Red Rock Canyon NCA is about seventeen miles west of Las Vegas. As a National Conservation Area, Red Rock is protected by the Bureau of Land Management, and there are lots of things to do here, especially for those who enjoy outdoor activities. Camping, hiking, horseback riding, even rock climbing can be done here. The landscape is colorful, interesting, awesome and photogenic.
You can camp out here or just take the thirteen mile scenic drive as a day trip from Las Vegas.
Read more about Red Rock on my Overton, Nevada page.
Just about an hour northwest of Vegas lies the town of Pahrump. There, you will find a few small casinos, and a little gem of a desert winery. As you get close to town, the signs direct you off of the highway and into a little subdivision. Once you are sure you took the wrong turn, you'll see the entrance to the winery. You'll enter into the little shop area, which also houses the wine tasting area. We were about a half hour early for the first of the three daily tours, so we did the wine tasting first - they allow you seven samples from their long list of options - some made from the grapes at the winery, others from imported grapes. The ladies behind the bar were very gracious in discussing the wines. Then, we took the tour, which lasted about 20 minutes. We saw the grounds, then the trophy room, and had it not been for the work they were doing, we would have gotten in the production area.
All in all, this is an interesting diversion from Vegas - if you're into wineries, or just food tours in general, this is a neat little trip. The side trip along Red Rock Canyon to get there has some really nice scenery as well.
Highly Recommended...truly a place of beauty. There are many different rock formations, colors, diverse plant life, and over 45 species of mamals and birds. There are many places to hike, climb, bike and just sit and picnic. Something for everyone.
Red Rock Canyon is located about 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip. From Las Vegas the Conservation Area can be approached from Charleston Boulevard [north of Sahara Avenue], which will turn into State Route 159; or from State Route 160 [south of Tropicana] to the Junction with Route 159. Just follow Route 159 until you see the entrance.
About 10 miles from Las Vegas lies Red Rock Canyon. Here, the mountains have a beautiful reddish color and they rise 8,000 feet. There are cliffs and ravines composed of grey, white and red rock.
The wide empty plain beneath the hills are studded with Joshua trees and other desert plants. Call me stupid; but until I went here I had no idea of how many colorful flowers a cactus could have.
We went on a horseback riding tour to see
further than we thought our legs would take us. At one point, our guide pointed out deep ruts in the desert floor; she said these were tracks still here from when the wagon trains used to travel through the area.
One hint if you do take this tour is to wear jeans, or very thick sunscreen. We were visiting here in May, and once the tour was over, our thighs were extremely sunburned.
The canyon is easily reached, by Las Vegas Boulevard ('The Strip'), which is one of the busiest east-west routes running through the center of the city. The strip leads directly to the park entrance - Charleston Boulevard, which crosses the strip. The standard entry fee is $5 per vehicle.
The horseback tour we took was through Cowboy Trail Rides. I have included their phone number and website address below.
For $89, they'll pick you up from Las Vegas, drive you out to the Red Rock Canyon, and send you on a 2 hour horseback tour. We were very happy with them.
One thing I liked alot at Red Rock Canyon, was the wild burros roaming around---a very sad part of this is that we saw one that had (I guess) been hit by a vehicle, and it's mate was standing nearby looking so sad, just hanging its head. So watch out for creatures when driving the loop! There are also "Cowboy Memorials", a site made up with little toys and maybe a saddle, and some crosses or religious items, in memorial to some cowboy---never did get the whole story on those, but we did see a couple during our drive.
If you want to see a great park just outside Vegas, try Red Rock Canyon. http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/, Spring Mountains http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/htnf/districts/smnra/, or Valley of Fire http://parks.nv.gov/vf.htm. I have done all three (some more than once), and they are all fantastic.
All can be reached in 1 hour or less from the stirp.
One of our favorite outdoor destinations is Red Rock National Monument. We take all of our visitors there and they are all inspired, especially those who have never experienced desert beauty. It takes about an hour from the strip to get there, but you are a world away. It costs just $5 per car to enter. The road takes you on a 13 mile loop around the canyon. There are plenty of places to stop and gawk, or even take a hike, if you are inspired. Many people bike the loop. There are probably tour companies that will rent bikes if you are interested. I think the small nearby hamlet of Blue Diamond might have a vendor. Also, this is a world class climbing destination. If you look closely, you might see climbers on the walls. Take drinks and snacks. There are no stores out there. Also, although it is higher in elevation than Las Vegas, I personally would not go in the summer, too hot.
A thirty minute drive from Vegas will bring you to this beautiful park and its 13-mile scenic loop.
There were two carloads of us. One car (ours) made it to the Red Rock Canyon using a regular road map. The other car (my niece & family), using the latest GPS technology, got lost somehow and ended up on Mt Charleston. When we met up later, she described it as 'somewhat like Whistler Mountain but not as nice'.
** Don't let the blue sunny sky fool you in these photos... it was actually VERY cold **
Depending on how long you are in town, Red Rock Canyon is a great way to actually see what the Nevada landscape is like, minus all the neon and fake lakes of the strip. A good day trip or even half day trip. I like to go early in the day to avoid the crowds and in the summer, the heat.
It is really easy to get to (with a car) and it shouldn't take longer than 30 minutes in travel time. Even if you don't plan to tackle any of the hikes in the park, the 13 mile senic drive that circles the area will give you an idea of Canyon's geological mysteries... such as the secret waters called tinajas and the "Keystone Thrust Fault."
From Las Vegas the Conservation Area can be approached from Charleston Boulevard [north of Sahara Avenue], which will turn into State Route 159
Just a 30-minute drive from Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon offers great rock scrambling, hiking, and rock climbing opportunities to nature enthusists. Even those that don't want to get out into nature will appreciate the 13-mile scenic drive through the canyon.
The rocks of the canyon range from a mustardy yellow color to deep red making for spectacular surroundings. The sunlight plays on the colors turning them different colors throughout the day. The canyon boasts more than 30 miles of hiking trails as well as trails for horseback riding and mountain biking. There are also overnight campgrounds for those that want to spend a night camping.
You can get to Red Rock by taking West Charleston Blvd (State Route 159).
Admission into the conservation area is $5 per day. An annual permit can be purchased for $20.
A short drive out side of the the bright lights and glitter of Las Vegas finds you in scenic Red Rock Canyon. This marvel of nature is 20 miles or so from downtown and the "scenic loop" is only 13 miles but you can spend an eternity exploring the trails of this amazing landscape. the rocks are red due to the change in the land and sea levels over the last 600 or so million years. Gray limestone and oxidized iron minerals form the layers of red in the canyons.
The visitor's center hours of 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM but the canyon road is open from April 1 through September 30 from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
From most anywhere in Las Vegas, head West about 20 miles on Charleston. Just past the new community of Summerlin the entrance to the loop road is on the right.
For the adventursome, climbing permits are availble. Call 702-515-5050 for detailed information. There are strict rules on the information required to get a permit so be prepared. Limited over nighte permits are allowed but only at certain location.
If you are in to hiking, biking, climbing, exploring or admiring the beauty of the desert Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is the place to go to get away during your Vegas vacation. The cost is a low $5 a car and you can spend the whole day on any number of hikes, or climbs that range from moderately difficult to strenuous. There is even a hike that was made with children in mind.
The feel of Red Rock is like you are a million miles away from the Strip.
Just remember to bring a lot of water!