Best Hikes in Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston And Lone Mountain

Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world but who knew it is also one of the best places for outdoors enthusiasts in the country. As a local, you won’t see me at a casino but you will find me outdoors and hiking. There are so many amazing outdoor adventure opportunities, including some of the best trails for hiking! Here are some of the best Las Vegas hikes.

RED ROCK CANYON NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA

Red Rock Canyon is located 13 miles west of Las Vegas Strip. Admission is $15 per car. Be amaze by the incredible beauty of the 13 mile scenic drive. You will find abundant hiking trails, things to do are rock climbing, horse back riding, mountain biking and many more. If you are visiting Vegas, you should come here, a natural beauty! You can also join a ranger guided hike and stop by the Visitor Center. The gift shop is located here and sells hiking sticks (complete with bells), Southwest-inspired artwork, snacks, a variety of stuffed animals and much more. Make sure to stop by the front desk before you leave to grab free pamphlets and more information about the different hikes.

Terrace Canyon

You will enter the Park, entering the fee area and driving approximately 9 miles along the loop to Pine Creek Canyon trailhead. You can hike as far as you want and turn back. There is a lot of scrambling and bouldering. It took us about 10 miles/6 hrs, 20,000 steps. I burned around 13K calories.

Difficulty: moderate-difficult.
Children: No.
Dogs: No.
Scrambling: 3 of 5
Difficulty: 3 of 5
Danger level: 3

You will be treated to some beautiful waterfalls, colorful rocks and sparkling pools. We saw a cool natural bridge along the way. Remember this hike is NOT for beginners. Average hikers will feel challenged.

Part of Terrace Canyon

Ice Box Canyon

You will park at the Icebox Canyon trailhead, just past Willow Spring on the loop road. Approaches start on a good trail leading south from the parking lot. This trail is about only three miles round trip and has very little elevation gain. An easy moderate hike. It starts out as a regular trail on the valley floor, then descends in to a wash that heads deep into the canyon. There are quite a lot of hikers here as it’s a popular hike esp. in the hot months. In the wash there are many small boulders that you must be climbed over or around. They do make a great introduction to scrambling.

Kraft Mountain Loop

This hike is outside of the Scenic Loop so you don’t need to pay a fee to get in. From the trailhead in Calico Basin, the hiking trail is well-marked that takes you around Kraft Mountain in the La Madre Wilderness.

I went with a group and hiked counter-clockwise i e. going opposite direction. Located on Sandstone Dr & Heyer way, go past the picnic area to end of the road and you will see parking lot. By doing this hike counter-clockwise, you get to scramble over some of the obstacles you would otherwise slide down. Kraft Mountain Loop is a fun hike and scramble which traverses a variety of scenic terrain. Some portions consist of trekking through a wash, regular trail and some parts require Class III scrambling (using hands and feet) to climb over large piled-up boulders. The total hike is about 2 hours, maybe a little more for breaks and photos. It’s about 3 miles and about 800 feet in elevation gain.

First Creek Trail is a 3.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail. This is a nice, well marked good trail for kids and dogs. There is only a slight incline on the way in, which made the way out very easy with a nice downgrade as we hiked out. The trail gets pretty bumped as well with large rocks on portions of the trail, but easily to navigate. The trail is very wide for most of it, so the other people hiking along side can move around. There is lots of wildlife. When you approach the creek, it can be either dry was dry or filled with ice cold, clear water. The hike is about a mile across the flat desert snd before the mouth of the canyon when you get to the very first tree turn 90 degrees to your right and walk about 100ft to reach the hidden waterfall. There is a wide path to the top of the fall. Reaching the base of the waterfall requires some scrambling.

Calico Tanks Trail

It starts at Sandstone Quarry Trailhead. This is a moderate hike of 2.5-mile round-trip that runs up a canyon and over sandstone slickrock to a large natural depression (a “tank” or “tinaja”) near the top of the Calico Hills ridge. The tanks will be full of water in the fall and winter, and there are great views of Calico Basin and the Las Vegas Valley just beyond the tank. Calico Tanks Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, so I suggest going early. At the end of the trail, be sure to soak in the views of the Las Vegas ‘Strip.’

Spring time in Calico Tanks
Calico Tanks

Las Vegas Overlook (aka Muffin Ridge)

Located near Blue Diamond. Eight miles west of Red Rock Casino on Charleston Boulevard, look for the entrance to Cowboy Trail Rides. The trailhead is here. This hike is in Red Rock, but it’s outside the scenic loop. The trail leads up and around Blue Diamond Hill. This trail is a moderate hike around six-miles. I love the ever changing terrain and Triassic-era fossils along the way. Not to mention the spectacular scenery/views over the Las Vegas valley and skyline. 

