The Mass Production Wall of Calico Tanks

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program once again…

Located high above Red Rocks’ popular Calico Tanks trail, the hike into this crag was my favourite part of the day. Part scrambling and route-finding, it takes you up a dry stream bed, along sandstone ledges, over water-sculpted mounds, past little “tank” oases (shallow rain catchment pools in the sandstone), over white and gold and red and pink sandstone streaking, and then it has a steep push up a rampart to get to the climbing crag. Once up there, there were two caves to explore and a wide, open area from which to watch the climbing… no neck craning necessary to get route beta! Read More

Blue Diamond: A Singletrack Gem

There’s more to Red Rocks than climbing. Come along as we go off on a little diversion from the main purpose of our trip to Vegas.

Blue Diamond is a little town, about 12 km down the Red Rocks Scenic Highway from the entrance to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This small town has made a name for itself with its awesome singletrack trails system of 33 trails.

You are not allowed to ride the trails within Red Rock Canyon itself, so the Blue Diamond/Cottonwood Valley option is an excellent way to get around this: you still have the incredible Wilson Cliffs of Wilson Mountain, one of the iconic mountains within the park, as a backdrop for your rides. Essentially, you’re biking in the desert area on the south side of Red Rocks, so it sure feels as if you are still in the park. Read More

The Lofty Aerie of Coco Crag

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program… (we were in Vegas to climb, after all!)

This was quite possibly my favourite climbing crag. Perched very high up the cliff face on varnished walls, it’s quite the fun scramble to get up there, over the most bizarrely striped pink and red rocks… but oh-so worth the effort! In fact, the hike back down takes just as long as the hike up… that’s how demanding the scramble is! Read More

Perched On The Nose of a Turtle

While there are plenty of hikes to do in Red Rock Canyon, we were after a long one that would give us a birds’ eye view of the climbing crags we’d been playing in… and Turtlehead Peak fit the bill. Its peak rises, looking a lot like a turtle’s nose poking up and out of its shell, from the desert floor.

Already on our “hit” list of possible hikes for our time there, it was recommended to us by a Vegas couple that we met while hiking in Zion. They belonged to a weekend hiking group in Las Vegas and this was one of their favourites.  Read More

The Fun Puzzles of Conundrum Crag

Climbing is a puzzle. A wonderful test of mind and body, it stretches your limits in highly satisfying ways. Unlike many other physical outdoor activities, there is a lot of mental work going on, whether it be conquering a fear of height or falling, or figuring out the puzzle of the climb.

I’ve always loved a good puzzle. And it is the independent nature of figuring out where to go next, what to do, what to grab, where to place those feet edges, and reading the formation of the rock, that holds the most allure for me, when I climb. I feel more satisfaction from figuring out a move than I do of getting to the top of the route. In fact, I often feel a little wave of disappointment, when I realize I’m at the anchor.

The name of this crag held great promise. Conundrum: a problem, a difficult question, a quandary, a dilemma, a puzzle, a mystery, a stumper, a cruncher. All great things, with wonderful promise, in my book. Read More

The Panty Wall of Red Rocks

The Panty Wall is a very popular crag for climbers due to its proximity to the park entrance. Yup, “Panty Wall.” Climbing crags and routes have strange names!

Red Rocks has a lot of terrific crags and this is one of them. One disadvantage to climbing within the park boundaries is that the road through the park is a one-way, 21km long loop, and parking at the crags can be a bit of a problem. For this crag, you park at the first pull-out. As a result, it is quite popular. Read More

Red Rocks’ Climbing Crags

Red Rocks is an amazing area in which to climb. With thousands of established and well maintained climbing routes, there are plenty of places to go, plenty of routes to absorb the climbers that flock to this area in droves, and plenty of places to play. There you can hone your skills, relax in some lofty perches with inspiring views and foster that love of getting on rock.

With a little research ahead of time, it is not difficult to find climbing crags in the Red Rocks area that can meet the variety of ability levels in your group AND keep you in the shade or in the sun. On hot days, shade helps to keep the rock “sticky.” On cold days you are wearing puffies, and the sun helps to keep fingers with feeling in them. The desert is strange that way… it can be very cold in the mornings and evenings and very hot at mid day and in the afternoon. It’s a place of extremes. Read More

There’s More to Vegas Than You Think

“Where are you going?”


“What!? YOU are going to Vegas?”

We called our first trip to Las Vegas, years ago, the “Over My Dead Body” trip…. Everything I knew about Vegas seemed at odds with the way I choose to live my life. But Vegas, I found out on that first trip, has some wonderful experiences, some great people, and some incredible natural areas to explore. Read More

Sunrise at Canyon Overlook

“Got the headlamps?” “Check.” “Coffees?” “Check.” “Puffies and toques?” “Yep.” We were up before the crack of dawn on our last day in Zion, ready for one last taste of adventure before we had to leave her for the climbing Mecca of Red Rocks in the Nevada desert.

Canyon Overlook lies on the east rim of Zion Canyon and is a hike with a little bit of everything. You climb up sandstone mounds, walk along sandstone ledges, travel under overhangs, peer down a deep slot canyon, travel across a catwalk hung over a chasm, walk through sand, and then come out to an absolutely incredible spot. Perched on the white sandstone top of the canyon wall, you look out across the vast expanse of Zion. And at dawn, it is truly majestic. Read More

Don’t Do Angel’s Landing!

Skip Angel’s Landing. Yup, that’s what I said. SKIP IT. This is a first for me… recommending that you NOT do a hike!

Angels’ Landing was the hike we most wanted to do in the park. It promised to take us 453m up to the peak of a narrow ridge line, holding onto chains where the drop offs on either side give thrilling exposure. We thought it would be super fun to walk on a fin of rock, suspended over the canyon floor, far below. Read More