As we turn onto Red Rock Canyon Road, the imposing red mountains come into clear view. The closer we get, the faker they seem, as though someone just painted them. With the 13-mile Scenic Drive and a sunny afternoon ahead of us, we gotta pick our game. Between the almost 30 hikes and trails the park has to offer, that’s not an easy choice.
The park is located right outside of Las Vegas and therefore makes for an awesome daytrip. Here are some of the best afternoon hikes we did within the 2 to 3 miles range:
— CALICO TANKS
2.2 miles, took us about 2 hours, difficulty: moderate to strenuous
One of the most popular hikes in the area, and for a good reason: You’ll be rewarded with a view over Las Vegas and its Strip.
— ICE BOX CANYON
2.2/2.5 miles, took us a little over 2 hours, difficulty: strenuous
This adventurous hike (almost like an obstacle course) takes you through a narrow canyon full of boulders – that’s where the ‘strenuous’ comes from. It’s not steep and for anyone in good health perfectly doable. There’s not much sunlight and it’s thus a bit chilly, but you’ll find plenty of birds singing and you’ll have a full body workout. You can keep going until eventually you’ll run in to the final wall. I loved it!
— PINE CREEK CANYON – LOOP
3 miles, took us almost 2 hours, difficulty: easy-moderate
A diverse and mostly easy hike amidst the colorful vegetation of Red Rock Canyon. There’s a loop you can make, staying right (follow the sign ‘Pine Creek Canyon Loop’ and walking into Pine Creek Canyon, where you’d eventually turn left and circle around -taking a part of the Knoll Trail-, back to the parking lot.
NOTE: La Madre Spring is hard to reach by small car, since Rocky Gap Road (I guess the name should have rung a little bell) turns into a rocky road after the Petroglyph Wall Trail. We turned around at some point and never made it there.
For a complete overview of hikes & trails, have a look at the park’s page.