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Red Rock Canyon

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.

Setting sun animates the features of the mountains at Red RockSunrise to Sunset ~ Just Incredible

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.

Trail leading to foothill at Calico ll out at Red Rock CanyonLittle trails makes foothills exploring easy

I've known numerous people who've come to Vegas regularly over the years and to whom I've recommended this place, yet they never took my advice. 

Did you see any wildlife, do a tour or any exploring at Red Rock Canyon?

Share your day here - it's easy

In time, they finally got dragged out here 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.

Now ... since my site is geared for things to do besides the Strip within a 3 to 7 hour time span, you'll need to check out the options for Red Rock Canyon because it's a big place. There's a few things to choose from and you can't do them all in that time span.

Joshua Tree outlines pic of banded mountains at Red RockAlways get my Maxfield Parrish fix out here

If you decide on any one spot, you'll definitely enjoy it within 3-4 hours but if you can give it more time, do so ... because time goes by so quickly while enjoying this beautiful place. 

If you want to hit 2 spots out here, I recommend giving it 7 hours with a pit stop for lunch at the restaurant in Bonnie Springs Ranch.

I’ll be focusing on the 3 major places out here that offer different aspects of what you may be wanting to do. You'll find the details on them just below this section. 

The thing that's great about Red Rock Canyon is you don't have to plan on going to any of the 3 places I feature. You can just drive out and have a really cool day just soaking up the views, scenery and get some great pic's out here. 

There's no fee to access Red Rock Canyon. It's a big place where you can find little spots to go exploring in. That makes for really great day trip that doesn't cost you anything. Perfect for when you've over-donated in the casino.

But I'm sure once you see these places on my site, you'll want to experience the unique things they offer, especially since they're all is so affordable.

PLEASE do not feed Wild Burro's when you encounter them. Too often they equate cars and people with food, which set's them up to get killed or seriously injured because of that. 


Bonnie Springs Ranch and Old Nevada

At Bonnie Springs Ranch is where you'll find Old Nevada, an old Western town with a saloon, melodrama's, shootings and hangin’s. 

Old Nevada Showtimes signIt's Showtime at Old Nevada!

Also within Old Nevada you can visit a little zoo, (included with the entrance fee for Old Nevada) of native desert dwellers with some of their creatures roaming around for you to pet and take pictures with.

Old Nevada Photograph Shop and Church buildingsStep into the Ole'West at Old Nevada

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.


Spring Mountain Ranch

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. 

Picnic table by entrance at Spring Mountain RanchYour table awaits at Spring Mountain Ranch

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 timing is good, you may get to participate in one of their unique ones.

View of Main House as you walk up at Spring Mountain RanchWalk up view of Main House at Spring Mountain Ranch

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.


Scenic Loop and Visitors Center

One thing that's great about the Scenic Loop-Visitors Center is that it's the convenient go-to spot if you don’t have any plans or if you don't know what you want to do when it comes to visiting Red Rock Canyon.

For all you newly arrived locals, this is also a great way to begin discovering all that this beautiful place has to offer.

Entrance of Visitors Center at Red RockVisitors Center is the best place to begin

As you'll see, there's many places to stop and explore on the loop, with the Visitors Center being the first one. 

Display Columns outdoors at the Visitors Center at Red RockDisplay Columns outdoors at the Visitors Center

Whether it’s a 3 hour jaunt or longer, you’ll love the amazing variety of scenery and things to check out here.

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. 

Throughout 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.

Walkway Displays at the Visitors Center in Red RockVariety of Display types at the Visitors Center

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 very well managed Conservation Area keeps its focus on every kind of visitor, which truly makes it one of our Las Vegas treasures.

Blue Spiral outdoor display at Red Rock Visitors CenterThis display Airs it out
Yellow Spiral outdoor display at Red Rock Visitors CenterThis one Fires it up

Getting To Red Rock Canyon

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 25 minutes or so and eventually each one runs into the west leg of the 215 Beltway. Head north a few 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 with some traffic and lights, they're the simplest most direct routes to take. 

If you're further south on the Strip, take I-15 south till it links up to 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 that takes you right 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. When you get to 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.


Before Heading Out...

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 in our desert areas.

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, you can visit the BLM-Nevada website.

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