Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Quick Facts

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Nevada

(702) 515-5350

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

For a taste of the classic American West, look no further than Red Rock Canyon just outside Las Vegas, Nevada, in the Mojave Desert. Red Rock became Nevada's first National Conservation Area in 1990. This canyon is characterized by red- and cream-colored Aztec Sandstone cliffs reaching 2,000 feet. Adjoining older grey limestone cliffs protect the sandstone. Fossilized sand dunes, sheer rock walls and mountain peaks dot the 197,000-acre area, drawing admirers and outdoor thrill seekers alike.

Map of Red Rock Canyon NCA

Latitude, Longitude: 36.132292, -115.424198

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Activities

  • Bird Watching

    Over 100 bird species have been identified within the conservation area. Many birds of prey such as golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and Cooper's hawks can be spotted.

  • Bicycling

    For great exercise and beautiful views of Red Rock Canyon, pedal along several trails in Cottonwood Valley. This designated area is just south of the scenic drive, right off highway 160. There are more than 50 miles of stacked loops; pick the adventure and distance right for you! Special recreation permits are required for commercially guided mountain biking or events. Mountain bikes are not provided on site.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The 13-mile scenic drive is a Backcountry Byway. It is completely paved and offers opportunities to see desert wildlife, red and cream sandstone formations, waterfalls and petroglyphs. The 13-Mile Drive is a one-way road. Bicycles are permitted to ride on the scenic drive, and must obey traffic laws. Sightseeing, photography, and hiking trails are accessible from the designated pullouts and parking areas. The scenic drive is open daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Winter (November through February); 6 a.m. to 8p.m. in the Summer (April through September); and from 6a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Spring (March) and Fall (October). Show courtesy towards cyclists and pedestrians. Drive only on established roadways and park only in designated areas. Watch for rocks or other debris on the roadway. All terrain vehicles (ATV's) and unlicensed vehicles are not permitted at Red Rock Canyon NCA.

  • Camping

    Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area has one developed campground. Red Rock Canyon Campground is located two miles east of the visitor center on W. Charleston Blvd (State Route 159). This campground offers 71 individual sites and 7 group sites. The campground is closed in the summer due to extreme high temperatures.

    Backcountry camping is allowed within Red Rock Canyon NCA above 5,000 feet; backpack camping along the Rocky Gap Road is popular. The backcountry area is remote with no drinking water or firewood for campfires. There is no developed trail system in the backcountry.

  • Climbing

    Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the finest rock climbing areas in the world. With more than 1,700 climbing routes varying in styles and difficulty, Red Rock Canyon is a world-class rock climbing destination. Red Rock has some of the tallest routes in the nation, with climbs scaling 2,000-foot Aztec sandstone cliffs.The main type of rock found here is Aztec (or Navajo) sandstone, formed years ago through the natural cementing of ancient sand dunes. The rock at Calico's 1& 2, and Sandstone Quarry are the focus of sport climbing. The rock of the main escarpment possesses a greater cementing factor and is considered to be a good quality sandstone. The black or varnished rock is generally considered to be the hardest. Keep in mind however, at its best, it is still sandstone. Because of its friable (crumbly) nature it must be approached with a greater degree of caution than a more dependable rock such as granite. We suggest waiting 24 to 48 hours after major rains or snow to allow the rock to dry sufficiently for climbing. Special recreation permits are required for commercial or guided rock climbing. Climbing gear is not provided on site.

  • Hiking

    23 Hiking trails are available ranging from easy loops to strenuous climbs. For hiking trail maps and more information visit the BLM website.

  • Historic Sites

    The area is rich in cultural resources and tells a story of ancient American Indian cultures. You can find pottery, roasting pits, and prehistoric rock art. Exhibits and interpretive programs are available at this park also and available to disabled persons.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is allowed on dirt roads and two-tracks, and on some designated foot trails. Riding is prohibited on paved roads unless crossing is necessary or if the road is closed. Inquire at the visitor center for more information about trails open for horseback riding. Guided horseback rides in the Red Rock Canyon area are also available.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic areas are located at Willow Spring (along the scenic drive) and at Red Spring (in the Calico Basin area). Both picnic areas have tables, barbecue grills, and toilets. Drinking water is available only at the visitor center.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The Red Rock Canyon NCA may seem rugged and desolate at first glance, but a closer look reveals an area teeming with wildlife. over 45 species of mammals occur in the Red Rock Canyon NCA, including bobcat, gray fox and mountain lion. Mule deer, desert bighorn sheep and burros can also be found.

Seasonality/Weather

Red Rock Canyon NCA averages 294 days of sunshine per year (211 clear days, 83 partly cloudy days). With an average annual rainfall of 4.13 inches and an average humidity around 29%. The average temperature is 66.3 °F (19 °C). For information about local area weather please visit: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=Las+Vegas&state=NV&site=VEF&textField1=36.175&textField2=-115.136&e=0.

Park Partners

Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Assocation

The mission of the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association is to enhance the recreational, educational and interpretive programs of the Bureau of Land Management, and other governmental agencies , by providing materials and services to the public which promote an understanding, and appreciation of, the natural history, cultural history and sciences of Southern Nevada and specifically, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

(702) 515-5350

Directions

Driving

From Las Vegas, West Charleston Blvd. (State Route 159) is the most direct route to Red Rock Canyon from the "Strip." However, there is a series of signals, and traffic can be slow. Allow 25 minutes drive time from the Strip. There is a $7 daily car fee.

Flying

The closest major airport is McCarran International Airport.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(702) 515-5350

Links