Red Rock Canyon Near Las Vegas, Nevada
A popular day trip destination from Las Vegas is the famous Red Rock Canyon in the Spring Mountains of Nevada. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is about 15 miles (24 km) west of Las Vegas and is easily visible from the Las Vegas Strip. For many Americans, the Red Rocks are a popular recreation area. They come here to go hiking or rock climbing.
Set on 195,819 hectares in the Mojave Desert, you’ll find large red rock formations, sandstone peaks and high cliff faces. Individual rock walls are even up to 910 meters high. It is not for nothing that it is said that the world’s most geologically interesting and beautiful formations are found in this area.
The highest point in Red Rock Canyon Park is Mount La Madre, at 8,154 feet (2,485 m) elevation.
On average, two million visitors come here every year to take advantage of the spectacular desert landscape, climbing and hiking opportunities. Visit the Red Rocks and be amazed by their natural beauty and the vivid colors of the rocks.
Flora & Fauna
According to act-test-centers, the resort area is in the eastern parts of the Mojave Desert. There are thousands of different species of plants and animals in Red Rock Canyon. More than 600 different plant species such as yucca plants, agaves and bushes grow here. In between live rabbits, squirrels, sheep, desert tortoises, rattlesnakes and many more.
Scenic Loop Drive
A 21 km long panoramic toll road (Scenic Loop Drive) leads through the approximately 330 km² large Red Rock Canyon, which is only passable as a one-way street and has several picnic areas and viewpoints. Several side roads and parking lots allow access to many hiking trails. The Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center is located at the beginning of the Loop Road. This loop road is also often used for bicycle tours.
Activities in Red Rock Canyon
Visitors come here to engage in a variety of activities such as hiking, biking and rock climbing. There is also the option of horseback riding or camping in the Red Rocks. But you should know that it gets very hot here in summer, so it is important to drink as much as possible and to take sunscreen with you. We have put together some activities for you here:
opportunities at Red Rock come in various difficulties and lengths. Many visitors come here to practice climbing on the easier routes. But you can also find professionals who manage the difficult distances here. Popular spots to climb include Brass Wall, Necromancer Wall, Eagle Wall, Aeolian Wall, Mescalito, and Solar Slab.
Biking Cycling in the Red Rock is a good way to get as close as possible to nature in the park. The road through the park is also easy to drive. Make sure you have enough to drink and plenty of sunscreen, especially in summer.
Tracking the Dinosaurs
Tracks of small therapod dinosaurs have been found in the sandstone at Red Rock Canyon at three different locations. The highlight for children is to look for and explore them in the park.
Hiking in Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is a maze of gorges and peaks, many hiking trails and picnic areas are located here. We have put together some popular hiking trails for you here:
Moenkopi Loop – 2 miles; 1.5 hours; easy
Fossils and various desert flora can be seen on this trail. There is also a panoramic view of the Wilson Cliffs. The Moenkopi Loop starts at the visitor center.
Calico Hills – 2-6 miles; 1.5 – 3.5 hours; moderate
This trail runs along the base of Calico Rock, from the Calico Basin to the sandstone quarry.
Calico Tanks – 2.5 miles; 2 hours; moderate
Across large sandstone, this trail leads to a great view of Las Vegas. This hike introduces the ancient elements, history and beauty of this area that made Red Rock famous.
Turtlehead Peak – 5 miles; 3.5-4.5 hours; difficult
This hike offers expansive views from Red Rock Canyon Peak, an accessible peak.
Keystone Thrust – 2.6 miles; 1.5 hours; moderate
hike with many colorful geological formations.
White Rock – Willow Springs – 7.5 miles; 2.5 hours; easy to moderate
Starts at the upper parking lot at White Rock Spring. It leads past a waterhole to Willow Springs.
White Rock – La Madre Spring Loop – 6 miles; 3.5 hours; moderate
A trail that leads past the rugged sandstone of Red Rock Canyon to La Madre Spring.
