Length 10.5 km (6.5 miles), terrain: rocky, rugged, gain 281 meters
Las Vegas Running Routes:
University of Nevada
Red Rock Canyon
For more running routes, see the Route List page.
The park website: https://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/
Las Vegas is non-stop action, blinking lights, swirling mobs... And after a while, it's great to experience the very opposite for a bit of reality. And luckily, the city is surrounded by natural wonders, right nearby!
|The climbing area along Calico Rocks|
How to Get There:
Red Rock is straight west from town. There is no public transport out there, so you almost have to have a car at your disposal. A few people head out there on bikes. Most people head west on Charleston Boulevard (Nevada Route 159) until you reach the park entrance. If you are on the south side of Las Vegas, near the airport, you can also take Blue Diamond Road (Route 160) west, which runs into Route 159 at a Chevron gas station.
|You're entering a desert paradise!|
We'll take the most colorful route in the conservation area: in the Calico Hills. You need to park at the Calico I parking area, but if you want to run a few extra kilometers, you can also park at the Visitor Center and run through fairly flat country to join this route at Calico I. There's more parking at the Visitor Center. You could also stop at either Calico II or Sandstone Quarry parking lot and first run east, out-and-back to Calico I before heading up the Calico Tanks trail further to the west.
|Naturalist at the trail start|
This route isn't your normal running route. I would describe it as a running/hiking/climbing route. Some parts are steep and slow-going, and many spots are so beautiful, that you'll want to stop in your tracks and just experience nature's wonders that spread out before you (and above, and below...). And remember: you're in the desert, so in the summer it will be hot: make sure you have a hat, sunglasses and a water bottle!
|The striped rocks: great for climbing around!|
Because the red/white-striped rocks are so unusual, I'd recommend to first turn right and run a bit into the first few striped rock formations and do some climbing, and get that out of your system. Great climing here!
|The trail splits here: your choice|
After about a kilometer, the two trails join back together again, just before the Calico II parking lot.
|Weathered tree stump along the way|
|Rock caves in the climbing area|
When you come to the Sandstone Quarry parking lot, after the 3-km marker, the trail goes right over the asphalt parking area. The red cliffs have now given way to white sandstone. All the sandstone that you see here was originally dunes, which were cemented together by ground-water.
|Calico Tanks trailhead, with Turtlehead in distance|
Just off the trail, there is a agave roasting pit from the Paiute Indians, who once roamed the area.
|The agave roasting pit, with Turtlehead|
|Into the ravine: rough going|
|Conservation Corps trail crew: the unsung heroes|
|The Calico Tanks|
|View from the top, Las Vegas in the distance|