Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada

 

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Calico Tanks, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada

If you're looking for a moderately challenging hike that takes you through multicolored layers of rock with some effort, this hike is for you. Rated a moderate hike despite its short distance (2.5 miles), Calico Tanks will require you to sometimes scramble, climb and boulder over a rock or five.

Red and white rock layers on the Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

 Red and white rock layers on the Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

 Down the Stairs, Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Down the Stairs, Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

 

This hike is definitely about the journey. The views of the many layers of white and red rocks kept us motivated to keep on going to see what was around the corner. The trail took us past many pools of water, a small cascading stream and the grand finale, the Calico Tank. When we arrived, the last tank was half full. I read that there is a view of Las Vegas at the end of the tanks. I would have loved to explore but we had a time constraint and had to return.

A Tank along the way, Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

A Tank along the way, Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Standing atop a red rock, Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Standing atop a red rock, Calico Tanks Trail, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

 

The trail starts at the Sandstone Quarry Trailhead, one of the stops along the Scenic Drive. There is some parking and we managed to snag a couple of spots when we arrived,. The trailhead area was somewhat busy, but the crowds dissipated as we went up the trail. The trail itself was not too busy; we passed a handful of groups on our path. Keep kids closeby as there are big drops. Avoid hiking here in very hot weather as there is no shade and temperatures can get dangerously hot here.

Beyond Calico Tanks, there are plenty of other hiking spots along the Scenic Drive. Calico Hills is one of them a few stops before. There is a Visitor Center at the beginning of the Scenic Drive. The Scenic Drive is a one-way road, so don't miss your stop or you'll have to go around the entire drive to make it around again.

 

Practical Information (as of December 2016):

Features: Walk amongst gigantic red and white layers of rocks to view seasonal water tanks

Hike: 2.5 miles return, out-and-back trail, about 500 ft elevation change with some rock scrambling, bouldering and climbing.

Directions:  Trailhead starts Sandstone Quarry stop on Red Rock Canyon's Scenic Drive. Follow signs to Calico Tanks.

Fees: $7 per vehicle, or Free with Intra-Agency Annual Parks Pass (which provides free entry into Federal lands across the country for $80 per year

Amenities: vault toilet, parking

Website: Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

 
Warning: The safety of these adventures are dependent on a variety of factors including but not limited to: terrain, weather, wildlife, hiker skill level, human error, and other foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided at the time of publication, we do not assume any liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided.  As such, we will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, and/or loss that may result. Your personal judgement on the safety of each adventure is required at all times. Please use your own discretion and be safe.

 

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