Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Calico Hills South - 12/20/16

Bridgepoint (aka Little Matterhorn) from Ridge south of Calico Hills

Southern End of Calico Hills

Boulder & Cliffs

Starting up the Grand Circle Trail
Today's hike began at the Red Rock Canyon NCA fee booth parking lot. Fourteen hikers arrived and it was a mixed bag of levels. No worries. This would be a relaxed hike somewhere in the leisurely to moderate range and everyone was happy to be out on the trails in the cool weather after having had a late morning to sleep in. We started up the Grand Circle Trail in the direction of Calico I. At this time, the Calico I turnout is closed due to construction. (BTW, they have not provided any way for hikers to hike through the trailhead. Just avoid this area all together.)

Today's Figure 8 Junction
 When we got up to the trail junction where a trail comes from the ridge that circles around the end of the Calico Hills, we turned right and immediately to the left. Today, we'll call this the figure 8 junction.

View of Petroglyph Area from Above
 Now, we were on the best trail to use to descend to the wash below. So, down we went.

Descending to the Wash

Viewing the Cliffs above Used for Rock Climbing
 At the bottom of the hill, we turned left onto a small trail to hike up next to the wash. This trail continues all the way up to Calico I but we took a sharp right turn where there is a large junction. This turn put us on a trail on the other side of the wash and we hiked toward an area where there are many interesting very large boulders. When we got closer to the boulders, we viewed a few of the petroglyphs on the rocks. Some of the petroglyphs are on top of these boulders and a few of us scrambled around a little.

Jerry comes down from Petroglyph Rock
 As we passed this area, we watched a few rock climbers on the cliffs above. There is also a small arch that can be seen from here.

We could probably climb that!
 After the boulder area, we continued straight along the wash finding a trail that many hikers use to come into Red Rock from Calico Basin.

Starting Out the Wash Trail

 The trail changes back and forth from a single track, to an old road, to the wash, itself. Any choice you make, you are following the wash route with easy hiking all the way out to Calico Basin Road. About two thirds of the distance out to the road, there is an old car on the embankment. Determined to identify this old scrap metal, we all hiked over to it and studied the clues. After returning home and doing a little research, Jerry concluded that it was a Chevrolet 210 Series. The photos are very convincing.

Following the Wash Trail
 We returned to the trail and neared the Calico Basin Road. Three horse and riders climbed to the right side ridge using a trail that we would be taking after our break.

Old Car near the Wash Trail
 We found a few rocks to rest on then started up that trail. Our return would be a gradual climb back up to the figure 8 junction, the top of the descent trail.

Climbing up on the Ridge Trail (Peak 3844 in Background)

Calico Basin from Ridge
 To complete the figure 8 shaped route, we followed the newly manicured trails down to cross the scenic loop road. From here, we circled around the Visitor Center and passed through the lower parking lot. Finally, we took the trail back down to the fee booth. The wilderness volunteers have done an excellent job improving the trails near the Visitor Center. Very nice day.

5 miles; 600 feet elevation gain; 2.75 hours

Passing the Southern End of Calico Hills

Search & Rescue Training

Crossing the Scenic Loop

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