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

January 2024 Events

Friday, January 5 – National Bird Day Activity 

It’s National Bird Day! Join us in the outdoor exhibits of the Visitor Center of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for a fun interactive activity where you can learn about birds, and the challenges they face in our world today. 

This activity will be outside in January so dress accordingly for the weather. While visiting Red Rock Canyon NCA, if you plant to hike it is important to wear good shoes, bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water. No live animals will be present. No registration necessary, all are welcome. Age Limit: none.

Wednesday, January 10, 10am – 11am – Willow Springs Scavenger Hunt 
(This is a weekly event)
Come to Willow Springs Picnic Area between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM to try your luck at finding some of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s secret surprises! To play, just pick up a scavenger hunt sheet from the BLM Ranger at Willow Springs Picnic Area and make sure you bring along your phone or camera for pictures.

Registration is not required, all are welcome. No live animals will be present. When visiting Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, it is important to dress accordingly for the weather. It is recommended to wear sunscreen, bring a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of water.

Saturday, January 20, 10am – 1130am – Nature Explorers

This new program at Red Rock Canyon is for children ages 7 – 10 years.

January will focus on Leave No Trace principles and meet at the Red Springs Picnic Area. 

Registration is required. REGISTER HERE. Meetup location will be given during registration. For questions call (702) 515-5367. Please dress appropriately for the weather and wear sunscreen. Wear appropriate footwear for hiking and bring plenty of water. Ages: 7 – 10. 

Sunday, January 21, 10am – 12pm – Paint by Number Prickly Pear

Stop the Picnic Tables outside the Visitor Center of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM to fill in a paint by number Prickly Pear cactus, and enjoy the beauty of Red Rock. Experience the serenity of spending time outside and learn about the Prickly Pear cacti that are here at Red Rock Canyon NCA.

Registration is not required, all are welcome. This event will be outside so dress accordingly for the weather. When visiting Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, it is recommended to wear sunscreen, bring a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of water.

Saturday, January 27, 10am – 1130am – Frogs and Froglets

Frogs and Froglets is for children 4 – 6 years old. 

January’s topic will be “Native Rock Art”. There will be an activity and a short hike to see actual petroglyphs and pictographs on the Petroglyph Wall Trail.

Registration is required. REGISTER HERE. For questions call (702) 515-5367. Please dress appropriately for the weather and wear sunscreen. Wear appropriate footwear for hiking and bring plenty of water. Feel free to bring snacks and lunch for after the program. Age Limit: 4 – 6 year olds.

Monday, January 29, All Day –  National Puzzle Day Activity

It is National Puzzle Day! Come celebrate by making your very own Red Rock Canyon puzzle while you learn about Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from an Interpretive Naturalist. This program will last about 2 hours.

Registration is required, to register please call (702) 515 – 5367. Time of program will be given during registration. This program will be outside so it is important to dress accordingly for the weather. It is recommended to wear sunscreen, bring a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of water. Age Limit: 8+.

 

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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