Red Rock Canyon Hikes for Kids

red rock canyon hikes for kids

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!

Timed entry reservations are required for the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive between October 1 – May 31 for entry between 8am – 5pm. There is a $2 reservation fee in addition to park admission.

Timed entry reservations can be made at Recreation.gov HERE or by calling (877) 444-6777.

Red Rock Canyon was designated as Nevada's first National Conservation Area. Red Rock Canyon is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard/State Route 159. The area is visited by more than two million people each year. In marked contrast to a town geared to entertainment and gaming, Red Rock offers enticements of a different nature including a 13-mile scenic drive, miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor center with indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as a book store.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Daily Pass 

Private Vehicle                 $20
Motorcycle                         $10
Bicycle                                   $8
Pedestrian                          $5

America the Beautiful and other parks passes are also accepted. 

4th Grade Students get a FREE National Parks Pass! FIND OUT HOW HERE!

Use the Quick Link Guide below to jump ahead to any section!

Red Rock Canyon Guide Quick Links

Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas – 2024 Featured Events

Click HERE for all the events at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

 

April Featured Events at Red Rock Canyon 

Night Hikes: Bats
Wednesday, April 17, 630pm – 830pm

Suggested Age: 10 years +

See Red Rock Canyon in a whole new light. Join Interpretive Naturalists from 630pm to 830pm  for a night hike at First Creek Canyon to celebrate National Bat Day! Try to spot a variety of bats as sunset turns to dusk, and dusk turns to dark. Appreciate the desert quiet as the stars emerge.

This hike will take place at First Creek Canyon, covering 3 miles and 300 feet of elevation gain.

Hiking experience is recommended. Bring at least 1 liter of water per person, a light source, good hiking shoes, use sun protection, and make sure to dress for the weather. There is no cell service on the trail or in most areas of Red Rock Canyon.


 

Nature Explorers: The Desert Tortoise
Saturday, April 20, 10am – 1130am

Bring your 7-10 year old and join interpretive naturalists for the monthly nature explorers program. Children will learn about our natural world by taking nature walks throughout the conservation area, playing games, and doing crafts.

A parent/guardian is required to attend. Families are welcome.

Advance registration at https://nature-explorers1.timetap.com is required to attend this program.

A Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive Timed Entry reservation (available at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777) is required.


 

World Innovation and Creativity Day
Sunday, April 21, 1pm – 3pm 

What creature would you create to live in Red Rock Canyon?

Join us in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s Visitor Center anytime from 1p – 3pm to use your creative brain to imagine creatures, design adaptations, combine animals, plants, and things that don’t exist. This is all about thinking outside of the box. Describe your creature or create it out of paper, pencils, crayons, glue, and googly eyes!

No registration is required for this program.

A Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive Timed Entry reservation (available at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777) is required.


 

Willow Springs Scavenger Hunt 
Sunday, April 21, 10am – 12pm

Come to Willow Springs Picnic Area between 10am and 12pm to try your luck at finding some of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s secret surprises! To play, pick up a scavenger hunt sheet from the interpreter at Willow Springs Picnic Area. Bring your phone or camera for pictures.

No registration is required for this program.

A Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive Timed Entry reservation (available at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777) is required.


 

Red Rock for Kids: Pollinators
Saturday, April 27, 10am – 1130am

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a wonderful place for kids to explore and experience nature. Red Rock for Kids is a program to help children of all ages connect with their public lands through art, games, stories, walks, and music. Join one of our Interpretive Naturalists at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s Visitor Center Amphitheater to learn more about pollinators.

Advance registration at https://redrockforkids.timetap.com is required to attend this program.

If you plan to visit the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive or Visitor Center, please make a timed entry reservation at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.


 

Desert Super Powers
Sunday, April 28, 10am – 1pm

Are you curious about abilities that seem straight out of a superhero comic? Limb regeneration, shapeshifting, and impenetrable skin—these remarkable adaptations are not just the stuff of legends; they’re the survival strategies of the desert’s resilient inhabitants. Discover how cacti, lizards, and other desert dwellers have harnessed their unique features to thrive in this harsh environment.

Unleash your creativity as you design your very own desert superhero. Imagine their powers, envision their costume, and bring them to life with vibrant colors.

Join us at the Visitor Center to celebrate National Superhero Day—it’s where nature meets imagination, and where every plant and animal has a story to tell.

No registration is required for this program.

A Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive Timed Entry reservation (available at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777) is required.

May Featured Events at Red Rock Canyon

Frogs and Froglets: Frogs and Toads of Red Rock
Saturday, May 11, 10am – 1130am

Welcome to Frogs and Froglets  children’s program at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is for ages 4–6-years old.

Join us once a month for nature walks, games, story times, and crafts that connect you and your child to the natural world. 

Advance registration at https://frogs-and-froglets1.timetap.com is required to attend this program.

A Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive Timed Entry reservation (available at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777) is required.


