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Calico Basin, NV

no permit
62 8 0
Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NV > Vegas
3 of 5 by 3
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 3,600 feet
Elevation Gain 340 feet
Accumulated Gain 340 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.13
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
15  2012-03-24
Red Rock Escarpment
25  2011-01-15
Red Rock Escarpment
12  2011-01-15
Red Rock Escarpment
21  2010-10-23 Hikergirl81
27  2010-10-23
Red Rock Escarpment
14  2010-02-20 Hikergirl81
15  2009-10-17 Hikergirl81
12  2009-03-06 AZLOT69
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:23am - 5:51pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
Red Rock Recluse
by AZLOT69

Overview: On the outskirts of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area lies Calico Basin. It lies outside the fee area and offers some of the finest red and white sandstone cliffs in the park. The red, orange, and tan colored rocks appear surreal and create an environment hard to resist if your interest is hiking, scrambling, bouldering, sport climbing, or traditional (trad) climbing. Having such a broad appeal and located near metropolitan Las Vegas you can assume it will be a busy place on weekends so plan accordingly.

Hike: The Red Spring trailhead offers splendid views of the colorful cliffs and canyons in Calico Basin. The trail starts at the north end of the parking area with an immediate climb in elevation. The trail then hugs the cliffs as it heads toward Calico Spring. Wild horses and burros roam free here and it goes without saying keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. There are several crossings of the creek which has a nominal flow most of the year. Along the way you may be entertained by climbers scaling rock features such as Cannibal Crag, Dickies Cliff, Physical Graffiti, Cowlick Crag, or Gnat Man Crag. The gradual elevation gain brings you to the base of the red sandstone which is just awesome. There are several routes available with no one right or wrong way to go. While sometimes the top is the destination in this case the varied and interesting ways to the top are the interesting part of this trip. The sandstone offers great footing and I'm sure you will be tempted to scramble to your limit exploring all the nooks, crannies, and caves. When you have had your fill, head back the way you came.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2009-03-06 AZLOT69
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Calico Basin
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I joined Mike and Jbeans for a very late start for multipitch.. we decided on Calico Basin and then basically camped out at the bottom, taking notes on why not to have two groups of four people each on one multipitch climb, and then deciding at the top to rappel instead of do the walk-off. It was very entertaining; we just regret not having enough popcorn. At one point there were seven people hanging off of one anchor, with one person preparing to rappel while another TR'ed up the face.. busy! We geared up for Big Bad Wolf when it was free. Great easy climb.. just wish we'd had more time for another. Finished up there and headed out for some delicious all-you-can-eat sushi up in Vegas.. great post-climb reward.
    Calico Basin
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    We did a quick weekend trip back up to Red Rocks for some sunny climbing before it gets too hot. Camped out at Lovell Canyon on Friday night, then headed to Calico Basin for some of the routes there. Pretty easy day, but super windy! We met a huge group of people who had driven all through the night (and some through the day) from Eugene. Ah, Spring Break. ;)

    Camped that night in a better spot, right across the road. We got radio signal and tuned into the university station, which was playing blues, surf music, and Grateful Dead all night. We cracked open a couple IPAs and porters by the fire and had one of the best campfire nights in recent memory. Woke up the next morning to a completely trashed site.. turns out there are a lot of people who just go out there shooting up paint cans and trees. I think I counted seven trees that had literally been gunned down, and quite recently; the branches were still green. (Yes, I'm talking stumps.) :( Seriously, people? We cleaned up a couple bags of trash, but there were TVs, computers, and all sorts of crap lying around everywhere. So sad.

    Headed out to the second pullout on the loop, and the girls headed to Magic Bus while the boys hit up something a little farther away. I got a nice easy lead climb in, but because of the wind I was pumped halfway up. Cleaned up a 5.9 next to it, then headed out to Cali 12a for some lunch and to watch everyone else climb.

    I love this area.. so glad it's so close to here. :)
    Calico Basin
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    It was decided that for my birthday, an adventure weekend must be had. We didn't want to go "just anywhere," so decided that since a lot of people had a 3-day weekend for MLK day, Red Rocks would be the perfect place to celebrate. And since Vegas camping is so lousy, we thought it would be best to class it up a bit by staying at the cheapest hotels we could find. Much warmer, quieter (well, sometimes), and comfier than sleeping at the campsites under wind and constant jet noise.

    Day 1: We woke up "early" and had breakfast at the Pancake House. Yum! Then headed to Red Rocks. Figured it was going to be crowded due to no fee weekend, but were pleasantly surprised to find it wasn't so bad. I got to start using my brand new Grigri right away, and belayed JB up a route (Chrome Dome, 5.9 - ???), then went up it myself. This route was on the far left of Hunter S Thompson Dome, up a chimney and on a steep ledge. Didn't much like the area, so probably didn't enjoy the climb as much as I could have. Then we went down to HST Dome and did some routes there. I have a new favorite! Squire, a nice 5.10c which I haven't sent clean yet. It's good, but the crux is an extremely awkward roof, especially for those with long legs. Ran up that one twice and can't wait for the next time I get to try it.

