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Hiking Red Rock Canyon

Updated on August 30, 2013

Red Rock

The Drive at Red Rock
The Drive at Red Rock | Source

Heaven on Earth

The bluest of skies, clouds so puffy you feel like you could fall asleep on them, and the loudest thing is the sound of your breath.

It sounds heavenly to me. It's a place where I'd expect to find the deepest of soul searching and recharge the batteries like every human so often needs. It is a place to become reflective, to enable the mind to think freely and soak up the benefits that are only found in nature.

It is these moments where I believe innovative ideas are born. Insight to what might otherwise have been a blur. It all becomes crystal clear.


Acrophobia-That Annoying Fear!

While all of this sounds like the perfect scenario, there is one problem.

I'm terrified of heights. I even wrote a thriller based on this fear, not surprisingly, called Phobia.

I'm certain there are people like me in every crowd who won't deny the absolute beauty of the scenery, and who would love to drink in the profound spirituality that it has to offer, but who can't bring themselves to get past a certain point once they begin walking up toward the pinnacle. Personally, my legs simply stop as soon as the fear threshold has been reached.

Here in Las Vegas, almost any major hike involves a mountain climb in some capacity. How intrepid you want to be is your choice.

As such, I had to give in and man up,or at least woman up,just a little. The view is too gorgeous not to experience.

More Red Rock!


So Many Mountains, So Little Time

There are so many mountains to choose from, and it's difficult to pick a favorite, but one mountain that I enjoy hiking is Red Rock Canyon. I've never made it to the summit however, each time I go, I force myself to scramble a little higher. I wish I could say that I've developed a fierce sense of courage and climb rocks like you've seen some people do, however, my scramble equates to a safe walk while hugging the sides, even if the cliff is fifteen feet away! Yes, I am that afraid.

I don't think I can ever achieve peace by putting myself in any danger, but I look at those people who use sheer body strength and ropes to get to the apex and admire their bravery. The world of us who share this fear can only see what they see through photographs and for me, that will have to be enough.

You won't hear any complaints from me, however, as the view from where I can stand at Red Rock is still amazingly breathtaking. It truly captures the full meaning of serenity and confirms that it is such a beautiful world that we live in. On the days when I am fortunate to visit and it is not crowded, it feels like I have the entire canyon to myself.


Brandi at Red Rock enjoying a hike.
Brandi at Red Rock enjoying a hike. | Source
Duke and Me
Duke and Me | Source
Bran and me
Bran and me | Source

Fun to Explore

If you haven't had the opportunity to explore this beautiful canyon, it's something that I recommend doing on your next trip to Vegas. If you are local, the cooler weather is on its way and it is the perfect time to see this great wonder.

The first time we drove through Red Rock, I believe my jaw was hanging open and my eyes were opened wide, trying to soak up and focus on everything that was in my view. The splendid degree of the awesome factor was tremendous and it was one of those times in life where you want to keep rubbing your eyes to make sure that it is real. I can guarantee that it certainly is!

From someone who comes from Long Island, the topography here is completely different, so bear in mind that mountains were not something I was used to seeing. Imagine how their sheer magnificence affected me!

As the name might suggest, most of the rocks are a vibrant red, or more accurately the color of clay. There are many trails to choose from, some labeled as easy, moderate or difficult. Once you traverse along these trails, you can determine how far you would like to go and how difficult you would like your walk to become. Some of the rock are limestone, sandstone or a mixture of both.

Sandstone is an easy texture to walk on and while you should still be careful on it (you're walking up a steep mountain, after all), it is rarely slippery. It's one type of rock I feel safe walking on.

There is also a great deal of gravel and loose rock. When you walk on this, definitely use caution as it tends to be easy to slip on or lose your balance.

Make sure that you keep your camera ready as you may catch a glimpse of wildlife such as wild burros, wild horses and big horn sheep.

This canyon is dog friendly, so feel free to bring Fido along and his favorite treats (and water bowl)!


Are you Afraid of Heights!

See results

What to Wear

I don't suggest going to hike Red Rock in the summer months here in Vegas, as the temperature can get quite hot and unbearable. When you do hike in the cooler months, remember this is a desert, so even if the temperature is a sweet 70, you will still be receiving plenty of sunshine on your walk.

I typically wear loose-fitting clothing so that I'm comfortable, mostly shorts and a Tee-Shirt. Others find it necessary to protect their legs and arms so they wear loose pants and a shirt. I would definitely invest in a pair of hiking boots as they do help keep your balance when walking downward on loose gravel. The traction helps for certain. The sun is always beating down here, so sunscreen is a must! Many people wear hats as well.

What to Bring

This is going on the assumption as you are going on a hike that only lasts a few hours.

Necessary Items

Water and lots of it!
Chapstick/Lip Balm

Rock Climbing

Do You Enjoy Rock Climbing?

See results

Pack Light

I normally put those items in a small backpack. Remember, the more you pack, the more difficult your hike is going to be, so try to pack light, but efficient and stay hydrated!

Here in the desert, the effect of the sun can catch up to you before you know it. I can't stress the importance of drinking water on these hikes.

If you do hike here, be careful, go slow and have a great time!

In addition, if hiking is not your thing, there is a thirteen-mile scenic drive that has many stopping points for pictures!

Thanks for reading!

