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There are few who do not enjoy the bright lights and free-spirited atmosphere of Las Vegas, Nevada. But even Vegas can be too much of a good thing. If you find yourself feeling a bit burned out after a few days in Sin City, there are other more peaceful back to nature options nearby. Red Rock Canyon is such a place. Located 15-20 miles west, this gem in the Mojave Desert is a favorite of over one million visitors a year.
Red Rock, besides offering a much-needed solace, has 19 different hiking trails and a diverse collection of flora and fauna taking residence throughout the conservatory. The Red Rock Visitors’ Center is generally open daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm. There is a $7.00 fee for cars, $5.00 for commercial vehicles and $3.00 for motorcyclists and free for hikers and bicyclists. You will find plenty of tour companies that are eager to sell you a package to visit the canyon. I would save my money and just rent a car at the airport instead.
I found having a car to be very useful in Vegas, particularly since I stayed at a hotel off the strip. Driving down highway 159 was rather quiet and uneventful as soon as you reached the outskirts of the city. At one point, it seemed as if I was the only one on the road but it gave me a chance to really pay attention to my surroundings without cars obscuring the view. Since the state is mostly desert, most of the land outside the larger cities is undeveloped which allows for that blessed peace and quiet.
Keep in mind when you travel during the high season, the canyon has become a victim of its own popularity. Since we were visiting in the winter, the traffic was almost non-existent. During the more busy seasons like Spring and Fall, expect to have a lot of competition to see this very much in demand one-way 13-mile scenic loop route.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Scenic Drive –
The scenic loop is open every day of the year with times changing slightly according to the season:
Nov – Feb – 6 AM to 5 PM
March – 6 AM to 7 PM
Apr – Sep – 6 AM to 8 PM
Oct – 6 AM to 7 PM
Please call 702.515.5350 for exact times.
Visitor Center –
The Visitor Center is open every day from 8:00 AM- 4:30 pm.