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Five Reasons Red Rock Canyon Will Be the Best Part of Your Las Vegas Vacation

Updated on August 5, 2016
Becca Linn profile image

I love to get out and experience all the beauty and adventure that this wonderful world has to offer.

Red Rock Canyon is a beautiful place to enjoy nature and get some fresh air.
Red Rock Canyon is a beautiful place to enjoy nature and get some fresh air. | Source

Five Reasons to Visit Red Rock Canyon in Brief

On a recent trip to visit a relative in Las Vegas my husband and I had the pleasure of visiting one of the area's little-known treasures, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

In all honesty, this quick excursion out of town was the best part of the time I spent there in the valley. I wish I could have stayed in the canyon much longer than I did.

It occurred to me that it is a shame that so few people know about this amazing place that could literally be the highlight of so many Las Vegas vacations.

After all, Las Vegas was rated by U.S. News as the #17 vacation destination in the country. In 2014 more than 41 million people vacationed in Las Vegas.

People from all around the world visit this busy city every year, and most of them miss out on this amazing and beautiful geological site.

In this article I will be discussing five reasons that you should definitely make sure that Red Rock Canyon is included in your next Las Vegas vacation itinerary.

  1. Red Rock Canyon Provides an opportunity for great, clean family friendly fun.
  2. Red Rock Canyon Offers beautiful and unique scenery.
  3. Red Rock Canyon admission is extremely inexpensive compared to most Las Vegas attractions.
  4. Visiting Red Rock Canyon is a great opportunity to get some exercise while on vacation
  5. Red Rock Canyon will literally give you a breath of fresh air in contrast to many of the popular venues in downtown Las Vegas.

Get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of unique and vibrant rock formations at the same time.
Get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of unique and vibrant rock formations at the same time. | Source

Reason #1: Opportunity for Great, Clean Family Friendly Fun

There is an obvious reason that Las Vegas has been given the fitting nick name of Sin City. People from all around the world are attracted to this tempting city where they can be free to lose all of their inhibitions and escape from their usual responsibilities and even their usual morals.

Instead of worrying about how they are going to make ends meet, they set those worries aside and throw there money into slot machines and other exciting gambling games in hopes that they will win big a few times before they head back home.

The sidewalks and street corners are filled with temptresses snapping their fingers and handing out cards that promise some late night excitement.

People feel free to drink away their worries so that they can cut loose and relax, and many of these same people have few memories of their vacations when they go home aside from the photos that they took while they were there.

On this past visit, I even had a drunk person stumble on the sidewalk and fall on top of me. That was pretty awkward and uncomfortable for me, although I don't think he minded at all.

For some people this atmosphere makes for a dream vacation, but many people would argue that this probably isn't the best environment for bonding with your children or even your spouse.

In contrast, a visit to Red Rock canyon gives you and your family a chance to escape from the noise, craziness, and downright filth of the city in order to laugh, play, and build memories that will last a lifetime.

This beautiful landscape provides opportunities for adventures that are fun for people of all ages.

You can simply drive around the scenic loop or get out of your car and explore for a while, and you won't ever have to worry about shielding your children's eyes from the scantily dressed ladies on the corner or protecting them from stumbling drunks in the street.

Even if you don't have children, and you are just vacationing with a significant other or a friend, a drive or a hike in this canyon is bound to start conversations that will strengthen your relationship for years to come.

Do you feel comfortable with your children spending a lot of time in downtown Las Vegas?

See results
When you're driving through the scenic Red Rock Canyon Loop, you  might just see something that you've never seen before.
When you're driving through the scenic Red Rock Canyon Loop, you might just see something that you've never seen before. | Source

Reason #2: Beautiful and Unique Scenery.

No matter where I travel, I am always in awe of the beauty that nature has to offer.

When most people think about Las Vegas, nature isn't the first thing to come to mind. They picture the impressive and extravagant architecture and d├ęcor in the hotels and casinos which I agree is quite noteworthy, but they are missing out on something amazing.

Most of them don't realize that they could find themselves out in some of the most beautiful and unique territory Mother Nature has to offer within half an hour of leaving New York New York.

According to Google Maps, you can make it from The Strip to Red Rock Canyon in about 20 minutes if you head out of town when there isn't much traffic.

This beautiful national conservation area is filled with all kinds of unique scenery. The Calico Hills area is filled with fiery red rocks, while some other areas are covered with impressive white rocks. In many areas the rocks are marked with both red and white striations.

