10 Best Hikes in Red Rock Canyon for an Unforgettable Adventure
When you’re dreaming of Nevada, images of neon lights and desert heat probably come to mind first. But hidden within these glimmering cities are beautiful natural attractions, waiting to be explored.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a stunning park made up of vibrant red sandstone rocks and skylines that stretch on for miles, offering breathtakingly unique opportunities for adventure. Here, you can explore more than two dozen trails, making it one of the most exciting tourist attractions in Las Vegas!
Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area is located only 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, but it feels like a world away. The 13-mile scenic loop winds through the park, bringing visitors past incredible red rocks and cliffs, as well as narrow canyons, Joshua Tree cactus and wildflower fields (depending on the season).
The site is home to some of Nevada’s most treasured hikes – so grab your gear, lace up your boots, and get ready to uncover some of the state’s most remarkable natural wonders.
Best Hikes in Red Rock Canyon
While all of these hikes are within the 13-mile scenic loop, skip down to the bottom for some hidden treasures that don’t get the same attention. I have hooked them all! Here’s a look at some of the top Red Rock Canyon hikes to try out. If you would like more information about any of the trails, click on the link for that trail for detailed information, directions, and more pictures.
The Calico Tank Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park, taking hikers through a wash at the start before ascending a canyon filled with intriguing oranges and yellows. In addition to 400ft of elevation gain and some tricky sections that require hand and foot climbing, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the mountains and discover the ‘tank’, a natural water catchment area.
Allow yourself around 3-4 hours for this 2.2-mile hike, which starts and ends at the Sandstone Quarry parking lot.
The Calico Hills are one of Red Rock Canyon’s scenic highlights. You can start this trail at any of three separate trailheads and plan your route to be anywhere between 2 and 6 miles long. As you traverse the edges of the hills and admire the bright, red and orange landscape, you’ll be able to truly appreciate the beauty of the area.
The 2-mile loop from Calico Hills I to the Visitor Center is perhaps the easiest option, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you could extend your trek to the Sandstone Quarry or the Calico Hills II viewpoint.
White Rock Loop
If you’re looking for a scenic hike involving no rock scrambling, then the White Rock Loop trail could be the perfect hike for you. This 4.8-mile round trip hike around White Rock Mountain passes many of Red Rock Canyon’s most popular trails and attractions.
Along the route, you’ll have opportunities to see petroglyphs and catch views of the Spring Mountains, Turtlehead Peak as well as Calico Basin before winding your way around the limestone ridges and sandy washes back to the starting point.
Children’s Discovery Trail and Lost Creek Canyon/Petroglyph Wall
Lost Creek/Children’s Discovery Trail is ideal for a family day out. It’s a relatively easy interpretive walk that offers breathtaking views and provides an informative insight into the area’s history, geology, flora, and fauna.
What makes this one of the best hikes in Red Rock Canyon is the opportunity it gives you to learn more about the petroglyphs and the Paiute culture. And if you’re lucky enough to visit in December or April, you’ll be able to witness a waterfall too!
Ice Box Canyon Trail
One of the most scenic and popular Red Rock Canyon hikes, Ice Box Canyon is definitely worth your time, though at times it can be tough. Set off from the Ice Box Canyon parking lot and journey past dramatic yellow and charcoaled black walls, filled with pine trees and other foliage.
The trail climbs up to the canyon entrance before following a 2.6-mile route past huge boulders – it’s worth continuing into the canyon for the sheer stone walls that seem to surround you! This hike is a favorite among locals during the summer as it is about 15 to 20 degrees cooler hiking in the canyon.
If you’re after a more extreme adventure, try tackling the challenging ascent up Turtlehead Peak. A round-trip of 6 miles will take you through rocky terrain, narrow passages and some sandy sections.
While the hike itself can be difficult and it may take around 5 hours to complete, the spectacular 360-degree views of Red Rock Canyon and Las Vegas should make it worthwhile.
Keystone Thrust Trail
Looking for a once in a lifetime experience? Hike this fairly easy 1 mile trail to the Keystone Thrust earthquake fault. Over millions of years two tectonic plates have pushed against each other to create this visible fault line.
This is a great hike for novice hikers and families that in addition to the Keystone thrust, includes sweeping views of the Spring Mountains and Red Rock Canyon.
La Madre Springs Trail
This 4.5-mile trail is another great choice for inexperienced hikers. This trail is actually an old road that passes in between the silver and gray Spring mountains and the red and orange cliffs of the Calico Basin.
The La Madre Springs hike is a fairly simple route that ends at an old dam for water retention. Near the dam you will find several small waterfalls and have a great chance of seeing some of the local wildlife.
Pine Creek Canyon
Another easier, family-friendly option is the Pine Creek Canyon trail, a 3.5-mile hike with 500ft of elevation gain. Start by crossing a flat area of small trees and shrubs for wonderful views of the canyon before trekking over the limestone ridges.
Along the way, you’ll pass the Pine Creek Wash until the loop brings you back to the White Rock parking lot.
From the challenging Calico Tanks Trail to the easy Oak Creek Canyon, a hike through Red Rock Canyon is sure to be a fun, educational and fulfilling adventure. With so much variety to choose from, each of the ten incredible hikes mentioned above will give you a unique experience of exploration, beauty and discovery. So grab your hiking gear, get outside and explore!