Having the opportunity to travel recently has opened up for the possibility of doing some desert hiking in the Red Rock canyon just outside Las Vegas, NV. This conservation area is the closest national park to Vegas, only a short 15-20 min drive away from the strip. The park is set up so that you can drive through the whole park in a one-way loop and stop at various parking areas along the way to take pictures or hike into the canyon more.
One particular hike stood out for me, the hike to Turtlehead Peak. it was a 2000 ft vertical climb over 2 miles, with a rock scramble the last 800 feet. But at the top, there was a view of the strip and most of the canyon.
Unfortunately a wakeboarding crash the day before the hike put me out of commission from hiking up Turtlehead with a loaded pack. My neck couldn’t bear to hold much weight. Instead, I went to Red Rock and did the little mini hikes (0.5-1 mile round trip hikes). These were fun and offered some great views of the canyon crevasses. I think my favorite was the Calico II trail which leads to the trailhead to Turtlehead Peak. You can see lots of sandstone and red rock from this trail as well as climb up a lot of it to take in the surroundings.
The canyon provides some nice views of red rock, which I’ve never seen up until this point. If it wasn’t for the overhead (and overbearing) sun, I would have stayed out a little longer and done all the hikes, but I only had a couple water bottles on me and it was hot!
If you plan on going to Red Rock, I’d recommend in the wintertime or early early spring. You can take one of the trails to a waterfall during that time. any other time of the year, the waterfall is dried up.