Looking for a place to take the kids hiking near Vegas? Calico Basin is a brilliant place to take the family hiking. This area is easily accessed from Las Vegas. It can be found about a mile and a half before you enter the gate into Red Rock Canyon State Park. If you are driving from the strip, you can be there in 15 - 25 minutes. From North Las Vegas, it will take a little longer, 30 minutes or more.
To get there, follow Charleston Boulevard to the west. Once out of town take a right onto Calico Basin road and follow the road a short distance until you can take a left into Red Springs picnic area. Once you are there, you have left the landscape of Vegas behind and entered new quiet terrain full of rock formations made of white, pink, and red sandstone.
Unlike the rest of the Red Rocks, this particular area has no admission fee. There is no gate, but the entrance is clearly marked. There are two large parking lots with several hiking options. They also have BBQ pits, restrooms, and covered picnic tables.
The first hiking option is the boardwalk. The boardwalk is half a mile round trip and great for any skill level. It is an easy way to hike with children, since it is much easier for them to walk along wooden boards. As you walk along the boardwalk, your family can discover native plants, animals, and petroglyphs. There are many informational signs along the way about the birds and how the area was formed.
The other trails are more of a challenge. You can pick which way you would like to go from a handful of rocky paths. This is a well-used area, so you will be able to effortlessly identify which way the trails travel. The kids will need good shoes since these trails are mostly rocks. Old pants are also recommended so they can climb without getting scrapped knees or tearing brand new clothes. These trails go on and on; so hike a reasonable distance for your family, let the kids climb, and then turn around. Some of the trails connect to the visitor’s center inside Red Rock national park. So, if your family is feeling ambitious, you can hike into the park for free. Children ages 4 and up can hike these trails without much help.
Rocks are everywhere and range from tiny to gigantic. Some of these rocks are great fun for the kids to climb. Kids of all ages enjoy climbing rocks, parents too! If the rocks difficult for your children, just walk a little further until you find some easier ones to climb.
One last fun bonus for the kids is watching rock climbers. If you take one of the trails toward the deep red rock in the distance to the north, you will discover beginner rock climbers learning to scale the rock walls. Children are amazed to see the climbers work their way up to such heights.
Meagan is our Military Traveling Mom. You can also find her blogging at Mommy Travels. She has a passion for family travel, including maximizing military travel options. For more of Meagan’s adventures find her on facebook Mommy Travels, or follow her on twitter @MommyTravels.