 

Nature Explorers: Frogs and Toads of Red Rock Canyon
Saturday, May 18, 10am – 1130am

Bring your 7–10- year-old to join one of our interpretive naturalists for our monthly nature explorers’ program. We will learn about our natural world by taking nature walks throughout the conservation area, playing games, and doing crafts.

A parent/guardian is required to attend. Families are welcome.

Advance registration at https://nature-explorers1.timetap.com is required to attend this program.

A Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive Timed Entry reservation (available at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777) is required.


 

Red Rock for Kids: Snakes
Friday, May 24, 10am-1130am

Red Rock for Kids is a program to help children of all ages connect with their public lands through art, games, stories, walks, and music. Join one of our interpretive naturalists to learn about snakes.

Advance registration at https://redrockforkids.timetap.com is required to attend this program.

A Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive Timed Entry reservation (available at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777) is required.

Red Rock Canyon: Know Before You Go

Red Rock Canyon Hikes for Kids: Fee Free

The following trails are outside of the Red Rock Canyon Scenic loop, do not require a fee, and do not require a reservation. 

  • Red Spring Boardwalk
  • Calico Basin Trail 
  • Ash Spring Trail 
  • First Creek Canyon Trail

Red Spring Boardwalk

This hike is not in the Scenic Loop, so does not require timed entry or fees.

How to Get There: 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. No reservation is required.  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 on site
  • Plenty of Parking
  • 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip

 

Calico Basin Trail is a different hike. 

Calico Basin Trail 

1.5 miles roundtrip – 1 hour

From Red Rock Canyon: This in-and-out trail leads visitors along the base of the colorful Calico Hills. Look for sport climbers on the rock walls and plenty of birds hovering in the sky. Ash trees line where the seasonal Calico Spring runs, adding greenery to the landscape.

Ash Spring Trail

1 mile round trip – 30 minutes

The Ash Spring Parking Lot is just past the Red Spring/Calico Basin entrance. It is noted on the Red Rock Canyon Map. 

This is a fee-free area. No reservations are required.

From the Ash Spring Parking Lot, head west towards the Calico Hills and explore a dense grove of grass & ash trees! A seasonal spring runs through the area making it a true oasis in the desert and a great place to look for wildlife.

First Creek Canyon Trail 

4 miles – 2 hours
This trail would be more moderate than easy due to the distance.

This trail is closest to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

The Hiking Guy has some great tips on this trail.

How to Get There: Heading west about 4 miles past the visitor’s center on Highway 159, look for the First Creek Canyon trailhead sign.  

This is a fee-free trail. No reservation is required.

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 or any wild animal
  • 1 hour from the Las Vegas Strip

Red Rock Canyon Hikes for Kids: Scenic Loop

The trails listed below are inside the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop and require an entrance fee. From October 1 – May 31. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area operates on a reservation system, so reservations must be made to access these trails.

Lost Creek Canyon Trail – Children’s Discovery Hike

Less than 1 mile – 1 hour  

January 2024 note: This trail is rockier than it has been in the past. It’s still a lot of fun to do with kids, but most of the trail is larger rocks at this time. 

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

Moenkopi Loop 

2 miles – 1.5 hours

From Red Rock Canyon: Triassic fossils and various desert flora can be seen on this open country trail which starts at the visitor center and traverses a prominent limestone ridge. In addition to panoramic views of the Wilson Cliffs, there are connecting trails to the Calico Hills area (2 mile loop, easy).

Petroglyph Wall 

1/4 of a mile – 30 minutes

From Red Rock Canyon: This short trail takes you across a wash and towards a cliff-side that features historical rock art, estimated to be at least 800 years old. Look for the start of this trail in the Willow Springs Picnic Area parking lot (on the opposite side of the road from the picnic benches).

Oak Creek Canyon 

2 miles – 1.5 hours

From Red Rock Canyon: Oak Creek Canyon is one of several beautiful canyons cutting into the Red Rock Escarpment. It receives fewer visitors than other canyons in the area and is a good wildflower trail in the spring.

Fire Ecology 

The loop is just under 1/2 mile and the round trip hike is 1 mile – 1 hour

From Red Rock Canyon: This easy 0.4-mile loop trail runs out into Pine Creek Wash through an area where the Bureau of Land Management performed a prescribed burn in 1992 to clear brush and reduce the chances of a catastrophic wildfire that might kill the tall ponderosa pines in the wash. Little evidence of the fire remains, but the efforts have been successful.

Girl Scout Trail 

1.25 miles – 1 hour

From Red Rock Canyon: This in-and-out trail takes visitors along the base of the colorful Calico Hills and nearby a Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada picnicking area. Watch for all kinds of wildlife roaming the rocks & hills. Access this trail from either the Ash Spring/Kraft Mountain Parking Lot or hiking to the north end of the Calico Basin trail.

2024 Fee Free Days – BLM Lands

  • January 15 (Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • June 19 (Juneteenth National Independence Day)
  • July 16 (BLM’s birthday)
  • September 28 (National Public Lands Day)
  • November 11 (Veterans Day)

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