When it’s time to escape the neon and hustle of the jam-packed Las Vegas strip, the Calico Hills are the perfect location for swapping the smoke-filled gaming room parlors for a breath of fresh mountain air. Set 30 minutes west of downtown Las Vegas, the Calico Hills offer hiking and rock climbing through a dreamy sandstone landscape, where red-hued rock piles form a network of spires and summits for visitors to explore. Located inside of Red Rock Canyon, the Calico Hills are best known for the popular Calico Hills Trail, which begins just after the Visitor Center and runs 3.2 miles to Sandstone Quarry along the base of the hills. For many visitors the thrill of the hike is scrambling up on the rocks, choosing well worn side trails to navigate the boulders and get views of the Las Vegas desert. At an elevation near 4,000 feet the air is refreshingly cool, though summer temperatures can still be perilous if hiking or climbing midday. The trail is broken into multiple sections and has numerous different parking areas, making it easily accessible for hikers in search of a shorter stroll. For outdoor enthusiasts in search of a challenge, the side trails and scrambles leading up to the summits can consume an entire day, and create a gorgeous natural playground for escaping the Sin City lights.
While the Calico Hills Trail is easily accessible, sections of rock scrambling can be steep in places and require a good degree of fitness. Always bring water when hiking in summer and avoid the peak of the day, and watch out for patches of ice on the rocks if scrambling the summits in winter.