Las Vegas, Nevada - Red Rock Canyon
Imagine for a moment, Las Vegas, and you have images of neon lights, casinos and maybe a spectacular
show. After, everybody pictures the glitter, glamour and gambling of downtown Las Vegas. But, Vegas has much more to offer than
the expected modern pleasures. Les than 20 miles from The Strip
is a different kind of spectacular view: Red
To be honest, with 1.2 million visitors per year you can hardly
classify Red Rock Canyon as an unknown option. Even so, this
magnificent group of sandstone cliffs and canyons isn't the sort of
thing that immediately comes to mind when you picture a Vegas vacation.
But, maybe it should. After all, they're amazing!
A natural showroom of the wildlife and flora of the area, Red
Rock Canyon Rangers will give you a guided hike at no charge. Be sure
to bring your best hiking boots and see desert tortoises and big horn
sheep against the beautiful background scenery. A hike over to the
3,000 foot high cliffs will provide an astounding view suitable for a
major motion picture.
On you visit, you get a view of petrified sand dunes, cascading
waterfalls that flow into the canyons, and wide stretches of the Mojave Desert,
which one of the world's hottest in summer.
Above the expanse you may be lucky enough to catch sight of one of the
jamaicensis) that circle the
area looking for prey.
Some of the Canyon's peaks, such as Mt. Wilson (7070 ft) nearly reach
8,000 feet above sea level, making them more than a mile in the air
from your feet. There are enormous bands of red and white rock, with
ravines running through much of the area. Joshua Trees dot the
There are many areas of possible interest to the visitor.
Hills is a very popular spot
for climbers. It features a selection of short trails and
several views of the canyon with the city of Las Vegas visible in the
south. Hikers can pick out many of the distinctively shaped casinos
Creek Canyon is the largest
gash through the cliffs. It has a 20-mile dirt track that
winds its way through the multi-colored hills, as it crosses into the
desert town of Pahrump.
Here's a heads-up: This one is best reserved for the truly hardy.
Canyon provides a striking
view of a 30-foot waterfall. Dry for most of its length during the
summer, there is still a section where it flows year round. While the
flow may vary, any time of the year the view is extraordinary.
Many people get themselves into trouble in the Southwest because they
"know" that deserts are hot. Not always so.
Even though Red Rock Canyon is in the desert, be prepared with
appropriate clothing for the time of day and year. Deserts can get very
cool, almost freezing, at night and yet be scorching during the day.
Bring a small backpack to store unused clothing and supplies. Pack
plenty of water too.
Some people willl tell you to carry a drink like Gatorade, but that is
not necessary. The medics in the army used to get mad at us
for bringing sports drinks to the field. Water should do just
fine and, unless you are subjected to extreme conditions of exertion
over a long period, don't worry about replacing electrolytes..
Don't get lost before you get there!
It's easy to do, as Nevada has three similarly named areas,
including Red Rock State Park. to get to the right one, just
Boulevard, which crosses The Strip (Las Vegas
Boulevard) a few blocks
Tower, which is 1,149 feet
high. (If you miss it while you're still in Vegas, you
probably should not go out into the desert.). Anyway, follow
Charleston Blvd, to the left and it becomes Blue Diamond Road/Highway
to See in Las Vegas