We have waterfalls in Las Vegas?  Sort of…..in Red Rock Canyon and of course, they are seasonal!  The best time to find water here in the desert is Spring time.  These are easy hikes to either get your family started in hiking or just for a nice weekend adventure.  Did we miss any hot spots?  Let us know so we can add them!

Find activities to enhance your Red Rock Canyon hikes here. 

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Top 5 Red Rock Kids Hikes

#1 Calico Basin Hike NOT in the Red Rock Scenic Loop

From the 215 Beltway, take the  Charleston Blvd exit heading west for 3.8 miles. Turn right onto Calico Basin Road and follow to the fork in the road.  Head right to the park.  If you go left you will find more hiking but far less family friendly then Calico Basin!  This is a FEE FREE area.  If you get to the Red Rock Scenic Loop on Charleston then you’ve gone too far.  Parking is plentiful and there are covered picnic tables.  The restrooms are also usually clean and well kept.   The boardwalk itself is a short walk with several information stations to educate about the area.  This is a protected path.  DO NOT go off the boardwalk.  You will often see groups of people off the boardwalk in the grass, PLEASE do not do this.  Aside from being illegal, it’s hurting a precious birding area.  Let’s respect the outdoors.  You CAN hike around the fenced area!  This is a great way to work up your kids skills in climbing up different rock faces and learning the etiquette of hiking.

  • Stroller Friendly
  • Great for Toddlers
  • FREE Entry
  • Covered Picnic Tables
  • Bathrooms onsite
  • Plenty of Parking
  • 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip

Hiking Mom Tip: Get your little one a hydration pack
las vegas kids hikes

Is it hard to get your kiddo to drink enough?  Try adding tang or fresh fruit juice to their water.

It may be flavored, but they need to be hydrated without being nagged!

#2 Lost Creek Canyon Trail – Children’s Discovery Hike in the Red Rock Scenic Loop

From the 215 Beltway, take Charleston Blvd. heading west.  You will enter the Red Rock Scenic Loop, there is a fee per car or you can buy the early pass (well worth it!).  For the scenic route, you’ll want to follow the “Lost Creek Route” at guidepost #5.  There is a cute stopping area with a park bench shaded by trees accompanied by a small pond. The rock walk through takes you into a small canyon with a seasonal waterfall.  Hiking shoes aren’t really needed for this hike but you will want to bring water!  The seasonal waterfall is more often then not a trickle.  The best time of year to see water actually flowing is early Spring.  Pack a light lunch and have the kids scramble all over the rocks in the cool shade!  This is a heavily hiked trail as it is super easy.  There are bathrooms at the trail head.  If you continue driving past the parking area, you will find a picnic area you will love.  This is great for finishing off your hike with more hydration and photos.

  • 1 mile Hike
  • Great for young hikers and some toddlers
  • Seasonal Waterfall
  • Bathroom onsite at trail head
  • Picnic tables within 1 minute driving distance
  • 1 hour from the Las Vegas Strip

Hiking Mom Tip: Enjoy bird watching and use kid tough binoculars!  

kids hike las vegas

Red Rock Canyons deep sandstone canyons provide a perennial water supply, cool temperatures and a wide variety of vegetation which serves as ideal habitat for many birds species. In fact, over 100 bird species have been identified within the conservation area.

#3 First Creek Canyon Trail NOT in the Red Rock Scenic Loop

las vegas kids hike

This hike in Red Rock Canyon is NOT apart of the Red Rock Scenic Loop.  Heading west about 4 miles past the visitor’s center on highway 159, look for the First Creek Canyon trailhead sign.  This is a pleasant 3-mile walk across a desert valley to a little waterfall with cottonwood trees, willows, and other shade trees. The well-defined trail winds through the open desert, slowly making it’s way toward the canyon that is being cut by First Creek and then beyond to the rugged south side of Mt. Wilson. After hiking for a mile, head toward the first big pine tree growing along the canyon rim. Next to this tree you’ll find a little unmarked trail leading into the canyon, toward a couple of big diamond-shaped composite rocks, and then downward to the waterfall. Soon after a small descent, you will find a rocky grotto that is covered with green ferns and tall shady trees fed by a large pool at the base of a waterfall.

  • 3 mile Hike
  • No Bathrooms
  • Free Entry
  • Street Parking only
  • Seasonal Waterfall
  • DO NOT PET or FEED the wild donkeys
  • 1 hour from the Las Vegas Strip

Hiking Mom Tip: This is a new experience each hike, hand the camera duties over with a Kid Tough Camera!  You’ll be amazed at what they take pictures of and you can add it to their Adventure Journal 🙂

Kids Hiking Kid Tough Camera

#4 Calico Tank in Red Rock Canyon in the Red Rock Scenic Loop

This hike is a 2.5 mile roundtrip adventure that will take about 2 hours to complete.  Located within the Red Rock Scenic Loop, you will need to pay the entry fee (I believe $7 per car).   Although you wont need your fancy hiking boots, this isn’t for the first time hiker.  When taking kids on this trail, make sure they have experienced hiking and scrambling over rocks before.  This is not considered an easy hike, but moderate.  Definitely not a hike to do during the summer, go to Mt. Charleston for that!  This is a local favorite for the amazing views and of course, finding water.

  • 2.5 mile hike
  • Fee Area
  • No Bathrooms
  • Children should be experienced hikers
  • Gorgeous Views
  • Perfect for the budding climber

#5 La Madre Springs in the Red Rock Scenic Loop

This is last on our list as it is a moderate hike.  It’s a little over 3 miles and takes about 2 hours to complete.  This trail doesn’t not actually go to La Madre Spring, it does go to the dam built in the 1960’s.   This is perfect hike for the Spring.  The pinyon pine, juniper, and scrub oaks gives this hike a forest feel.  Perfect for the enthusiastic hiker, parts of this hike are strenuous, as the trails climbs some 700 ft in only 1.8 miles it’s enough to tire you out!   The water at the dam provides habitat for tree frogs in the spring; water for birds, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife; and it sustains vegetation not often seen in the desert.

  • 3 mile Hike
  • Moderate Hike
  • No Bathrooms
  • Fee Entry
  • 1 hour from the Las Vegas Strip

Tips before you go:

  • GAS UP before you go!  The Red Rock Scenic Loop itself is 13 miles.  Most of the hikes are not right off the loop, you do additional driving.
  • During peak seasons, the Red Rock Scenic Loop can get closed early due to heavy use. Plan ahead, go early.
  • Bring plenty of water, regardless of the season.
  • Use sunscreen and hats.
  • Do No Feed or Pet the donkeys.  They are known for kicking, biting, and spitting!
  • Bathrooms are not available at all trailheads.
  • The Scenic Loop requires an entry fee.  A yearly pass is also available and well worth it.
  • If you have a 4th grader, take advantage of the Every Kid in Park Program.
  • Don’t miss the fun Events at the Visitor Center!  Free to look around at the animal exhibits 🙂 Open daily from 8am-4:30pm.
  • Your cell phone will most likely loose service – let people know that your going.
  • Leave no Trace Behind.
  • Pets must be on a leash at all time.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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