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Hiking Las Vegas Blog
Red Rock Canyon is located just 20 miles from the bustling Las Vegas Strip, and provides the ideal getaway for locals and tourists looking to escape the flashing lights of Sin City. It is a conservation area in the Mojave Desert, and offers wild and undisturbed nature, stunning rock formations and abundant wildlife. You might even catch sight of a bighorn sheep!
Red Rock Canyon has a large visitor's center and a 13-mile scenic drive road. It attracts a high number of tourists - around a million per year, but a short hike into the canyon itself will take you straight into the serenity of the desert. Before you head off, it’s better to make preparations for a safe hike.
Packing and Preparations
Tourists, inexperienced hikers, or those who wish to relieve the pressure of planning, can opt for a guided hike in Red Rock Canyon. Reputable tour companies can arrange customized trips from central Las Vegas, and take care of most of the preparations on your behalf.
If you want to hike alone in one of the many canyon trails, be sure to pack basic hiking equipment, wear decent walking boots and thick socks, and take layers of clothing to put on and take off during the day. Take enough food and plenty of water for a day hike.
There is one group campsite ground in Red Rock Canyon, which offer tent camping at a reasonable price (closed during the summer). If you are planning a hike that involves an overnight stay (requires a permit) then your planning should reflect this, and so should your gear. You will need your tent, sleeping bag and other sleeping gear, maybe a stove, fire starter, and more food and water.
Budgeting and Getting There
If you already live in Las Vegas, and have your own vehicle, a trip to Red Rock Canyon won’t cost much at all. You can make the short drive and pay a small entrance fee to drive around the area, where you can park at your own leisure and take a hike.
If you are a tourist coming into the city, then the chances are you will be spending quite a lot of money on flights and accommodations within the city. There are numerous ways to save money in Vegas, particularly when it comes to accommodations. Hotel rooms tend to be much cheaper during the week, so you should aim to avoid weekends and big events if you want the best prices. The best time to ask for an upgrade on your hotel room is around 6pm, and don't forget to slip the receptionist $20 on your credit card when you do so.
Dining in Vegas has peak times and off-peak times, but buffets offer the best value for money. Getting out of the city and into the surrounding countryside will also help you to stop splashing the cash. Nature doesn't have as many slot machines!
Unfortunately, there isn’t any public transport from Vegas to Red Rock Canyon, so getting from the main strip to the canyons isn’t easy. Tourists will likely have to rent a car to explore, pay for a taxi or private transport, or book a visit to the canyon through several local tour companies.
The only easy solution for any kind of financial impediment is Payday loans alternative. This is the right and a secure way to get boosted economically. Individuals with average credit history can also avail the benefit and plan their voyages accordingly.
Which Trail To Hike?
There are dozens of hiking trails in Red Rock Canyon, ranging from very easy and short walks, to strenuous longer hikes with huge gains in altitude. It’s also perfectly possible to link together several trails to create a longer day.
The Calico Hills are the iconic rock formation that can be seen from Vegas, and it’s possible to take the trail of the same name to go up and in to the glaring red scenery in this 6-mile hike. Park at Calico 1 or Calico 2 and walk as much as you want to before heading back.
For more serious hikers, Turtlehead Peak is a big draw. It’s only 5-miles on the trail, but with an elevation of 2,000 feet, scrambles over rocks, and thin paths on daunting ledges, this trail is not for the faint-hearted. In other words, it’s awesome if you’re up to it, but be careful and make sure you respect the trail.
Other popular and beautiful hiking options in the Red Rock Canyon include the quiet and peaceful Oak Creek Canyon trail, geologically marvellous Keystone Thrust, and the challenging Grand Circle Loop, which combines several trails to make a six hour hike.
A Few Words of Safety
Be aware of the season that you are planning your hike. Summers get very hot in Red Rock Canyon, and you would be best not to hike at all during peak temperatures of above 90 degrees. If you must hike the canyon at this time of year, take all of the necessary precautions – hike early in the morning and finish your hike around 9am, take and drink lots and lots of water, wear sunscreen and a hat, and don’t stay out in the sun for too long.
Storm season in Red Rock Canyon typically occurs in spring and fall, and during these times temperatures can be quite cool in the morning or evening. If you are hiking at this time you will need to take more layers of clothing, and don’t forget to check the forecast before you go out. Whatever the weather, stay well hydrated, and enjoy your hike!
Branch Whitney is the author of Hiking Las Vegas and creator of the 52 Peak Club where members hike to the best 52 Peaks around Las Vegas, NV