By Norm Kresge
If you’re looking for a four-mile-loop hike that is relatively easy, Half Wilson Trail is just the hike for you. The trail head is along Calico Basin Road. The trail is for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding and I’ve seen all three on the trail.
Starting from the trail head, there are two options—one is to go up the hill almost straight ahead. The easier way is to take the trail that goes off to the right and then up a gradual incline to the top of the ridge. The trail continues, descending to a wash below.
Here you’ll meet a trail coming from the left. Stay to the right and follow the trail along a ridge called Peak 3844. The name of this ridge is simply the elevation. There is a wide variety of desert flora including cholla, yucca, black brush and creosote bushes.
As you round Peak 3844, there will be an option for a side trip. If you follow the trail that goes to the right across the wash, it will ascend a short section. From the top of that ridge, you’ll have a view of Las Vegas in the distance. Return the same way you came and rejoin the Half Wilson Trail when you get back to the wash.
The trail crosses the power line road that goes into Calico Basin but don’t follow the road. If you watch, you’ll see the trail follow the west side of Peak 3844. The trail rises gently for most of the way, but there are a couple of less gentle hills to ascend before the last one that brings you back to your car.
Besides the desert plants, especially nice in the spring when the yucca are blooming and there are some desert marigolds, you will have good views of the escarpment at Red Rock Canyon, Calico Basin, Gateway Canyon and Kraft Mountain.
The easy nature of this loop makes it a perfect place to hike with the less experienced person or someone who doesn’t want to be challenged too much. As a side note, I didn’t know this trail had an official name. If you look on Google Maps, you can see the trail and plan your route.
Getting to the trailhead:
Follow SR 159, Charleston Boulevard, toward Red Rock Canyon and turn right onto Calico Basin Road. In about 1/3 mile, you’ll come to a wash. Park on the right side. There is ample parking. You’ll know you’re at the trail head when you see a large boulder and a Carsonite sign that says Area Closed to motorized vehicles.
Disclaimer Of Liability:
With respect to images, data, and narrative posted at this website, Friends of Red Rock Canyon makes no warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Friends of Red Rock Canyon shall not be liable in any way for loss or damage, of any kind, to you, or any other person, for any inaccuracy, error, omission, or delay in any information posted or otherwise transmitted over this website.
While the website tries to accurately describe places and routes, conditions change over time and sometimes mistakes are made. If something posted on this site seems wrong, assume it is wrong and tell us that it needs to be fixed. Wildlands are inherently dangerous — always rely on your own good judgment. You are responsible for your own safety.