The Calico Tanks Trail is one of the most popular in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and for good reason. It is a moderate length, and though there is a climb, it is not that noticeable. Plus the scenery is beautiful, and there is a prize at the end. Two prizes, actually!
The trail begins at the Sandstone Quarry Trailhead off of the Scenic Drive. On busy days this is a crowded parking area, so it is best to come early. From the parking area the hike starts up a wash and turns right to head up the small canyon. The trail sometimes stays down in the sandy bottom, but it often climbs up to the rocky jumble along the sides. The scenery is ever-changing as the trail climbs in elevation. There are many opportunities to scramble up some boulders for a different view or just for the fun of it. The trail passes a small pool, or “tank,” near the top, but this is just the baby brother of the large pool at the top. From the large pool it is an easy hike up the last rise to a grand view of Las Vegas and the surrounding mountains. For an even better view, the small hill to the north of the pool is very accessible for a scramble to the top.