Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
- Type: Hiking, Parks and Gardens
- Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
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Seventeen miles southwest of Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area offers travelers a respite from Las Vegas' unnatural neon landscape. Though you can opt to follow the 18-mile scenic car route through the desert, make the most of your visit by stretching your legs along the numerous hiking and biking trails. No matter how you choose to explore the park, you'll find yourself surrounded by the beautiful Mojave Desert and its signature red hills. If you do decide to hike or bike, travelers recommend planning your route in advance: Some of the trails can be strenuous for novice hikers. Also be sure to bring a map from the visitors center, as the landscape can look very similar at various points of the park, thus making it difficult to depend on landmarks for orientation. Last, but certainly not least, be sure to lather on the sunscreen and bring plenty of water.
According to previous Red Rock Canyon visitors, a trip out here is well worth leaving the casino floor behind. "We liked the fact that we could ride through the canyon on our own," one TripAdvisor user said. "We were able to [...] stop when we wanted to take pictures. The changing colors of the mountains [were] breathtaking." Travelers were also impressed with Red Rock Canyon's visitors center, sighting recent updates and a bounty of information as reasons to stop in before hitting the trails.
Opening and closing times vary by season and by area of the park: The scenic driving route, the picnic areas and the Red Rock Overlook (along state route 159) all open at 6 a.m. and close between 5 and 9 p.m. Meanwhile, the visitors center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day (though the hours differ on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). If you're driving to Red Rock Canyon, you will have to pay a $7 entrance fee, while motorcyclists, bikers and those entering on foot will only be charged $3. To learn more about Red Rock Canyon, visit the conservation area's website.