About less than an hour’s car drive from the strip in Las Vegas lies this lovely scenic spot that attracts quite the tourist interest from visitors and locals. Per the name you would have guessed that there is red rock all around and this is a great venue for an activity away from the strip. You can go hiking or rock climbing, or simply take a scenic drive for sights around the Mojave Desert. The 13-mile drive has many stops for walks and picnics or overlooks but it is only one way so if you miss a stop, you will have to come back around again. Luckily your fee allows you entry all day so you could totally just be driving around in loops if that is all you’d like to do.
The best place to start is the visitor center for some exhibits, announcements, useful handouts and other information. The staff will help you with any additional questions and restrooms are located here too. This is in the desert so extreme temperatures are possible – it can get terribly hot in summer and slide to the other extreme in winter. Prepare for the weather with some research ahead. Also, cell phone access might not be possible at all times, especially if yu wander deeper into the canyon for a hike so best inform others of your location and to check on you for your return.
I didn’t get to see any, but I’ve heard that wildlife spotting is common and that includes desert hares, tortoises and lizards, and rattlesnakes, scorpions and venomous spiders so be on the lookout and always be aware of your surroundings. If you are here for rock climbing, there are more than 2,000 routes and this is considered one of the top five USA locations for the sport so get ready! Since the majority of this area is sandstone which can turn slippery during rains, we heard staff comment that rainy-day adventures should be avoided, and climbs attempted only after the area has dried.
Check ahead of your visit about open and close times, any permits required, special provisions due to conditions and any parking details. We went during the day in peak summer, so we primarily stayed indoors and did the scenic drive with some stops for pictures. We did one short easy hike that was just about 30 minutes, but most hikes start at about an hour and a half of time commitment and can go from easy to medium to difficult in terms of how strenuous of an activity it can get. We did a quick picnic at one spot and checked out the visitor center exhibits which are indoor and outdoor. Most folks came prepared for a good day of hiking and rock climbing, and some had even planned pretty elaborate picnics.
Something I write on one of the exhibits here I think is a great reminder of how we should treat nature at all times. It reads – Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints. Hope we can practice that always and pass on that message to others as well. If you've visited the area, let me know in the comments below what you did there, or any recommendations for future visits.