Calico Basin Loop

[tab:Overview]

Activity: Hiking, scrambling

Location: Red Rock Canyon NCA

Time on Trail: 3 hrs

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3 miles

Elevation:

Trailhead

From Las Vegas, take Charleston Blvd/ Hwy 159 west towards Red Rock. Turn right on Calico Basin Rd and follow it back through the community to the parking are at the end of the road.

Highlights

The Calico Basin Loop is a great option if you have limited time or want to get as much of a workout as you can in a short distance. The Loop gives aggressive hikers a little bit of everything including flats, scrambles, a steep uphill section, great views, and a downhill finish (if you take the left saddle to start and finish on the right). With an aggressive pace you could finish this hike in under 3 hours and get a great workout.

Trail Description

A spring feeds the basin and there are unexpected grasses and trees in the lower section that I refer to as the “Serengeti”.

From the basin there are several routes, including a steep climb up a chute to Calico Tanks. But the main loop climbs one of the two saddles, around the back, and down the other saddle. There is a ton of red rock, lots of outcroppings, and a hawk of some kind that hunts in the cover of the basin. The Calico Loop is a great workout that takes about 3 hours.

There are other options from either saddle that make it easy to extend the trip. You can access Gateway and Brownstone Canyons. Those are two diversions worth exploring if you have the time.

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[tab:Notes]
I love the Calico Basin Loop. It’s just outside the Red Rock Loop which is a fee area (but I get the yearly pass for $20 – great value!). It’s just 30 minutes from Green Valley to the trailhead.
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I'm the founder of Vestor Logic, the digital strategy and web design firm that created Trail Sherpa, ParksFolio, and Modern Steader. I'm a day hiker, top chef in camp, doting husband, and father to two headlamp wearing boys. My work in digital media brings those experiences to life.

  • Vic

    Thank you for the great pics!  I took the shute up to the Tanks — recognized the tree in one of your pics.  I crawled through two boulder caves on the way up, but couldn’t find the second one on the way down and kept getting cliffed out.  I ended coming down a very steep slot canyon further to the west of the original route up.  I had my three Goldens with me so I had to use their leashes for belat lines coming down!

  • That’s a crazy descent Vic!  Glad my pics were able to help.  That’s such a cool area to tramp around in.  I need to get back to Calico soon.  I like doing the route over to Gateway Canyon and then over to Brownstone.  Really cool landscape over there.