Las Vegas owns a well-earned reputation for its dizzying array of non-stop activities and entertainment offerings, all of it on 24-hour display in an intoxicating package of neon lights.
Yes, Sin City is a sprawling playground for foodies, gamblers, drinkers, dancers, night-life lovers and anyone who loves to party and hang out in a high-energy environment. Whether you're on The Strip or exploring Downtown on Fremont Street, you can find all types of restaurants, shows, casinos and activities and diversions to keep you buzzing non-stop.
But just a 20-minute car ride delivers you to a serene place that seems so far away from that bubbling cauldron of decadence and organized chaos.
If you think you'd like to escape the crowds for a while during your next trip to Las Vegas, I've got a few tips to help you explore one of the most peaceful and stunning outdoor spaces in the United States.
Here is your guide for adventures in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
No public transportation gets you all the way to Red Rock Canyon, so you will need a vehicle (your own or a rental car, perhaps). I am fortunate that my sister lives in the area, so it was nice to have a local pick us up and show us around on our first visit to Red Rock. You could try to arrange some sort of Uber/Lyft drop-off and pickup, but that could be tricky because cell service is rare to non-existent in Red Rock. Taxis and the ride-services drop off at the entrance's visitor center, so you would have to walk in to the park if you arrive this way.
Guided tours also are available, and you can be picked up at your hotel to go on a daylong excursion with companies that offer hiking or climbing outings.
The directions: Red Rock Canyon is about 25 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip. When driving from The Strip or Downtown Vegas, you'll use Charleston Boulevard, which turns into SR 159. Or from the south, take Blue Diamond Road/SR 160 west to the junction with SR 159. Follow SR 159 until you see the entrance signs. If using GPS or an app like Wave or Google Maps, punch in "1000 Scenic Loop Drive, Las Vegas" for the address.
History and Details: Red Rock Canyon is part of a federal program that sets aside land "In order to conserve, protect and enhance [the area] for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations." Red Rock Canyon was declared a National Conservation Area in 1990 and became the seventh such area in the nation to get this designation. Red Rock Canyon covers about 196,000 acres within the Mojave Desert. The park is primarily notable for its Aztec Sandstone formations, which are colored red, brown and orange from the high amounts of iron oxide or hematite.
Visitors also come to enjoy bike tours, horseback riding, rock climbing and camping.
We enjoyed our day at Red Rock during a recent trip to Las Vegas (see video below). We'll be sure to return for more now that we have a full understanding of how awesome this place is and how easy it is to get there.
Are you planning an adventure at Red Rock Canyon on your next trip to Las Vegas? Tell us all about it in the comments.
Thanks for reading!