Driving the Loop Road and Hiking in Red Rock Canyon NCA

Anne Bonfert

Red Rock CanyonDaniel Halseth/ Unsplash

The state of Nevada got plenty of beautiful landscape features which are popular tourist destinations. Vast landscapes but also mountainous and rocky scenes are part of the state's characteristics. Red sandstone and deep canyons are a landmark of the region. One of the most popular visitor attractions is the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area.

The conservation area is only 15 miles west of Las Vegas and is therefore easily being explored. More than 3 million people come to visit the park each year. The Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area includes a 13-mile one-way loop road that winds through the features of the park. This loop road provides access to the unique features of the area including several side roads and parking lots. The loop road is also popular among cyclists.

A side road of the loop-road called the Rocky Gap Road is leading into a side canyon and is barely maintained and rather primitive. Off-road and high clearance vehicles are required for this part of the park.

Despite its seemingly dry area humans have settled in the area thousands of years ago. Due to water access, vegetation, and wildlife in the area as many as six different native American cultures used to live in the area. Rock art such as petroglyphs but also pottery fragments do confirm the existence of the early settlers.

This conservation area is part of the Mojave Desert with the lowest elevation. Plenty of plants can be found in the area and due to the countless side canyons, there is always some kind of spring to be found somewhere in the park. Joshua trees and Yucca plants and common vegetation. The desert tortoise is protected in this conservation area. Other animals found in the area are rabbits and ground squirrels as well as occasionally the desert bighorn sheep on higher elevations.

The most popular activities in the conservation area are hiking, biking, and rock climbing or scrambling. Horseback riding is also allowed on specific trails. Camping is allowed in the park but only in designated areas. Next to the normal dangers of climbing on rocks the extremely high temperatures in the summer bring with an extra part of the danger. One should not travel alone and stay on the designated paths when exploring the area. Despite the heat, water can also cause danger when flash floods are rushing down the rocks.

A visitors center is available and always a good start for a trip where maps of the hiking trails can be found and updated information on the conditions of the roads and trails. Several events are happing throughout the summer months in the park. Those events are listed on their website.

If you're planning to stay overnight in the conservation area to explore more than just one trail and just enjoy the solitude out there you must come prepared with plenty of water and food. Plan your stay in advance and please avoid lighting fires since there are currently fire restrictions in all State Parks of Nevada.


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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.


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