Calico Tanks (RRCNCA) - Trip notes for 04/04/2018

{Click on an image to enlarge, then use the back button to return to this page}
This page last updated on 04/08/2018
(Fig. 01)

(Fig. 02)

(Fig. 02A) Click to Enlarge
Description: The official start of the trailhead for this hike is the northern end of the Sandstone Quarry parking (refer to the map in (Fig. 02). To get a frame of reference as to where this area is located within the park, refer to the yellow boxed area on the map in (Fig. 02A). The elevation at the trailhead is 4,367 feet and rises to 4,752 feet at the saddle at the end, an elevation gain of 385 feet during the 1.21 mile length of this hike. This hike provides a great introduction to the diverse vegetation and rocks found throughout the Red Rock Canyon area. After passing the quarry area (Fig. 03), the trail crosses a wash and heads upstream before leaving the wash and turning up a major side a major side canyon on the right, heading southeast. Click here for pictures and description of the quarry ... Sandstone Quarry Overlook & Trails. The lower part is wide and sandy and offers some great views of Turtlehead Peak to the north (Fig. 01 above). Higher up the canyon narrows and you end up following use-trails that run along red and white sandstone slickrock where the route is not always obvious. After climbing for what seems like quite some time, this fairly strenuous, yet relatively short hike, leads to a large natural depression (a "tinaja" or "tank") (Fig. 04) just below the Calico Hills ridge. When there is sufficient precipitation, the tank provides a critical water source for various birds and wildlife such as bighorn sheep. When there is enough water, you can find sedges, needlegrass, and cattails growing along the tank' margins. After passing the tinaja along its southern side, you have to scramble up some sandstone rocks to reach the saddle that provides an expansive view down the cliffs to the east and great views out over Calico Basin and the Las Vegas Valley.

(Fig. 05)

(Fig. 06)

04/04/2018 Trip Notes: Today Jim Herring and I decided to hike the Calico Tank hike. Even though the day started out overcast, it was in the 80's and quite comfortable. Near the beginning of this trail before leaving the main wash, there is an agave roasting pit on the left side of the wash. Click here for pictures and to read more ... Ref - Agave Roasting Pits. As we continued to hike along the lower portion of the trail I began to realize that we were about two weeks early as far as finding anything in  bloom. Some trees and plant life were just barely beginning to bloom (Fig. 05). Click here to read more about this Western Redbud ... Western Redbud (Cercis occidentals). On the way up we encountered two areas that contained pockets of standing water that I had not encountered on my previous trip in 2013 (Figs. 06 & 07). The higher we climbed, the more bouldering we encountered (Figs. 08 & 09). We were somewhat disappointed when we reached the tinaja that there wasn't more water in it (Fig. 10). (Notes con't below)

(Fig. 05)

(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
Notes Continued: Once you reach the tinaja and climb up the rock-filled trail that follows, you reach a ridgeline that presents a variety of great views overlooking Calico Basin (Fig. 11) and Red Rock Canyon (Fig. 12). Where Jim was taking pictures from in (Fig. 11), he is on the far left in the picture in (Fig. 12). The picture in (Fig. 13), taken by Jim, shows me in the center of the picture of the ledge I climbed up onto. The view I had from here is in picture (Fig. 12). Naturally, as we began the return hike back down the canyon, the skies cleared (Fig. 14 & 15). Pictures of the trees in (Figs. 16 thru 18) can be enlarged by clicking on the individual pictures. The closeup in picture 18 looks like the head of a bird to me. The last two are pictures we took of each other. The plant in (Fig. 20) that Jim is taking a picture of is an Agave. For more pictures and to read more about this plant go to ... Agave utahensis.
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
(Fig. 15)

(Fig. 16)

(Fig. 17)

(Fig. 18)

(Fig. 19)

(Fig. 20)

Back to my previous page ... Calico Tanks (RRCNCA)