Aside from the rocks, the area is covered in beautiful Mojave Desert plants that you won't see just anywhere in the country. I'm from the Northwest, and I certainly have never seen anything like the unique plant below growing in Washington's temperate rain forest.

If you keep your eyes out for critters you are also likely to see a variety of desert animals while out on your adventure.

Some of the animals that you might see in the canyon include:

  • Burros
  • Wild Horses
  • Desert Tortoises
  • Coyotes
  • Bobcats
  • Rabbits
  • Hares
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Antelope Ground Squirrels
  • Pack Rats
  • Bats
  • Shrews
  • deer
  • rattle snakes (keep a good eye out for these)
  • scorpions (you want to be careful of these too)
  • venomous spiders (another creature that you don't want to get too close to)

Make sure to keep an eye out for unique and beautiful desert plants like this one as you hike.
Make sure to keep an eye out for unique and beautiful desert plants like this one as you hike. | Source

Reason #3: Admission Is Extremely Inexpensive Compared to Most Las Vegas Attractions

Las Vegas is famous for great hotels, great casinos, great shows, and of course great food, but all of this greatness comes at a hefty price that begins to add up after a while, especially if you aren't traveling on your own.

The daily entrance fee for the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area is a mere $7 per private vehicle, and only $3 for motorcycles, bikers, and pedestrians.

In fact, you can get an annual pass for only $30. You have to admit that this is an amazing deal for an activity that could keep you entertained all day, especially when you consider how much it would probably cost you to stay entertained all day downtown.

Take in all of this amazing scenery and adventure for a much more affordable price than a Las Vegas shopping spree.
Take in all of this amazing scenery and adventure for a much more affordable price than a Las Vegas shopping spree. | Source

Reason #4: Great Opportunity to Exercise While on Vacation

If you are like a lot of people, vacations often turn into a time to eat a lot more food than usual while remaining a lot less active than usual. This is particularly true if you spend most of your Las Vegas vacation sitting in front of slot machines.

Red Rock Canyon provides you with all kinds of opportunities to exercise, and you'll be having so much fun that you might not even realize that you are working at all.

The canyon is filled with hiking trails of various difficulties so that there is something for just about everyone.

If you are really adventurous and have the proper equipment, the canyon has some great places for rock climbing as well.

If you enjoy biking, this canyon provides opportunities for both road biking and mountain biking in a beautiful location that you will never forget.

Rock Climbers in the Ice Box Area of Red Rock Canyon
Rock Climbers in the Ice Box Area of Red Rock Canyon | Source

Difficulty Levels of Some Popular Trails in Red Rock Canyon

Trail Name
Difficulty Level
Moenkopi Loop
2 miles
Calico Hills
Calico Tanks
2.5 miles
Turtlehead Peak
Very Strenuous
5 miles
Keystone Thrust
2.2 miles
White Rock to Willow Springs
4.4 miles
Lost Creek Children's Discovery Trail
.7 miles
Ice Box Canyon
Moderately Strenuous
3 miles
Grand Circle Adventure
11 miles

For more information on these hikes go to:

Escape from the casinos to take a breath of fresh air in the beautiful Mojave Desert.
Escape from the casinos to take a breath of fresh air in the beautiful Mojave Desert. | Source

Reason #5: Offers a Breath of Fresh Air in Nature in Contrast to Many of the Popular Venues Downtown

There is something so refreshing about spending some time out in the fresh air of nature. This is particularly easy to appreciate if you have been spending a lot of time in the polluted air of a big city.

After spending time in the smoke filled casinos of Las Vegas and breathing in the thickly perfumed air of some of the hotels and casinos like Aria, you will be even more grateful for the fresh air of the Mojave Desert.

I promise your lungs will thank you for even a brief escape from the polluted air of the venues downtown.

A Few Precautions

Don't forget that Red Rock Canyon is in Mojave Desert Territory. This means that you should take a few precautions before doing any exploring.

  • Make sure to bring plenty of water. You should drink at least a gallon a day if you are going to be out hiking.
  • Wear sturdy shoes that will protect your feet from cactus that you may come across.
  • Wear clothing that will protect you from the sun.
  • Keep your eye out for snakes, scorpions, and venomous spiders that may be hiding in rocks or under shrubs.
  • Because of flash flooding dangers, you should avoid canyons during rainstorms and be prepared to head for higher ground if a storm occurs.
  • The desert can get dangerously hot during the summer months, so plan accordingly.
  • If you plan on rock climbing, make sure to bring the proper safety equipment with you.
  • Bring a friend rather than adventuring alone, and always make sure that someone knows where you are at and when you plan on returning.


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