Las Vegas is a great place to visit if you’re into the bright city lights, gambling, and golfing, etc. However, it’s also one of the best areas in America for hiking and day trips. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for awhile you can easily take a short trip to the nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
This is quite a scenic area and is within close driving distance to the Strip and casinos. In fact, there’s a lot of excellent desert area surrounding Las Vegas and it’s ideal for activities such as rock climbing and hiking. Red Rock Canyon is just several miles to the west of Vegas and it sits on close to 200,000 acres of the famous Mojave Desert. The natural beauty and geology of the area attracts thousands of visitors and local residents every year.
(photo by kla4067)
There’s also a very scenic drive where you’ll come across the conservation area’s highest peak, which reaches 4,760 feet into the air. The change in elevation is quite a sight since Las Vegas actually lies in a valley. You can get dehydrated more quickly at a higher altitude and breathing is sometimes a little more difficult; so just make sure you’re prepared.
One of the most popular times of the year for hiking at Red Rock Canyon is during the winter when the temperatures are typically quite a bit cooler, but still well above freezing. The spring and autumn are also quite comfortable. Just make sure you have lots of water and a good sunscreen, especially if you do happen to find yourself there in the summer months.
However, it’s actually not a wise idea to hike in the desert during the summers since the daytime temperatures can often reach as high as 100 Fahrenheit or more. If you do visit a desert in the summer, it’s a good idea to hike early in the morning or later in the evening. Long pants and long sleeves can also be a good idea when hiking in Red Rock Canyon because the sun can actually reflect off of the red rock, making it easier to get burned.
When you’re in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area, you’ll find that one of the most popular hikes is called the Calico Tanks. This is a 2.5 mile round-trip route. The trail will take you up to a large and impressive natural water tank. This natural tank holds rainwater in it. When you reach it you’ll also get a splendid view of Sin City.
There’s another excellent hike known as the White Rock to Willow Springs route. This one’s a little bit longer as it’s about 4.5 miles in total for a round-trip hike. There’s a six-mile jaunt which takes you from White Rock to La Madre Springs. It’s not too intense, but there is a steep incline at the start of it. Another popular route is the Grand Circle Adventure. This hike is pretty strenuous and is about 11 miles in total length. It’s an ideal desert hike for those with experience and will enable you to get a good look at the beauty of Red Rock Canyon.
You’ll also find numerous short hikes in the conservation area. Many of these are a mile in length or shorter and are splendid for families with children. Some of the most popular of these hikes are the Overlook Trail, the Fire Ecology Trail, and the Lost Creek-Children’s Discovery Trail.