The variety of sheer raw beauty within Red Rock Canyon, along with its sweeping vistas and open spaces, are a rejuvenating and natural tonic for any city dweller.
It was designated Nevada’s first National Conservation Area and is comprised of 195,819 acres that offers a large array of places and things to do.
It offers something for everyone, and I mean everyone.
If you want to see and take photographs of incredible geology there’s lots of that ... especially within the Scenic Loop.
If unusual plants and flowers interest you, you'll find them here. With a little luck you may come across a Roadrunner (meep-meep!), Wild Burro’s, Big Horn sheep, Mule Deer or Wild Horses. With all of the above, as in a casino, timing is everything.
I've known many a people who've come to Vegas regularly over the years, and to whom I've recommended this place, yet they never took my advice.
In time, they finally got dragged out there by some visiting friend or family member and the response was always the same ...“You mean that place has been here all this time!”.
They became one of the over 1 million people per year who now visit Red Rock Canyon … and for good reason.
Since this site is for our visitors out here looking for a day trip away from the usual Vegas thing, the focus is on a 3 to 7 hour time frame and believe me, time will go by too quickly while enjoying this beautiful place.
I’ll be focusing on the 3 major areas of interest out here that offer different aspects of what you may be wanting to do. The 3 are Bonnie Springs Ranch, Spring Mountain Ranch and the Scenic Loop-Visitors Center.
At Bonnie Springs Ranch is where you'll find Old Nevada, an old Western town with a saloon, melodrama's, shootings and hangin’s.
Also within Old Nevada you can visit a little zoo of native desert dwellers with some of their creatures roaming around for you to pet and take pictures with.
If you have children ridin' herd with you, this is a great place to bring 'em and when it's chow time, you can mosey right next door to the little restaurant and bar where there's plenty of room for your whole posse.
If you're here with elders, a lover or just want a quieter, more serene place to visit or picnic in, then Spring Mountain Ranch is the perfect spot.
This Ranch was once owned by Howard Hughes and Vera Krupp, who was robbed of her world famous Krupp Diamond while living here.
It has many amenities and programs going on throughout the year so if your timings right, you may get to participate in one of their unique ones.
If you're up for an outdoor play or concert, these events are also hosted out here at the Ranch. And naturally, this is one of the most beautiful places for a wedding ceremony.
One thing that's great about this place is you don’t have to plan anything specific to enjoy coming out.
The Scenic Loop-Visitors Center is the perfect choice if you're not sure where you want to go. There are many places to stop and explore on the loop, with the Visitors Center being the first.
No matter what time frame you choose for it, whether it’s a 4 hour jaunt or an all day thing, you’ll love this place.
The more time you can give it the better, but it isn't absolutely necessary. You'll get a lot out of 3 to 4 hours if that's all the time you have.
Through out Red Rock Canyon there's mountain biking, rock climbing, road cycling, Half-Marathons and 5k's, camping and of course hiking, with more than 30 miles of different hiking trails.
Some of these are annual events with locals and visitors from around the country getting together for charity or to compete.
In so many ways this well managed Conservation Area keeps its focus on every kind of visitor, which truly makes it one of our Las Vegas treasures.
What's great about Red Rock Canyon is how easy it is to recognize where you need to go. If you're on the Strip, simply look west and those mountains you see are part of Red Rock Canyon and the western range that borders the Las Vegas Valley.
From the Strip you take Tropicana, Flamingo or Sahara, head west half an hour and eventually each one runs into the west leg of the 215 Beltway. Head north about 5 minutes, exit Charleston Blvd West, turn left and 2 miles later you're in.
Although these surface streets take you through regular parts of the city and some traffic and lights, they're the simplest most direct route to take.
If you're further south on the Strip, take I-15 south where it links up to the southern part of the 215 Beltway, get on it heading west and eventually it turns north. Travel on until you see the exits for Charleston Blvd, take the West exit, turn left and it will take you into the Conservation Area.
If coming from Downtown, catch the 95 North/Reno (which heads west before turning north towards Reno) connect with Summerlin Parkway West to the 215, at the 215 turn left heading south then turn right at Charleston Blvd.
Charleston Blvd. turns into State Route 159 (a.k.a Red Rock Canyon Rd/Blue Diamond Rd) once you drive into the Conservation Area and runs west, then loops south, ending at Blue Diamond Road / Pahrump Hwy.
Two things you need to do before heading out here ... first Check the weather and conditions. This link takes you to the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Society website which has a lot of useful information besides the weather and conditions.
Second, check out my recommendations any time you visit our desert areas.
It can become dangerous if you don’t use some desert sense and prep yourself with some basic knowledge of what to expect out here.
Most injuries and fatalities are due to hiking and climbing carelessly, but there are a few more things to be aware of when out in the desert.
Take a few moments to check out these recommendations. They'll help to keep you safe and enjoying your time here at Red Rock, as well as our other desert areas.
For more info on Red Rock, visit their BLM-Nevada website.