Calico Tanks is a fun, scenic trail located off the Red Rock Canyon 13-mile scene drive. The trail is moderate and offers wonderful views of Red Rock and Las Vegas.
Planning and Preparation
Before heading out to the trail, it’s important to plan and prepare for the hike. Check the weather forecast, bring plenty of water and snacks, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and pack sunscreen and a hat. The trail can be quite steep and rocky, so it’s important to wear sturdy hiking shoes.
Hiking in Red Rocks is not advisable during the summer, as temperatures can be well over 100 degrees and the area is exposed.
Getting to the Trailhead
The Calico Tanks Trailhead is located inside the Red Rock Canyon scenic drive, about 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip. Take Charleston Boulevard west until you reach the park entrance, then follow the signs to the Calico Tanks Trailhead.
Timed reservations are required to enter the scenic-drive from October to May. However, if you enter the drive before 8 am, a reservation is not required.
The trail is a moderate, 2.5-mile round-trip hike that takes you through beautiful sandstone. The trail starts off relatively flat, but quickly becomes steep and rocky as you make your way up various sandstone formations. Slight scrambling is required at spots and there is some exposure.
Along the way, there a many memorable views the Red Rock Canyon to the west, stark rock formations, and desert vegetation. The trail ends at a small natural pool known as Calico Tanks.
Second, be sure to stay on the designated trail to avoid damaging the delicate desert environment. Going off trail also makes it more likely you will meet a desert friends, such as a rattle snake. Third, bring plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy levels up. Finally, take plenty of pictures! This trail is worth the memories.
The Calico Tanks Trail can get quite busy and parking can be limited, especially on weekends and holidays, so it’s a good idea to arrive early to avoid crowds. Finally, be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash and litter to help preserve the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon for future generations to enjoy.
Overall, hiking the Calico Tanks Trail in Red Rock Canyon is a a great trail to add to any hiking list