Red Rock Canyon Hiking Trails – La Madre Springs
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an incredibly popular place to visit for tourists coming to Las Vegas. Located about 25 minutes west of the Strip, it provides a natural getaway from the chaos that is Las Vegas.
Visitors to Red Rock do pay a fee to enter, although the National Parks pass includes admission. The area has a very nice visitor’s center along with a 13 mile scenic loop which is lined with dozens of amazing hiking trails.
The first two stops along the road are Calico I & II. These areas have the reddest of rocks. Given their location on the road, they can get crowded and uncomfortable. In other words, be prepared to share them with hundreds of your not so closest friends.
As a Las Vegas local I have had the opportunity to hike many of the trails at Red Rock. Since it is fresh in my mind having hiked out there yesterday, I thought I would tell you about my favorite trail out at Red Rock for your next visit. La Madre Springs trail.
La Madre Springs is a relatively unknown trail located just past the Willow Springs Picnic area. (See map above.) The trail takes behind a mountain before you slowly ascend up to a spring. This spring has been used for hundreds of years by Paiute Indians, miners and more recently area wildlife.
The main reason I love this trail is the change of scenery. Instead of the rocky desert landscape you get in much of Red Rock, the La Madre Springs trail adds in a mixture of trees as well. Of course the brilliantly colored and shaped rock faces will leave you awe struck as well.
While the trail is listed as moderate, it is very wide and well developed. During the hike you will ascend nearly 1,000 feet, however it is done gradually and there are plenty of flat areas to rest and catch your breath. As someone who has personally hiked this trail over 20 times, believe me when I say you will enjoy it.
There are other spectacular trails in Red Rock, but this one has the perfect mixture of scenery & exercise for me. Additionally, since it is something that can be done by the whole family, no one has to miss out. The best part though is that most people don’t hike this trail since it starts well into the loop. The hoards tend to get sucked into other trails earlier on, thus bypassing this one.
As you can see, the natural beauty at Red Rock far exceeds anything you will see on the Strip. While the Las Vegas Strip has its place, it is great to get out of town and recharge your batteries with a nice hike. The next time you are in Vegas do yourself a favor and visit La Madre Springs. You won’t regret it!