Red Rock Canyon, Close Enough to Vegas but Far Enough Away from Reality

Red Rock Canyon, Close Enough to Vegas but Far Enough Away from Reality
by Bea Green

An easy twenty minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock Canyon is a great way to unwind and spend the afternoon away from the casinos and crowds. We spent the first two days in Vegas marveling over the beauty of the mountains around the city. By the third day we hopped in a taxi and headed over to the McCarran International Airport Rent-A-Car Center. A few minutes later we were equipped with the standard adventuring, memory making, Ford Mustang. We might be obsessed with Mustangs.

Red Rock Canyon Drive
The view from a Mustang convertible is always the best view.

From there we ventured off to the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center, via Co Rd 215/Clark County 215 West.

Twenty three minutes later we were sitting at the fee station, located at the base of the scenic drive loop. We paid the $7.00 fee for our passenger car, WELL WORTH IT I have to add, took our complimentary park map, and headed in to a desert playground of colorful rocks, hiking trails, and prehistoric looking wildlife. The scenic loop is open all year round but their hours of operation may vary.


Although expectantly winding roads, the scenic drive loop is easy to follow with plenty of views and pull-offs to take pictures and explore. It’s hard to believe you’re so close to sin city with the tumble weeds rolling by in the wide open spaces of the undisturbed Mojave Desert.

Vegas Hiking

This is where I tell you not to forget your camera and proper footwear. Flip-flops are inappropriate for climbing in the canyon.

Las Vegas
Turtle Head Peak

With views like Turtlehead Peak, it’s easy to justify hauling along a pair of hiking boots.

Las Vegas Trip

Speaking of climbing, there are plenty of trails, nineteen to be exact, to take advantage of for all levels of experience.

Las Vegas Hiking Trails

Our favorite was the Willow Springs Loop Trail. This really easy 1.5 mile trail has plenty to see, including Agave roasting pits and a rock wall of ancient hand prints!

Red Rock Canyon Hiking
Ancient hand prints

We finished the scenic loop by taking a stop at Oak Creek Canyon. This is one of my favorite pictures from our trip. What an amazing world we live in!

Las Vegas Hiking
Oak Creek Canyon

Don’t forget to stop by the Elements Gift Store or visit with the parks “spokestortoise”, Mojave Max, located in the National Conservation Area.

Red Rock Canyon offers endless opportunities for photography and we think it’s one of the best kept secrets in the Las Vegas area!

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