Hiking Guide

The Ultimate Guide for Hiking Kraft Mountain Loop in Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon is the perfect outdoor getaway from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas for any adventurer. 

If you’re looking for a shorter, but challenging hike with incredible views of the gorgeously colored sandstone canyons in Red Rock, the Kraft Mountain (or Kraft Boulders) Loop Trail should be at the top of your list. 

The Kraft Mountain Loop hike is 3.5 miles long, taking you around Kraft Mountain. You’ll hike up the canyon for breathtaking views of Red Rock, before scrambling down the vibrant and colorful ravine.

Since the Kraft Mountain Loop trail is located outside of Red Rock’s popular, and highly trafficked Scenic Drive, there is no fee or permit required to hike! Your time on this trail will be quieter and more intimate. 

So if you’re in Las Vegas and looking for a free, rewarding hike to do in a half-day, head over to Red Rock Canyon and give the Kraft Mountain Loop trail a try.

Trail highlights: views, cactus, wildflowers

Tags: scramble, elevation gain, red rock canyon, rock climbing, free

Trail map for the Kraft Mountain Loop trail, located in Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area.
Trail map for hiking the Kraft Mountain Loop trail. Be sure to download this map (or take a picture of it) before your hike since there is no cell service in Red Rock.

How to hike the Kraft Mountain Loop Trail

Free, printable Kraft Mountain Loop Hiking Guide to bring with you!

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Trail Overview

  • Distance (roundtrip): 3.5 miles (loop)
  • Elevation gain: 614 feet
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Season: open all-year round (caution: extreme heat in summer)
  • Permits/Fees: Yes/No
  • Highlights: canyon views, desert plant life, desert wildflowers
  • Tags: hiking, family friendly, dog friendly, scramble, free

Permits & Fees

No parking or permit fees required.

Getting to the Trailhead

The Kraft Canyon Loop trailhead is located in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation, about 30-minutes from Las Vegas. Because this trail is outside of the Scenic Route, you don’t need to pay for any permits or daily passes. 

Set your destination to Kraft Mountain parking lot in your GPS. The parking lot is long, narrow and large enough to park around 75 cars. However, if you can't find a parking spot, you can park along the side of the road that leads to the parking lot.

There are two trailheads for the Kraft Mountain Loop. To hike the loop counterclockwise, use the trailhead located closest to the parking lot entrance. Use the trailhead at the end of the parking lot to hike clockwise.

There aren’t any restrooms in the Kraft Mountain parking lot; however, as you drive to the trailhead, you’ll pass the Red Spring/Calico Basin parking lot, which has restrooms. 

Trailhead coordinates: 36.1581, -115.4201

The Kraft Mountain Loop trail head sign, showing the trail map and safety tips. The background shows the incredible orange and red striped sandstone canyons of Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. The sky is bright blue.
There are two trailheads for the Kraft Mountain Loop trail. If you want to hike counterclockwise, head towards the trailhead closest to the Kraft Mountain parking lot entrance. Otherwise, head towards the end of the parking lot of the clockwise trailhead.

Hiking the Trail

I ended up inadvertently hiking the Kraft Mountain Loop counterclockwise because I had parked next to that trailhead and stumbled upon it.

The first section of the trail is extremely well marked and easy to follow. Initially, the hike is relatively flat, where you’re surrounded by the resilient desert shrubbery and striped sandstone canyons. 

As you pass a cluster of canyons on your right-hand side, you’ll even find several groups of rock climbers bouldering! 

Soon enough, the elevation begins to change. You’ll hike upward on a relatively steep incline. But this part of the trail is unique because you’ll start to see more greenery as you pass different wildflowers and desert shrubs at this higher elevation.

The first incline of the Kraft Mountain Loop trail in Red Rock. The path is well-marked, on an incline and surrounded by a variety of desert shrubs. The orange sandstones are standing tall in the horizon and contrast the bright blue skies.
The Kraft Mountain Loop trail gives you a taste of the diverse desert wildflowers in the Red Rock area.

As you climb, you’ll definitely feel the quads start to burn and the onset of the heavy mouth-breathing! Fortunately, the trail is well marked and relatively easy to get up, as long as you go at your own pace.

Once the trail levels off, take a look behind you. You’ll have spectacular views of Red Rock’s landscape, the scenery just embodying you. Take a moment to just breath in the fresh air and enjoy this feeling of being disconnected. You’ll feel so alive. 

A hiker walking along the sandstone canyon to enjoy the panoramic view of Red Rock Canyon Conservation area. The canyons are striped with red, the sky is bright blue, and the sun is beaming on the hiker.