Lost Creek – Children’s Discovery – 0.75 miles; 1 hour; easy
This self-guided trail takes kids of all ages to see the many different features of the Mojave Desert at Red Rock Canyon. You can see petroglyphs here and you can find a hidden waterfall.
Willow Springs Loop – 1.5 miles; 1.25 hours; easy
A nice trail at the Willow Springs parking lot.
La Madre Springs – 3.3 miles; 2 hours; moderate
This beautiful hike follows an old road up to a gorge with red and white sandstone cliffs on one side and gray limestone mountains on the other.
SMYC – 2.6 km; 2 hrs. Moderate
The Spring Mountain Youth Camp Trail is a pleasant trail with relatively little elevation gain and lots of nice viewpoints.
Ice Box Canyon – 2.6 miles; 2.5 hours; moderate
Ice Box Canyon is a good hot day hike as it passes through plenty of shady areas with seasonal waterfalls.
Dale’s – 7.5km; 2.5 hours; moderate
A trail that leads through the open desert along the Wilson Cliffs. It runs between Icebox Canyon and Pine Creek Canyon.
Pine Creek Canyon – 3 miles; 2 hrs easy
A beautiful tour of Pine Creek Canyon with its amazing flora and fauna.
Fire Ecology – 0.75 miles; 1 hour; easy
A loop trail that runs through the Pine Creek Wash area.
Oak Creek Canyon – 2 miles; 1.5 hours; easy
Oak Creek Canyon is a hiking trail with several beautiful canyons.
Arnight – 2.4 miles; 1.5 hours; moderate
A trail through open desert along the base of the Wilson Cliffs. The trail runs between Oak Creek Canyon and Pine Canyon.
Knoll – 5.5 km; 2.5 hours; moderate
A nice trail, passing small boulders and bushes. Many animals such as birds and squirrels can be spotted along this trail.
First Creek Canyon Trail – 3 mile; 2 hours; easy to moderate
A pleasant trail through a desert valley to a small waterfall with poplars, willows and other plants.
Red Rock Campground
There is a campground in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The campground is one mile south on Moenkopi Road. Its address is 3293 Moenkopi Road, Las Vegas, NV.
Visitor Center at Red Rock Canyon
A visitor center at the beginning of the scenic route provides detailed information about the geological formation and historical development of this canyon. It provides information about the best hiking routes and specializes in the four themes of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. It also provides information about the desert tortoises and presents some specimens.
Mojave Max is a desert tortoise who lives near Red Rock Canyon. He resides at the visitor center with eight women and a large male turtle named Hugo. Desert tortoises are Nevada’s state reptile.
Weather & Climate
Depending on the season, the weather at Red Rock Canyon can be very different. In spring you will find cool temperatures with clear skies. Summer, on the other hand, gets very hot here, autumn is full of leaves, and in winter, the mountains of Red Rock Canyon are covered with snow.
History of Red Rock Canyon
The first people in this area were hunter-gatherers in search of water and food. Over time, up to six different Native American cultures settled here. Numerous petroglyphs and historical finds from this period have been discovered.
In the early 1900s, the first Americans came near Las Vegas. A small sandstone quarry operated in Red Rock Canyon. But the quarry proved to be uneconomical and was shut down a short time later.
In 1967, 4,000 hectares of the area were designated Red Rock Recreation Lands. In 1990 the entire area was declared a nature reserve.
The name of the park came from the Paleozoic Kaibab limestone, which gave the park its name with its red, white and yellow colors.
The area is now managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Landscape Conservation System and is under National Conservation Area protection.
In addition to Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire are popular Las Vegas attractions. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is also located at the southern end of the nature reserve.
Fees & Passes
Admission to Red Rock Canyon Park is $7 per vehicle, $3 per motorcycle, and $3 per day for pedestrians or cyclists.
There is also the option of purchasing an annual pass for $30 per person or getting into the area with the America the Beautiful Annual Pass.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is just 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.
Address of the Red Rock attraction
Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center
3205 State Highway 159
Las Vegas, NV 89161