Hiking Fossil Ridge Trail Loop at Red Rock Canyon
Fossil Ridge Trail Loop at Red Rock Canyon leads you through a scenic canyon that was once an ancient sea bed millions of years ago. The results are multicolored bizarre rock formations and yes you might even see a few fossils here and there.
It is not a very difficult hike but does have a few areas where you might do some rock scrambling. The canyon itself is about 1.5 miles long so you can hike down and back or at the end of the canyon, you can connect to several other trails to extend your hike.
Since this hike is just outside of the Red Rock National Conservation area, there is no fee for entry or parking which makes this a popular area for hikers and mountain bikers. The parking area tends to fill up fast so get there early.
How to Get to Fossil Ridge Trail Loop
Fossil Ridge Trail Loop is located across from the entrance to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on State Highway 159 by the horse riding stables. To get to the trail just travel towards Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on State Highway 159, instead of pulling into the scenic loop just park across the street at the entrance to the horse riding stables.
Hiking Fossil Ridge Trail Loop
To get started just park your car at the lot outside of the gates for the horseback riding. Follow the road as it curves to the right and you will see a building and some picnic tables. The trail will drop down to the left of the tables into a wash. Follow that trail until it comes to a split. You will want to stay to the right as the other way will take you to Cave Canyon. About this time you will be about .6 miles into the hike.
Once you split off you will simply follow the trail into the canyon and enjoy the scenery. Take some time to explore some of the rock formations as they are very unique. You will encounter some scrambling but the larger obstructions will have trails that lead around them.
Be sure to look back from the way you came as there is a terrific view of the park as you get higher into the canyon. There can be some pretty thick brush in parts of the trail so you might want to wear pants.
Around 1.5 miles the canyon walls will start to shrink and you will encounter the Fossil Ridge Trail as it intersects the canyon trail. Follow the new trail to the right as it brings you out along the upper edge of the canyon. On the way out you will see some very interesting neon green moss growing on the rock formations and lots of cacti.
Continue along the canyon edge until you pass a large dark rock formation that looks incredibly out of place but very cool. There will be a split in the trail so take the path to the left and follow that down and back to the parking lot. Along the way enjoy the amazing views of the Calico Basin and Red Rock Canyon.
Altogether this hike is about 3.7 miles if you complete the loop and it should take you about 2.5 hrs. While you are in the canyon you will get areas of shade but once you hit the Fossil Ridge portion of the trail there is very little shade so bring plenty of water. There is some elevation gain however this is not a very challenging hike but the scenery makes it worth the effort.
About The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock National Conservation Area is a great place to hike because of its stunning red rock formations and canyons. The area is home to over 26 hiking trails which vary in terrain and difficulty. The trails are easy to follow and offer a variety of options for hikers of all levels.
The area is easy to explore by driving the 13 mile scenic loop. Be sure to stop by one of the several overlooks along the way that make for great photo opportunities.