Continue hiking along the marked trail and you’ll notice the trail getting narrower, winding you through the red, orange and gray hues of the canyon swirling into each other. 

Before descending, you’ll notice a dry, wide wash below you. This wash is made up of loose gravel and requires a little extra work from those calves. 

Navigating through the wash is a little trickier than I originally expected. It’s easy to question whether you’ve missed the trail (or if you’re even on the right trail!) to hike back down to the parking lot.

Admittedly, I hiked too far along the rocky wash, bearing right (instead of continuing straight), and ended up getting lost. Fortunately, I backtracked to where the wash split and followed other hikers onto the right trail. 

Pro Tip: Make sure to download a copy of the trail map (or take a photo of the map at the trailhead) before you start your hike. There is no service in Red Rock Canyon.

A downward view of the wash that hikers will travel on while hiking Kraft Canyon Loop. The wash is gray and composed of loose gravel. The sandstones are standing tall around the wash.
You'll hike along the canyon wash for about a mile, before looping back down the trail towards the parking lot. Be vigilant while hiking the wash, as it can be easy to veer off the loop.

So don’t get lost like me hiking the wash! Follow the wash for about 1 mile. The wash then splits; one path leading straight ahead, the other bearing right. Continue straight. You’ll know you’re on the right trail if it starts to change from larger, loose gravel to a more, well-packed path. 

After about 0.5 miles along this trail, you’ll notice the terrain changing. You’ll begin descending down the ravine, the path not so easily marked. You’ll scramble down several sections of the colorful, red sandstone canyons. You are officially hiking around the basin of Kraft Mountain!

As you make your way down Kraft Mountain, you’ll have insane views of Red Rock’s magnificent, red canyons. This area is also incredibly shaded, giving you a nice break from the beaming sun.

If you’ve got weak knees like me, take your time as you scramble down the boulders. Enjoy nature’s colors and the canyons that stand tall around you. With the view and the shade, it’s a great place to rest and enjoy a snack! 

Pro Tip: It’s easy to get lost as you descend the ravine. Just continue hiking downward, following the direction of the ravine. You’ll eventually end up at the parking lot!

As you hike out of Kraft Mountain’s basin, you’ll know you’re in the right spot when you start to see more and more people. As you exit the trail, you’ll notice two other trails merging here, You’ll notice two other trails merging here as well, the Ash Spring and Girl Scout trails.

Before exiting the trail, look back to see the route you’ve just hiked. It’s a crazy feeling when you realize that you’ve just hiked in between two tall and majestic canyons. 

Two red and orange canyons standing side by side, with a hiking trail cut in between the two canyons. Hikers on the Kraft Mountain Loop trail will hike in between these two canyons.
You've just hiked IN BETWEEN those two canyons!

Pro Tip: Deciding on whether to hike the Kraft Mountain Loop trail clockwise or counterclockwise is up to you:

  • Clockwise - this direction is more physically demanding, as you’ll start the hike summiting the mountain. You’ll scramble upward along several sections of boulders. You’ll have the view of Red Rock to your back. However, as you finish the hike, you’ll have a well marked path that’s easier to descend as well as beautiful views of Red Rock.
  • Counterclockwise - this direction is slightly easier, as the incline up the mountain is on a well marked path and on a gradual incline. You’ll finish the hike descending the boulders in Kraft Mountain’s basin, with views of Red Rock right in front of you.

Craving some fresh air and a challenging hike near Las Vegas? Hit up the Kraft Mountain (Kraft Boulder) Loop trail in the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. Although short, this challenging hike gives you incredible views of the colorful sandstone canyons from different perspectives.

And the best part? Since this trail is outside Red Rock’s popular Scenic Loop Drive, no permit is required AND your hike will be more intimate.

Have you hiked this trail? Leave your tips and thoughts below.

Safety Tips

  • Check the weather before you go. Sandstone becomes brittle when wet, increasing the risk of dangerous breakoffs and injury from rockfall. Beware of flash flooding.
  • There is no cell service available in Red Rock Canyon. 
  • Prepare for extreme heat. During summertime, Red Rock Canyon averages more than 100°F. Bring enough water, sun protection and hike early. 

Helpful Resources

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about the author
Molly Chhiv
What's up! This Cambodian kid is an outdoor addict, adventure blogger, & your personal HYPE GIRL. Through the outdoors, I've learned self-confidence, independence, & mental strength. My mission through The Adventure Diet is to share the power of the outdoors with you. I want to empower you with tips, tools and inspiration to get outside with confidence and find yourself.

So if you're ready, let's get out there and do this sh*t!

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