Calico Hills

Visually-stunning hike along the base of Calico Hills.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
6.3 km
Ascent
221 m
Descent
221 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
1.3 km
Gradient
Calico Hills Map

The Calico Hills are a unique formation of deep red sandstone slabs that soar into the sky, dominating the viewscape as you enter the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. The popular Calico Tanks hike winds around the backside of the first ridge and leads straight into the heart of the hills, but the hike shown here traverses along the front side of the rock formation. All through this hike, you'll be afforded stunning views of the hills—you might just be snapping photos the entire time!

Description

This out-and-back route can be accessed from three different points: The Calico I parking lot, Calico II parking lot, or the Sandstone Quarry parking lot that also serves Calico Tanks and Turtlehead Peak. I recommend parking at Calico I or II, as the Sandstone Quarry parking lot is easily the most popular trailhead in the conservation area, and often fills with cars. Due to the long one-way road through the park, if Sandstone is full, you'll have to drive another half an hour or so to complete the loop and circle back to the previous parking lots.

Further complicating matters, the conservation area recently instituted an hour-by-hour reservation system for getting into the park. To get your reservation, go to the Recreation.gov app and search for "Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Scenic Drive Timed Entry." Without a national parks pass, the entry fee is $15 at the time of this writing. With an America the Beautiful pass, it's only $2.

Once you do manage to park your car, the hard part is over—now you can just focus on hiking! The route mapped here details a 4-mile out-and-back route from Calico I to the Sandstone Quarry parking lot and back. You could turn it into a 6-mile hike by heading downhill from Calico I as well. However, many people simply hike a roughly 2-mile out-and-back between the Calico I and Calico II parking areas. The choice is yours.

However long you choose to hike, the trails are relatively mellow, rolling up and over small hills, but without being too steep. The mellow trails will allow you to focus on soaking in the incredible views and marveling at the incredible geologic beauty of the area.

Sources: https://www.planetware.com/nevada/top-rated-hikes-in-red-rock-canyon-national-conservation-area-us-nv-35.htm

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area