    Day 2: After staying the night at a hotel with interesting nighttime ambiance (an extremely inebriated woman yelling "HEY YOU!" to any person within eyesight, though not necessarily within earshot), we went back to the Second Pullout and spent our time at Stone Wall. I TR'ed Roto Hammer, 5.10c -- LOVED it! Not as much as Squire, but still lots of fun! Hung around on Haunted Hooks, 5.10d, after that. Didn't like it so much, but that one is now Janelle's all-time favorite outdoor route. After a full day, we grabbed some pizza at our favorite spot (and I ended up with free 'sketti!), then checked in at Hooter's, intending to peruse the hot tub and have some drinks and maybe waste some money. I ended up having a couple beers and retiring early...... guess that's just where this part of the story's gonna have to end though. ;)

    Day 3: Everyone was exhausted and not really feelin' it, but we eventually got it all together and met some others out at Cannibal Crag. Note to self: Hostess Orange Cupcakes and unrefrigerated spaghetti leftovers do not make good breakfast food. Ugh. After I got over the initial insult from "breakfast," I got on A Man In Every Pot (5.8+). I did this one back in October and fell all over it, the day after my multipitch fiasco. This time around, I got it with no problems. Decided one route was enough, however, and ended up taking lots of pictures of Patrick 'projecting' and then redpointing New Wave Hookers (5.12c).

    Perfect way to spend a birthday weekend. :y:
    Calico Basin
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    A few of us met up for a trip to Red Rocks, one of the most amazing places I've been to for climbing. Met up on Friday and then headed on up for a fun weekend of camping and climbing.

    Day One: headed out to the Gallery. Really nice area. Obviously, everything at Red Rocks is just gorgeous, so you can't go wrong no matter what. I mostly sat and took pictures of others climbing, but did end up getting a couple routes in. The highlight of the day was watching Janelle on a tough lead. A high clip and long fall over a boulder made this route especially heady. She fell twice but managed to get it on the third time after receiving a helpful tidbit of beta. Really exciting for me to see someone else struggle with, but then conquer, their fears. Nice job, Janelle!

    Day Two: my first multipitch: Frogland. Mixed feelings on this so far. I probably should not have been holding the topo, as I kept going back to it and thinking about what was to come. ("Oh those moves were tough! Wait, what? That wasn't the crux? There's two cruxes?? And they're harder than that???") It comes down to: I thought I was gonna die. Okay, so we were well-protected and I was up there with two other very experienced climbers, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I'm terrified of heights, on a sheer rock face with sweaty hands, and 400 feet perpendicular to the ground. Plus, it was lots of crack climbing, and I struggle with that. Didn't help either when I looked up at one point and saw my belayer taking pictures while using an ATC. I was pretty well ready to dial in a helicopter, but my climbing mates somehow picked up on how uncomfortable I was (could it have been the tears streaming down my face?), and also noted that the wind was blowing in gusts and darkness would soon fall, so we set up to rappel back down. Only made it about halfway up the ~800 ft ascent, but I'm okay with that. Literally kissed the ground when I finally got back down to it, then waited for Janelle and Danny to return from Wild Turkeys. We all headed into town for a buffet, everyone else diving into the crabs while I opted for pasta-based meals and delicious desserts. Excellent meal, but I couldn't wait to get into my sleeping bag and just pass right out. Mmmm.

    I did like the multipitch experience, but I'd like to try something a little simpler next time. The holds were actually not that bad, but the elevation was playing games with my perception and tore down confidence in my climbing ability. I'm thinking: non-slabby 5.7/5.8 with 3-4 pitches tops would be right up my alley. ;)

    Day Three: no one was really feeling the climbing bug on this cloudy day, but we all headed up to Cannibal Crag anyway. A couple routes were put up, and I jumped on TR on the non-windy side of the crag. Dealing with PTSD flashbacks from the previous day, I decided that one was enough and resorted to taking pictures with Janelle's camera instead. Then we all packed it in and went back to town to refill on gas and eats, just as the sun was clearing up the sky for a perfect climbing day. Oh well. Had an awesome weekend with some new experiences. And now that a week or so has passed since everything went down, I can say I loved every moment of it and I can't wait to go back. ;)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Red Spring Trailhead
    From downtown Las Vegas (or from I 15), drive 15 miles west on Charleston Blvd. Charleston turns into NV SR 159. Turn north off NV SR 159 onto Calico Basin Road. Take Calico Basin Road one mile to the Red Spring trailhead.

    From Las Vegas (I-15 & I-515) 16.1 mi - about 29 mins
    From Reno (I-80 & US 395) 450 mi - about 8 hours 15 mins
    From Wells (I-80 & US 93) 438 mi - about 7 hours 57 mins
    page created by AZLOT69 on Mar 06 2009 2:55 pm
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