A year ago we visited Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for the first time. It was during a holiday weekend in February so it started to get crowded by 9am. Out of 26 available hiking options in the park, we explored 2 trails – Moenkopi Loop & White Rock. January of this year, we headed back on a whim.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is 17 miles west of Las Vegas.
Using our national park annual pass, we drove right in and onto the 13-mile Scenic Loop Drive. This wild place looked more mysterious under the moody sky.
Calico I & II
After the visitor center, Calico I and Calico II are the next two interest points on the Red Rock Canyon hiking map. Instead of hiking the Calico Hills which connects these two points, we decided to roam and explore these areas. Since we were in and out of the Calico Hills trail, I am not going to provide you with a trail write-up for this easy-moderate hike.
When you go off-trail, sometimes you can find some cool places like this. Everyone was climbing over the boulders to get the view from the top. We decided to check out the below instead to get away from the people. We ended up in a cool narrow and we had the whole place to ourselves. Awesome find.
We also find petroglyphs on a huge slab of rock.
Xena found a good hideaway.
When we made back to the car, we could see the massive rain clouds rolling in from the west, the direction we are headed. It looks like it was going to get more adventurous at our next hiking stop. Alright, in that case, let’s make some coffee first and warm up.
As we drove toward our next stop, the clouds got more dramatic. By the time we reached White Rock, it started snowing.
Pine Creek Canyon
- Distance: 3 miles RT, out and back
- Elevation Gain: 300 ft
- Difficulty Rating: Easy
At the trailhead, the view was even more spectacular. I couldn’t wait to see what the trail looks like inside of these mountains. Off we go.
Those dramatic clouds brought cold conditions with snow and sleet. I was glad I brought Xena’s Extreme Warmer on this trip. She didn’t mind her ears were covered. The coat kept her dry and warm including her adorable floppy ears.
Sun’s out ears out. This is why I recommend wearing in layers (or pack layers of clothes) when you explore in the wilderness. The weather can change on you at any moment even in the lower elevation.
Initially, it was faint but as we hiked deeper into the Pine Creek Canyon, we heard a sound of a waterfall echoing off the rocky mountains. We followed the sound and found a multi-tier waterfall trickling down the rocky maintain then we heard a sound of a stream. The trail description didn’t mention anything about a stream. Off we go to find the stream. We were back on the Pine Creek trail and soon we found the stream.
The water was freezing but my not-water-dog braved it and crossed the stream to check out the other side with me. She got extra love for her bravery.
There we found many Xena-size waterfalls like this one.
Once we had our fill, we turned around and headed back to the trailhead. Red Rock never disappoints me. It makes you think twice about Las Vegas and Nevada, doesn’t it? There is so much more than Las Vegas in NV. This is my kind of wild party! We’ll be back, Red Rock!
Good to Know:
- Daily pass: $7/vehicle
- If you are not a hiker, there are many overlooks in the park for you to still enjoy the views
- There are 4 large picnic areas so pack your lunch if you plan to spend several hours which is easy to do!
- Dogs are not allowed in the visitor center