Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a beautiful U.S. Bureau of Land Management area on the western edge of the Las Vegas Valley, featuring amazing natural beauty.
While the main entrance to Red Rock Canyon requires a National park fee, the Calico Basin Red Springs area does not. The area features spectacular red and white sandstone cliffs and, as the name implies, there are many natural springs that feed the abundant vegetation and attract a variety of interesting wildlife.
Calico Basin is a colorful area tucked between the gray limestone La Madre Mountains to the north, the red sandstone Calico Hills to the west, and a desert ridge to the south. Three springs with permanent water emerge from the base of the red sandstone cliffs: Red Spring, Calico Spring, and Ash Spring. Water also runs in washes to the north and south of the springs during the winter months.
The water supports large cottonwood trees, ash trees, shrub live oak, honey mesquite, and Saltgrass meadows. Red Spring flows from a shallow tunnel in the rocks at the end of the road. The outflow from Red Spring also feeds a beautiful marshy grassland.
There are picnic tables, fire grills, trash cans, and restrooms at the parking area.
From downtown Las Vegas take Charleston Blvd west for 3.8 miles (about 1.5 miles before the entrance to the Scenic Loop of Red Rock). Turn right onto Calico Basin Road and drive north, then west, for about 1 mile to where the paved road makes a 90-degree turn to the right. At this point turn left, drive through the gate, and enter the picnic area. Red Spring is located at the far side of the boardwalk.