Las Vegas, NV 89161
Introduction (source: Wikipedia)
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada is an area managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of its National Landscape Conservation System, and protected as a National Conservation Area. It is located about 15 miles west of Las Vegas, and easily seen from the Las Vegas Strip. The area is visited by over 1 million visitors each year.
The conservation area showcases a set of large red rock formations: a set of sandstone peaks and walls called the Keystone Thrust. The walls are up to 3,000 feet high, making them a popular hiking and rock climbing destination. The highest point is La Madre Mountain, at 8,154 feet.
A one-way loop road, 13 miles long, provides vehicle access to many of the features in the area. Several side roads and parking areas allow access to many of the trails located in the area. A visitor center is located at the start of the loop road. The loop road is very popular for bicycle touring; it begins with a moderate climb, then is mostly downhill or flat.
Towards the southern end of the National Conservation Area are Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, the western ghost town replica attraction of Bonnie Springs, and the village of Blue Diamond.
The first humans were attracted to the Red Rock area due to its resources of water, plant and animal life that could not be easily found in the surrounding desert. This made the area very attractive to hunters and gatherers such as the historical Southern Paiute and the much older Archaic, or Desert Culture Native Americans.
As many as six different Native American cultures may have been present at Red Rock over the millennia. The following chronology is an approximation:
Southern Paiute 900 to modern times
Patayan Culture 900 to early historic times in the 1800s
Anasazi 1 AD to 1150.
Pinto/Gypsum (Archaic) 3500 BC to 1 AD.
San Dieguito 7000 to 5500 BC.
Paleo-Indians (Tule Springs) 11,000 to 8000 BC.
Numerous petroglyphs as well as pottery fragments remain today throughout the area. In addition, several roasting pits used by the early Native Americans provide further evidence of human activity in the past at Red Rock.
A part of American history with breathtaking views!
We visited Red Rock Canyon in March which is a great time of year to explore the area. Temperatures are very acceptable (around 80-85 degrees) so you’ll have the chance to fully enjoy the park without being in the blistering heat for too long. Want to drive the scenic route or do some hiking? In any case, Red Rock Canyon offers a great opportunity to get away from all the action at the Las Vegas Strip for a day.
We think it’s amazing you can find all this peace and tranquility only 20 minutes away from the Strip. One of the most beautiful things we have ever seen and if you haven’t been to Red Rock Canyon yet, we strongly suggest you go see it on your next trip.
There are several ways to visit Red Rock Canyon. Your best choices are taking a guided tour or renting a car and drive the scenic route. Driving the scenic route will cost you less than $10 for one vehicle, which is what we did. There are several parking areas along the scenic route that provide stunning views over parts of Red Rock Canyon. Great photo opportunities and you will just be amazed by the sheer beauty of the area. You’ll also be able to spot wild burros and horses across the park.
On your way through Red Rock Canyon, make sure to make a stop at Bonnie Springs Ranch. Bonnie Springs Ranch was originally built in 1843 as a stopover for the wagon trains going to California down the Old Spanish Trail. In 1846, General Fremont, on his way to California, stopped at what is now Bonnie Springs Ranch to gear up for his trip through Death Valley. Since 1952, the ranch has been used as a tourist attraction.
It’s a cute little place with a zoo, a motel, bar and restaurant, and a replica of an old Nevada mining town. There’s also the opportunity to do some horseback riding or take a train ride on the Bonnie Springs Ranch train. If you’d like to know more about the Bonnie Springs Ranch, visit their website here.
For more information about Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, please visit the Bureau of Land Management website here.
Want to book a trip to Red Rock Canyon? Please have a look at our Featured Tours page and see what we have to offer!