. BeeCyn18          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38063   W -115.44210        Elev: NaN Feet
    Route drops into Bee Canyon. Turn left and walk east down canyon about 70 feet to where the canyon starts to slot up.
  11. yBeeCanyonTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38071   W -115.44189        Elev: 3,900 Feet
    The canyon begins to slot up and feel deeper. Walk a rubble filled wash and a few easy scrambles.
Bee Canyon (3) - Canyon and Exit
  1. yBeeCanyonTp          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38071   W -115.44189        Elev: 3,900 Feet
    The canyon begins to slot up and feel deeper. Walk a rubble filled wash and a few easy scrambles.
  2. BeeCyn19          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38052   W -115.44156        Elev: 3,875 Feet
    About 4 downclimbs of about 6 feet each.
  3. dBeeCynR1-2          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38060   W -115.44131        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 1 and 2 in Bee Canyon. Rap 1 anchored LDC from a rock outcropping about 10 feet back and drops about 30 feet with a ledge about 8 feet down. Rap 2 anchored from a cairn anchor and drops about 70 feet. Continue down canyon with a lot of short easy scrambling and downclimbing for about 1000 feet to the next rap.
  4. dBeeCynR3          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38303   W -115.43896        Elev: NaN Feet
    Rap 3 - Bee Canyon. Anchored from a rock about 15 feet back from the drop and drops about 25 feet. There is a vertical downclimb of about 8 feet just before the rap where some people may want a partner assist.
  5. dBeeCynR4-5          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38323   W -115.43895        Elev: NaN Feet
    Raps 4 and 5 - Bee Canyon. Rap 4 anchored from a rock about 20 feet back and drops about 25 feet down into a pothole about 10 feet deep. The pothole is easily climbed out of and if full of water you can get over it while on rap with a little effort. Rap 5 just around the corner from rap 4 and drops about 60 feet down a sloped section of canyon. This rap can be downclimbed with moderate difficulty or optionally anchored RDC about 20 feet back by a knot chock anchor.
  6. yBeeCanyonBt          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38391   W -115.43853        Elev: 3,415 Feet
    Bottom of Bee Canyon where the walls drop down and you are in a wash with high dirt banks. The animal trails on the LDC (north) side make an easy walk up out of the wash onto the bank. Look for and follow up the animal trails up out of the wash on the LDC (north) side.
  7. BeeCyn20          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.38430   W -115.43866        Elev: 3,480 Feet
    Shortly after leaving the wash the animal trail tops out on the LDC (north) bank here. From here route find your way northeast about 2 miles back to your car. While walking the desert you will have good views most of the time over to the car park area since the white dirt you parked in is visible for a long way away.
  8. pkBeeCanyon          Lat/Lon (WGS84):  N 36.40572   W -115.41884        Elev: 2,970 Feet
    Park here to start the Bee Canyon route. This is a large white dirt area with a ton of debris / trash around for it being used as a taget shooting area. A carefully driven passenger car can be driven to here but high clearence would be a better option. This white area of dirt is pretty easy to see in the distance so it makes a great navigation aid for the hike back to the car from the canyon exit. To go to the lower technical portion of Bee Canyon, route find open desert to a minor wash running up the hills just north of Bee Canyon. Note that the minor wash is not seen from the parking area and will come into view as you get closer. Follow the blue line in the route image. To go up the southern ridge to Bee Peak, Walk across open desert southish about 1.6 miles over to the base of the ridge that goes up to the west. Bee Canyon is the large canyon just right of the ridge you will be going up. As you walk the desert there will be a few washes you will need to cross with semi steep dirt banks. If you walk just the right route you may be lucky enough to find the bench mark located about half way between the parking and the base of the ridge.