MT CHARLESTON

Just 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas, you can find all the cool mountain breezes, pure clean air and all-around scenic beauty of Mount Charleston. Great place for outdoor activities such as horseback riding, camping and hiking. This is a part of the Spring Mountain Range and Toiyabe National Forest. Each season offers a unique experience. From a cool escape in the summer to a snowy wonderland in the winter. It’s 20 to 30 degrees cooler here and the hiking trails are not as crowded like other areas here in Vegas. There are more than 200 campsites, 160 picnic areas and RV spaces. There is also a hotel and restaurants.

Mt Charleston in Spring

Robbers Roost is a 0.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail. The trail is a short loop trail that climbs up a canyon to a couple of caves. It then winds through a forest of pinion pines and mountain mahogany before returning back to the main trail.  It has an interesting history. Legend has it that Robber’s Roost was a hideout for bandits during the days of the old Mormon Trail. The caves not only offered shelter, but also an excellent vantage point for spotting would-be attackers. The hike ends at a cliffhanger and caves but if you’re experienced you can go on and up over the caves.

Mary Jane Falls is a 3.0 mile (total = out and back). After a gradual climb up a forested canyon, switchback up a steep slope and you will see excellent views and Mary Jane Falls. The flow is heaviest in spring and dwindle to a trickle by summer’s end. The hike is good for dogs and children 6 years old and older.

Mary Jane Falls

Cathedral Rock is about is 3 mile moderately strenuous out and back trail. The starting elevation will be 7,600 feet and gain about 1,000 feet over the course of the hike. It’s an easy-to-follow trail the entire route with no scrambling. The trail starts off steep, flattens out some before you reach the top.
It gets your heart pumping as you ascend. Once at the top, it offers some amazing views of Kyle Canyon and the small community of vacation homes there.

Route to Cathedral Rock
You will see several of these guys up Cathedral Rock

Raintree Via North Loop

Hike here to see the oldest living thing in Nevada, Bristlecone pine named Raintree. It’s said to be some 3000 yrs old. The hike is around 6 mile round trip and has about 1700 ft. elevation gain and altitudes over 10,000.

The trail is located up in the Spring Mountains National Recreation aka Mt. Charleston. Drive out to the Spring Mountains Visitor Center, then continue on Kyle Canyon Road to Deer Creek Road. Then turn right onto Deer Creek Road and continue north to the North Loop Trailhead. The trail is moderately strenuous due to elevation. It took us 4hrs up and back including breaks & photography. It’s extremely well marked and easy to follow.
You will see several chipmunks. There are a lot of steep switchbacks. Your heart will be pumping going uphill and this hike is a quad kicker!

As you hike up the trail, the bristlecone pines are everywhere and is quite magical. There were gnarly, twisted, but very colorful.

Once you’re at Raintree, check out every angle of the tree. When you’re ready, go to the right, it’s only 1/3 mile to Mummy Springs.

‘Raintree’ some 3000 years old tree

Fletcher Canyon

This trail is quite popular. The hike begins at the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead on Kyle Canyon Road about a mile past the Spring Mountains NRA Visitor Center. 

This trail starts off wide on a gradual incline toward the slot canyon. We came across a garden of beautiful flower called Queen Anne’s lace. There is a light scrambling and eventually you will reach the first chokestone. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Route to Flecher Canyon
Fletcher Canyon

LONE MOUNTAIN

Here will see a great 360° view from the top of Lone Mountain!

Located on the northwest side of the Las Vegas Valley, Lone Mountain is a short hike and a good workout.

To get there take the 215 Beltway to West Lone Mountain Road, park at the Lone Mountain Regional Park, there is parking and restrooms at the park. Another alternative route is to park at the end of Vegas Vista Trail off of West Alexander Road and head up on the western side for a more direct route. The trail does have some loose terrain and quite an incline, so it may not be suitable for older dogs.

View from halfway up Lone Mountain

Trail Data:

Distance: 2.63 Miles

Hike Time: 1 1/2 to 2 Hours

Difficulty: Moderate due to steep elevation gain last 1/2 mile to the top

Elevation Gain: 800 feet

Trail Type: Out and back trail

So how many of the hikes above have you done? Are any of these still on your hiking bucket list?! Let me know in the comments below! 

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