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 Rock Canyon.

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 many Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo 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 landscape.

There are many areas of possible interest to the visitor.

Calico 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 from there.

Lost 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.

Spring 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 follow Charleston Boulevard, which crosses The Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) a few blocks beyond Stratosphere 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 159.

Sightseeing, Tours, Attractions and Things to do in Las Vegas - Las Vegas, Nevada - Red Rock Canyon


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Las Vegas, Nevada - Las Vegas, Nevada - Red Rock Canyon


Las Vegas - Red Rock Canyon
Page Updated 7:05 AM Tuesday 3/5/2013