Best appreciated in the early morning, this gorgeous loop hike ventures out from the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Centre, gaining a ridge and yielding stunning panoramic views of almost the entire park. Bring you camera, folks!
From Las Vegas, follow Route 157 West as it exits the city. After less than 10 minutes of driving past city limits you will reach the turn off for Scenic Drive, and signs towards the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Visitor Centre. Make this turn and pay your dues at the park entrance. Park at the visitor centre to begin the hike.
|When to do|
Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat
At Visitors Centre
Find the trailhead to the left of the visitor centre, just past the small picnicking area. At most of the intersections along this trail there will be signs, however there are one or two that are unmarked but obvious. We recommend completing this route counter clockwise as then the elevation gain is more gradual.
Start along the trail and shortly merge onto a slightly wider trail. After less than a hundred yards of hiking you will reach a fork, at which you will turn right. From here the hike continues along the mostly flat plain, snaking around cacti and other resilient shrubs. You will be able to see the red Calico Hills directly in front of you.
Along this entire hike there are informational boards flanking the sides of the trail. These are great for the whole family to check out, and offer welcome breaks from the hike! As you continue down the trail it will start to veer left and gain elevation. You will see a small ridge in the middle distance – this is your final objective.
As the trail snakes around to the right of the ridge you will almost imperceptibly start to climb. The views of the La Madre Mountains will become broader and more panoramic. Wait till the top to take pictures, however, as it is from there that they are the most astounding. Like a castle wall, the sheer cliffs of these mountains guard the prize of their peaks, and form a picturesque amphitheatre around the valley floor. There is a bench at the apex of the ridge, allowing you to rest and soak in the view.
As you start to descend the other side of the ridge, the path will turn to slick rock. Continue until you reach a junction, turning left towards the visible visitor centre. Finally, as you near completion of the hike, you will reach the same merge as you did at the beginning. Turn left here to return to the picnic area and your car.
The visitor centre has fantastic information for further exploration of the park, as well as clean washroom and a gift shop.
Before heading out, check what time Scenic Drive opens and closes, and try to get there as close to opening as possible. The early morning light on the mountains is nothing short of spectacular.
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