Red Rock Canyon is often the first natural wonder that new residents of Las Vegas check out. Its combination of proximity and wondrous natural beauty make it a no-brainer for busy Las Vegans. Great for hiking, bicycling, camping or just exploring, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area features a great visitor's center with tons of helpful information on the park.
This large (195,819 acres) National Conservation Area features massive red rock formation and sandstone peaks and walls referred to as the Keystone Thrust reaching heights of up to 3,000 ft. Days after arriving in Las Vegas I joined a group of my friends for a Red Rocks day trip and for the first time I truly understood just how wondrous the beauty of the desert could be.
Getting To Red Rocks
Easy as pie, as they say. Just a 15 mile jaunt west of Las Vegas. Just head west on Charleston Boulevard until you see Red Rock Canyon Road on your right. The Red Rock Conservation Area does charge by the car, so carpooling with your buddies not only makes sound environmental sense, but excellent financial sense as well. Planning on making frequent trips? Look into getting an annual pass.
Why Go To Red Rock Canyon?
Simply put it rocks. On my first trip I found myself wandering off alone and climbing up the massive rocks and boulders to get a sky high view of the surrounding area. From high atop my perch I could see all the way back to the Strip and was even able to spot the Flamingo, home to my employer. It was surreal and comforting at the same time. Right there was the crazy excitement of my new Las Vegas life, but here, just 15 miles away, I felt atop the world and free and relaxed.
Whether you're an avid biker, hiker camper or just a more casual visitor like I am, there are always new things to at Red Rocks. The folks at Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association, despite the odd name, can be amazingly helpful. They organize hikes, educational events, canyon cleanup days and numerous other activities designed to help you enjoy Red Rock in a responsible manner. Check out their calendar of events here.
Hikes and Trails
There are 19 designated trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels from the short Moenkopi Loop coming in at 2 miles to the 3.5 mile Knoll trail. See the entire list and accompanying map here.
Climbing is a blast at Red Rocks. From casual hiking that leads to climbing up a bluff to the more serious climbing requiring full gear and protections, Red Rock has tons of places to get your climb on. Check the rules and regulations and make sure to abide by all safety protocols.
Bikes are a great way to see Red Rocks. The 14.7 mile one way loop is constantly flocking with these two wheelers. Take care as the roadway is shared with cars as well and water and air facilities are not available for the entire route, so prepare with water and an air pump. This is a lengthy bike trail, so make sure you are an experienced rider and keep an eye on temperature. This is the desert after all.
Red Rocks has one camping area located at mile 13 on the loop. The campground is open from September 2, 2011 until May 31, 2012 and is available for groups up to 40. Prices range from $15-$40 a night depending upon the size of your group. Leashed pets are allowed, but unlike the rest of Las Vegas the campsite is a dry location and alcohol is not permitted. Call or email for more info and to make reservations. (702) 515-5371 or Email.
Exotic Tour Options
Want to see the wonders of Red Rock Canyon from a different perspective? Check out these two unique tours.
- Red Rock Canyon Super Car Tour: Ever wanted to drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini across the red stained rocks of the desert? Then the Super Car Tour of Red Rock Canyon is for you. Experience what its like to drive a supercar and get a free HD video for memories. Make Your Reservations Here.
- Red Rock Canyon Pink Jeep Tour: A more sedate way to tour Red Rocks. The famous Pink Jeep company takes you on a four hour journey into the wonder of Red Rocks. This guided tour is perfect for those who want to see the wonders of nature, but may not be up for the hiking, biking and climbing. Make sure to bring your camera as their will be inumerable things to see and snap. Make Your Reservations Here.
Fees and Passes
Daily Car Fee - $7
Daily Motorcycle Fee - $3
Daily Bicycle Fee - $3
Daily Pedestrian Fee - $3
Scenic Drive Annual Support Pass - $30.
Hours of Operation
Scenic Drive - The scenic loop is open every day of the year with times changing slightly according to the season: Nov - Feb - 6 AM to 5 PM March - 6 AM to 7 PM Apr - Sep - 6 AM to 8 PM Oct - 6 AM to 7 PM Please call 702.515.5350 for exact times. Visitor Center - The Visitor Center is open every day from 8:00 AM- 4:30 pm.
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