Located in the Mojave Desert around 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock Canyon is one of Nevada's most beautiful natural sights. With red sandstone cliffs and awe-inspiring arid landscapes, the 79, 245-hectare Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and holidaymakers looking for some respite from the bright lights of Vegas.
The stunning scenery of Red Rock Canyon includes narrow canyons, amazing limestone rock outcrops, seasonal waterfalls, desert flora and fauna, and cultural sites. For an overview of the area, Red Rock Overlook affords a view of the colourful milky-white limestone and red sandstone cliffs. For a closer look, take the one-way, 21km Scenic Drive loop, which goes through the canyon for panoramic views of the geological sights that date back over 600 million years.
To get among it, Red Rock Canyon has over 2,000 rock climbing routes, and 19 hiking trails ranging from easy to strenuous and up to 9.6km in length. Some of the flora and fauna you can spy on your trek include the iconic Joshua tree, cacti, over 200 species of birds such as the roadrunner, scorpions and tarantulas, coyotes and bobcats, and wild horses and burros. Among the Native American sites are agave roasting pits and rock art, which can be seen at the Willow Springs Picnic Area. More extreme activities that can be enjoyed in the park include mountain biking and canyoneering.
A daily pass to Red Rock Canyon is US$7 for a private vehicle or US$3 for a pedestrian and free entry for children under 16. There are extra fees for camping if you wish to extend your stay. Red Rock National Conservation Area is located around 27km from the Las Vegas Strip. To visit, drive on the I-15 and take exit 36 for Russell Road/215 west. Follow this road and then take exit 26 for Charleston Boulevard and turn left onto State Route 159. Follow along West Charleston Boulevard to the park entrance and visitor centre.