Right after we got married, my husband and I decided to travel. After living in Los Angeles for more than a decade, moving to Las Vegas was a breath of fresh air. Now, I know some of you might say, what’s there to do in Vegas besides going to the casinos? It is indeed a small city but the fact that the cost of living is cheap, it allowed us to travel and go to different states. But we don’t really need to go far if we want our nature fix. Right in our backyard, a few miles off the strip, is Red Rock Canyon. A lot of people, including my friends, tend to overlook this desert beauty. I think of myself as an advocate for all things nature, so I feel like it’s my duty to keep you guys from making the same mistake.
Located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas strip on Charleston Boulevard, this national conservation area offers several activities that locals and visitors can enjoy: Rock climbing, Horseback riding, Mountain and Road biking and 30 miles of Hiking trails. I have yet to try the other activities but hiking here has got to be one of my favorites.
For first time visitors, your first stop is the Visitor Center. Grab a map and go or you can stay and enjoy the exhibit rooms and book store. My suggested hike for newbies is the first trail off the 13-mile scenic drive: Calico Hills.
This is a moderate hike and can be done in 2-3 hours depending on your ability. Distance is variable with a distance of 2-6 miles. You can approach it via the parking lot, which is the easiest access or through several trails that surround the hills. The last time I did this hike, my friend and I didn’t really go all the way to the end of the trail. If you want a nice view without hiking too much, you can do a quick 1-2 mile hike.
The second trail that I recommend is called Ice Box Canyon, a 2.5 mile loop trail.
This was the first trail that I did with my husband and a friend of ours. We were fairly new hikers so we had to stop several times to catch our breath but this can be done in 2.5 hours or so. This is also a moderate hike but some parts can be difficult and you may have to traverse through some boulders and fallen logs. This trail is good for a hot day and I say that because once you get to the canyon, you can barely see the sun thanks to the high walls that gives you a constant shade. There is a waterfall that can be seen at the end but depending on the season, you may or may not get rewarded with a waterfall. Nevertheless, this trail is fun and challenging.
If hiking isn’t really your thing, you can still enjoy and take in the scenery by driving through the 13-mile scenic drive. You can stop at several scenic overlooks to take your photos. Next time you’re in Vegas, take a few hours off and go on a quick, peaceful getaway to Red Rock Canyon.
Have you been to Red Rock Canyon?
What’s your favorite trail?
Let me know in the comments section below.
– Always wear comfortable shoes. Hiking shoes are the obvious choice but running shoes will do.
– Stay hydrated! Summer in Las Vegas is no joke! Bring a small backpack that can hold 2-3 bottles of water or better yet you can purchase a hydration pack. I purchased mine at a nearby REI.
– Protect yourself from the glaring sun at all times. Don’t forget to put sunblock 30 minutes before you head out and reapply every 2 hours.
-Attire: I usually wear a dry fit top and leggings. A hat and sunglasses are must haves too! Just in case, bring a windbreaker jacket.
– Snacks! I know this can be overlooked sometimes but it’s good to have some sort of sustenance. I usually pack protein bars and beef jerky (Please make sure not to leave any trash).
*The best time to hike is around the cooler months but if you find yourself in Vegas during the summer, make sure you do the hikes as early as possible to beat the heat!
Red Rock Canyon:
3205 NV-159, Las Vegas, NV 89161
Private Vehicle- $7.00
Motorcyle, Bicycle and Pedestrian- $3.00
Camping Fee: $15.00/individual site per night, $40.00 group site per night
For additional info regarding hours, passes, fee free dates and park rules & regulations
please visit their website at: