Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Activity Guides:
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Trails:
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Overview
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is located about 20 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada. This 195,819-acre area provides a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and a visitor center with exhibit rooms and a bookstore.
The unique geologic features, plants, and animals of Red Rock Canyon represent some of the best examples of the Mojave Desert. In 1967, the Secretary of the Interior designated Red Rock Canyon for the enjoyment of the ‘Recreation Lands’ to be managed by the BLM's Las Vegas District. In 1990, special legislation supported by the Nevada congressional delegation changed the status of the Recreation Lands to a National Conservation Area (NCA), the seventh such area to be designated nationally. This legislation provides protection and funding to protect and improve the area.
The local population as well as visitors from the United States and many foreign countries seek out Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. More than one million visitors each year enjoy the spectacular desert landscape, climbing and hiking opportunities, and interpretive programs sponsored by the BLM.
The BLM is the largest administrator of public lands in the West. It adheres to a multiple-use policy, thereby providing recreational opportunities, protection for cultural sites, and the management of natural resources, including wildlife.
The 13-mile scenic drive is a one-way road. Bicycles are allowed. Sightseeing, photography, and hiking trails are accessible from designated pull-outs and parking areas. The scenic drive is open daily from 6 a.m. to dusk.
Hiking Red Rock Canyon
A variety of hiking trails are offered in the NCA. Easy trails are short and mostly level. Moderately strenuous trails require hiking long distances, often uphill. Extreme summer heat makes any hike more difficult and exhausting. Early morning and late afternoon are best for hiking, unless you come in spring or fall, when it is much cooler.
Activity schedules for naturalist-guided walks, programs, and talks are posted at the visitor center between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Call 702-363-1921.
The most significant geologic feature of Red Rock Canyon is the Keystone Thrust Fault. About 65 million years ago, it is believed that two of the Earth's crustal plates collided with such force that part of one plate of grey limestone was thrust up and over the younger red sandstone. The Keystone Thrust Fault extends from the Cottonwood Fault (along the Pahrump Highway) 13 miles northward to the vicinity of La Madre Mountain where it is obscured by more complex faulting.
Sites to See
Bonnie Springs Ranch/Old Nevada: This privately-owned enterprise features a reproduction of an 1880 western mining town, with saloons, restaurants, and museums as well as gunfights, hangings, movie screenings, melodramas, and displays.
Spring Mountain State Park: Spring Mountain Ranch, a 520-acre oasis situated at the base of the magnificent cliffs of the Wilson Range, is a state park providing historic tours, picnic sites, and summer plays. The main ranch house and historical grounds are open to visitors on select days; here visitors may take self-guided tours of the ranch house and guided tours throughout the grounds. The picnic area is open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk.