FATMAP by Strava

Cowboy Trails: Fossil Canyon Lariat

A beautiful hike near Red Rocks that doesn't require a reservation.

Hiking Difficult

7.3 km
229 m
229 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.1 km
High Point
1.4 km
Cowboy Trails: Fossil Canyon Lariat Map

The reservation system in the ultra-popular Red Rock Canyons Conservation Area has annoyed more than a few local Las Vegas residents. For those who don't want to deal with the reservation system, a great alternative hike that provides a fantastic workout and beautiful views can be found just across the road in the Cowboy Trails. The route mapped here is one of the most popular hikes, forming a lollipop loop that runs through Fossil Canyon.


The trail begins directly from the parking lot off the road, climbing straight into the hills. Several trails begin from this point, but for the hike shown here, you'll take the center trail (trail second from the right) that visibly sees the most traffic.

This trail traverses a flat expanse for a short way and then quickly begins climbing into the hills, gaining elevation consistently. While there are several rocky sections along the way, the trail provides reliable footing and easy navigation, allowing you to enjoy the changing landscape as you traverse more deeply into the canyon.

As you hike, be sure to take some time to closely examine the rocks that you're passing by. "The walls of the canyon are full of interesting fossils such as sponges, gastropods, and corals," according to BirdandHike.com.

Once you've reached the top of the canyon, you have a number of options available. You could backtrack the way you came, create a much longer loop over to the radio tower and Bomb Voyage trail, or complete a fun lollipop loop along the top of the ridge, as mapped here. The choice is yours!



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Picturesque

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area