Bouldering for all Ages
Red Rock Canyon offers world renowned rock climbing for all abilities – including world-class challenging routes ascending hundreds of feet up the red-colored sandstone rock face.
However, very close by, is the lesser known boulder field called Kraft Boulders. Kraft Boulders is actually located just outside the park boundary of the Red Rock National Conservation Area. So, there is no admission fee and consequently, there are few improved facilities nearby. This area offers a spectacular view of the southern portion of the canyon, the opportunity to hike numerous trails, and the grand prize — the ability to climb nearly an endless-supply of giant boulders.
Bouldering is a shorter (less altitude gained), intense and challenging form of rock climbing where the climber ascends boulders, usually without ropes. The boulders present challenges that climbers call “problems”. The climber must decide how to best tackle the “problem” and through a series of a few demanding moves, ascend to the top of the boulder. Sounds easy, right? Some of these problems can be exceptionally difficult – and remember, you are not attached to a rope!
The good thing is the boulder field at Kraft Boulders is immense and offers a huge selection of easy to extremely challenging problems. On the easy side, there are many boulders fit for kids. Kids of all ages (even as young as two years old) will find the boulder field an endless playground with a vast supply of rocks they can climb. You should at all times supervise your kids while they are bouldering and act as a safety spotter beneath them as they climb. It is also a great way to get your kids warmed up to rock climbing and eventually embark on traditional climbing with ropes along the taller faces at nearby Red Rock.
When assisting newcomers to bouldering – or when spotting your kids, remember to emphasize the fundamentals – reach for and grasp good hand holds and shift your feet to good foot holds as you move up the boulder. Safety should always be emphasized and you should wear appropriate gear to fully enjoy bouldering. This includes rock climbing shoes (climbing shoes are different than hiking boots), a helmet is advised for kids, and many will also attach a chalk bag around their waste (to help keep their hands dry and grip secure).
As with any adventures in the hot and dry Nevada desert, bring plenty of water and a first aid kit for those unexpected incidents. Apply and reapply sun block to protect against sun burn. Bring hats for shade, and pack a sweatshirt or fleece in your backpack in case the temperature drops or the wind picks up.
Don’t forget your camera! The rocks have a deep red tint to them in the late afternoon sun and the sunset from Calico Basin Road is spectacular.
Directions to Kraft Boulders
From Las Vegas, take Route 159 (Charleston Blvd) west from I-215 (western-side of Las Vegas). Route 159 winds its way westward and you will see the ridges of Red Rock Canyon ahead of you. Make a right onto Calico Basin Road. This road is about 1 mile before the Red Rock Canyon Visitor’s Center turnoff — if you find your way at the park entrance, you’ve gone too far.
Follow Calico Basin Road as it turns 90-degrees to the left, then 90-degrees to the right. Continue to the end of the road and you will normally find a group of parked cars on the road and a small parking area off to your left lined by a wire fence on both sides. Straight ahead (to the north) you should make out the boulder field.
To get there, park your car and follow the trail that leads down two small gullies and straight into the boulder field. The walk is not more than 5-10 minutes from where you park your car.