Hiking the Calico Hills Trail at Red Rock Canyon
Calico Hills Trail is one of the most popular destinations when it comes to Red Rock Canyon hiking trails because it has something for everyone. From the multiple parking areas, you can find everything from easy to moderate hiking trails and difficult scrambles.
Calico Hills Trail is also popular with locals and tourists because of its beautiful red and white sandstone hills and canyons. As you explore the area you will most likely see rock climbers, Indian artwork and stumble upon hidden canyons.
How to Get to Calico Hills Trail
To get to the trail just drive to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on State Highway 159 and pull into the scenic drive. You can park at either the first (Calico I), second (Calico II), or third (Sandstone Quarry) turnoffs.
Hiking Calico Hills Trail
At the Calico I parking area, you will be greeted by red and white striped hills and trails that head both east and west. Once you choose to go East or West, you will find the trail at the bottom of a small ravine. Overlooking the trail is an incredible jumble of red-orange rocks towering over a lighter red-striped pink-colored rock.
Once in the ravine, the rock formations above become even wilder looking. Peek up a dark, tall, narrow gap between sandstone formations to see the view beyond.
This is probably the most popular area with tourists as you can walk a short distance for terrific photo opportunities.
At the Calico II parking area the hills are bright rusty orange and there are also trails that head both east and west. You do have to hike down a trail a couple of hundred feet before you get to the good parts but it’s worth it.
This area is one of our favorite spots as it has some of the best scrambling and is a great place to observe rock climbers. This area looks like it could be right out of an old Western movie. If you hike to the west about a half mile there is a huge boulder about 30 feet high that has broken into several flat slabs. With just a little exploring you can view some Indian hieroglyphs.
The Sandstone Quarry parking area has trails that head back to the east towards Calico II and is much less traveled. This is popular with trail runners and also has access to several hidden canyons. From this parking area, you can also access the Calico Tanks hiking trail which will take you to the top of Calico Hills and has great views of Red Rock National Conservation Area and amazing views of Las Vegas as well.
Whichever way you decide to explore Calico Hills you are going to be rewarded with amazing scenery. Don’t be afraid to leave the hiking trail and do a little bit of exploring. There is something new and breathtaking around every corner.
At any of the three parking areas you will find hikes for all skill levels but just know your limitations. Always be sure to bring plenty of water as there is very little shade and can get quite hot in the summer. Hiking boots or comfortable running shoes are also recommended since some areas may require some scrambling or hiking over loose rocks.
About The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Located in southern Nevada, about 20 miles from Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern Nevada. The area is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its stunning red rock formations and hiking trails.
In addition to hiking, visitors to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area can also enjoy the picturesque 13 mile scenic drive with pull offs and picnic areas. Right outside the park are opportunities for horseback riding and mountain biking.