When you live in Las Vegas the outdoor temperature plays a major role on what outdoor activities are up for exploring. That’s why this time of year, just as winter begins wrapping up its final storms and spring hasn’t quite started to warm things up too much, is the ideal time to start planning new adventures and outdoor escapes.
We’ve gotten pretty lucky this year with a longer warming up process, and in February we decide to revisit one of our go-to hikes in Red Rock Canyon to enjoy what bits of winter were still left behind.
Calico Tanks is a reasonably short 2.2-mile hike, a distance we had vastly rounded down in our mind. Somehow, we had both remembered the hike being much shorter and more of an intense walk than a rocky hike. So, we were a little surprised when one bit of rock scrambling was found after another and another, but regardless we had our hiking boots on and CamelBaks full and carried on.
The hike traverses through an elevation gain of 406 feet of jumbled sandstone rocks and dirt paths that lead to hidden pockets of water and one amazing view of the Las Vegas Strip. The hike is marked with a difficulty level of moderate to strenuous but offers the perfect combination of hiking and mild rock scrambling that caters to a variety of outdoor hikers. My best advice for this hike is to make sure you have hiking shoes or boots that have good traction, as there can be many areas of rock that are covered with sand and even water depending on the water level and other hikers.
Whenever we have taken this hike in the past it has always been a hit or miss with the water level in the tanks, mainly because we typically go in early spring or fall when the storms are already long gone. This time however, though they were not full to the extent we had hoped to see, they did have enough to at least cover the bottom of the tanks.
Making our way around the tanks, and across the rocks, made everything worth and provided the resting stop for a brief snack and a few moments to take in the view and put life in the city into perspective before heading back.
There’s always something about seeing the Las Vegas Strip and the surrounding city from a perspective that makes it look so tiny and insignificant that is both humbling and awe inspiring.
Each day we drive the streets and pass the big luminous buildings and don’t think twice about the number of people in and around them. We get caught up in the routine agenda and commotion that is life in the city. So, when we can have absolute silence, away from people and away from the city to look down on what we are emerged in day in and day out, it’s nice to slow the mind to take it all in and enjoy the experience of stepping away and seeing how small our city really is. Seeing the mountains stretching beyond the horizons and surrounding the urban areas definitely makes Las Vegas feel more like a large town than a city.
After taking a few minutes to sit and enjoy the view it was time for my favorite part of the hike, the time to capture the view to share with everyone else.