~ Elizabeth Parker

"Bringing awareness about dog adoption and rescue, one dog at a time!"

Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, Paw Prints in the Sand, Paw Prints in the Sand: Mission Accomplished, My Dog Does That!, Bark Out Loud, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil's Door and Faces of Deception. All books are available in Kindle and paperback format on

© 2013 Elizabeth Parker


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    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thans Jennabee25 It's a great place to hike!

    • jennabee25 profile image

      Jenn Dixon 

      7 years ago from PA

      I love seeing how your dog enjoys this awesome place.

    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      TimeTraveler I fell in love with Red Rock the first time I saw it and have loved it ever since. I love the scenery there. Thanks so much for the kind comments!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      7 years ago from USA

      I've been to Red Rock Canyon and find it breathtakingly beautiful. I don't hike, so heights are not an issue for me. I am content to just enjoy the natural beauty of such places. By the way, I loved your photos!

    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thank you DDE!!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      8 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The photos are so lovely dogs are my best and just looking at these photos it makes me think of mine. I too have a fear of heights interesting hiking trip and sounds such a wonderful idea if one is all prepared. A well explained and informative hub on Hiking Red Rock Canyon the photos. Voted up awesome,interesting and useful.

    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Gordon, Phobias are such a strange thing. I wasn't too afraid of heights when I was younger. I'd climb ladders no problem, etc. Now I'm terrified of heights. Same with bugs.

      If you ever do make it to Vegas, October - January are perfect months to hike!

      Thank you for your wonderful comment and description of Scotland's scenery. I've never been!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      8 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thoroughly enjoyable read! I was brought up in urban Scotland but my aunt had a home in rural Scotland and I was used to visiting the mountains from the age of when I could walk. Always loved the rural countryside, the scenery - and particularly, the fishing!

      Curiously, I developed a fear of heights a few years ago for no known reason. It never used to bother me in the slightest but now I'm terrified. I can't do certain climbs now that never used to cause me to bat an eyelid. I always thought that you were born with a phobia and they were conquerable. I never realised phobias could be developed for no apparent reason as one grew older...

      Still, this looks like a lovely part of the world and even though the temperature may affect me, I still hope to visit some day.

    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Tom, It's really nice. I love when I get the chance to go!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      8 years ago from United States

      Beautiful terrain. It looks like a fun hike.

    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Sheila - it might've been. The canyon is about maybe 40 minutes from Henderson and it sounds like what you are describing to me. It sure is pretty there! Thank you for commenting and have a fantastic day!!

    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Bravewarrior-I love haunted Houses. You would probably hate the Goretorium here- a year long haunted house. (Maybe I'll write a hub about it), but the people jump out at you,etc.

      I am the same way with ladders and open-backed stairs! I won't climb the bleachers at a high school or go on even a silly six foot ladder!

      Thanks for commenting!!

      Hope you have a nice weekend!


    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Kathryn- Phobia was a really fun book to write...even though parts of it scared even me! Thank you for commenting. Great to hear from you and have an awesome day!


    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Suzie, Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I definitely hope you get to see it. Glad you got to visit the Grand Canyon as that is so amazing!

      Thanks for voting and sharing (and pinning). I truly appreciate it!

      Have a great weekend!


    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thanks Rose! Me too!!

    • epbooks profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Parker 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Bill- too funny. I went on the Sky Walk at Grand Canyon and thought I was going to pass out. LOL. It was beautiful though! Thanks so much and enjoy your weekend!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful pictures and wonderful advice about day hiking! I'm fairly sure this is one of the parks my ex-sis-in-law took me too when I was out visiting my brother in Henderson. It is beautiful! I love the contrasts in color - the blue sky, the red rocks, and the green plants (when they're green in the desert).

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      Liz, I can relate to how your body reacts to fear. I'm deathly afraid of haunted houses - even the fake ones. When my fear sets in, I cannot move. I have to literally be picked up and taken from the area. Another weird phobia I have is of ladders and open-backed stairs. I can climb and climb and climb a set of stairs, unless there's no back and I can see the ground (way down) below me. It terrifies me and I have to go back to safe (for me) ground.

      As for hiking, as long as there are no stairs, I'm good to go!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      8 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

      Nice! Those are pretty pictures, and I love how you explained your phobia first, and even mentioned your book by that name. Clever!

      I love getting outdoors. I am not afraid of heights, although I go out of my way to be safe. Heights can freak me out a little if I don't feel safe.

      Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a great day!

      ~ Kathryn

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      8 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thoroughly engaging article, you are such a great writer! Loved this journey and sorry I did not take this hike when in Vegas for my 40th birthday. Did the Grand Canyon but next visit (I loved Las Vegas!) for sure!! Great photos too, great intro to those of us unfamiliar with the area!

      Voted up, useful, interesting, shared and pinned!!

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Great article! I have always loved Red Rock Canyon! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • Christine Ballano profile image


      8 years ago from New Port Richey, Florida

      Yes I have...As I child I always wondered off, climbed mountains and found myself lost on the other side. Can't remember how I got home though. I wish I was young enough to do that again

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You really are quite a good writer. The introduction was again very good. I only have one problem with the article.....Liz, those aren't mountains! LOL Come to Cascade Country and we'll show you mountains. :)

      Just kidding. I thoroughly enjoyed the article. Have a great weekend!


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