Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
380.00 ft (115.82 m)
Trail type
2.20 mi (3.54 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Keystone Thrust Trail is a out-and-back trail within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area that leads to a geologically significant exposed area of two different tectonic plates.

The hike is about 1.1 miles one way, and it gains about 400 feet in elevation. It leads through a shadeless area of Red Rock with scenic views of surrounding ridges and a distant portion of the Las Vegas skyline before arriving at the thrust.

Jutting out red in color, a contrast to the surrounding gray mountains and ridges, the Keystone Thrust allows one to see exposed sections of the Pacific and North American continental plates. While most plate movement takes place deep underground, it is possible to step from one plate to the other here. The impact between these two plates are what formed the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west, along with what formed the landscape of Red Rock Canyon.

It is possible to walk around the thrust area, where a stream may trickle or run, depending on seasonal conditions. The hike, though short, does have a pretty steady climb and can get very hot during the summer. The trail continues beyond the thrust, though it soon ends on an adjacent ridge.

From the thrust, return the way you came back to the White Rock Parking Area. 

Visitors will find a vault toilet and interpretive signs at the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee


Unique visible geologic occurrence.


No shade.

Trailhead Elevation

4,862.00 ft (1,481.94 m)


Geologically significant


Nearby Adventures

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area


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