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The Desert Escape That's Only 30 Minutes From The Strip

Where: Red Rock Canyon [map], 89161
September 27, 2012 at 6:16 PM | by | ()

So, you want to get out into the desert, but aren't sure if you want to commit to the all-day tour? Maybe, you need a sample of what is out there beyond the neon of The Strip. Well, we have just the destination for you! Red Rock Canyon is sometimes forgotten amidst all the hype of other major attractions like Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire, but it's closer than many other options and offers a similar albeit smaller scale experience.

The state park is conveniently located only about 30 minutes from The Strip. The price is similar to other state parks at $7 per car load, however, if you are willing to park your ride, you can save a few bucks! Red Rock Canyon is free if you want to take the adventure on foot or bike and there is plenty of parking at the main station. While there are no high-profile natural rock sculptures like Valley of Fire, there are plenty of adventures to be had around Red Rock Canyon.

For those looking to really get the blood flowing, Red Rock Canyon has become well known in circles as a great destination for rock climbing. This is important to note as it is generally not allowed in Valley of Fire, thus making Red Rock the ideal destination for climbers. There are many resources regarding different routes and tips for the area. If you do decide to give climbing a try, there are routes for the first timer all the way to the advanced adrenaline junkies. Please remember to let the staff or park ranger know you are climbing and what your intended route is, though, so they know you are out there!

Another main aspect that differentiates Red Rock from its bigger brother (Valley of Fire) is the amount of vegetation that can be found. In other words, if you are looking for some cacti venture here first as there are many different varieties. For those that are alcohol enthusiasts like us, you will be able to find an abundance of Juniper trees which provide the berries used as the primary source of flavoring for gin.

The park also offers a new visitors center which provides info about the park, but also sells a decent amount of interesting merchandise, native crafts and other pieces.

There are tour companies that offer half-day excursions and guided tours of the area. Regardless of whether you use them or go on your own, be prepared to do some walking. However, if you choose a tour provider, make sure you quiz them on the itinerary. We went through Pink Jeep tours which we found provided added value due to the fact that their jeeps are smaller and more versatile and able to climb to back parts of the mountain range other bus tours simply couldn't.

Red Rock offers some of the best trails for hiking, great climbing opportunities and is so close to The Strip there is no reason not to give it a shot. We think it will give you a great taste of the desert life and, if you should like it, there are many more adventures waiting off Strip for you!

Archived Comments:


It always amazes me how few people go to this beautiful park.  Horseback riding can also be had for about $60 per person and some of the stables offer morning breakfast or other meals during the ride.  The wild/ferral burros are also so cool to see.  

Scoot City

we experienced the park for the first time with Scoot City tours - really great fun going round in the little buggies with the wind in your hair! definitely looking forward to spending some more time there on our next visit, wonderful place!