by John Wilson
During our family trip to Las Vegas, we took a side journey to Red Rock Canyon. This park is only about 30 minutes from “the strip” and is well worth the journey there, especially if you have a rental car. You can see the canyon from the strip if you know which direction to look.
From what I could see, there are three main activities to do in Red Rock Canyon for the typical tourist:
1. Drive the 13 mile scenic road – This relatively flat, 13 mile drive is an excellent way to see the entire park with little effort. Along the way there are several stopping points or parking lots, to get out and take pictures. The road is one-way and plenty wide enough to let those folks who are driving a little to fast, or a little too close, to drive around you.
Chasing white-tailed antelope squirrels around the roads and parking lots was my family’s favorite park activity. These chipmunk-looking creatures hang out near the parking lots and the roads, and are very skittish of humans and cars. We had a hard time getting a good photograph of them, even with my zoom lens, because they are so quick to run off the road. With that being said, we saw more than one squished one, probably thanks to the idiots we let pass us driving too fast earlier on the road. As you drive the road, be sure to watch out for these little guys.
The white-tailed antelope squirrels photographed below were the only ones of the hundreds we saw that would sit still long enough for a photo.
2. Hike/Bike the trails – The day we toured Red Rock Canyon, it was over 110 degrees in Las Vegas. Despite this, we saw several folks bicycling and hiking the trails. There are over 35 guided hikes a month and miles of bike trails to explore. For the extra adventurous tourists, there are several rock climbing paths as well.
To see the upcoming tours check the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association’s website.
For a list of hiking trails see the wiki on Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area web site.
3. Visitor’s Center – The visitor’s center is small and mostly a souvenir shop. When we were there, however, there were two folks sitting at a desk answering questions about the park. They were well informed, seemed mostly bored, and answered all of my questions. They also stamped my son’s State Park Passport book (even though she informed me RRC isn’t really a state park).
A broken “Shaq-tus”
To see additional photos from Red Rock Canyon, see my set on Flickr.