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Backpacker Magazine – BACKPACKER.com Online Exclusive

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Just beyond the neon and greenbacks of Vegas lies a priceless wilderness gem.

by: Brian Riley

PAGE 1 2

Contact Information:

Bureau of Land Management Las Vegas District Office Box 26569 Las Vegas, NV 89126 702/647-5000 Visitor Center: 702/363-1921

Location: Red Rock is located in southern Nevada, 20 miles west of Las Vegas.

Getting There: From Las Vegas, Nevada, follow Charleston Blvd. (NV 159) 20 miles west to the visitor center entrance.

Seasonal Information: Summer can be unbearably hot. Winter brings clear skies, cold nights, and warm days. The best season is spring, when rain and snowmelt bring out the wildflowers and give rise to seasonal waterfalls.

Wildlife: Wildlife in the conservation area is as abundant and varied as the plant life. Rabbits and rodents provide food for the coyotes, kit foxes, and bobcats that live in the canyon.

Insects: Contact park office for information.

Plant Life: Red Rock Canyon isn't composed of just the typical desert plant community. Ponderosa pines and willows grow in the area that is also decorated with wildflowers in the spring.

Facilities: Camping is allowed in parts of Red Rock Canyon, but call ahead since site designation and availability of permits varies. Or you can stay at the Oak Creek campground for $10 a night.

Parking: Contact park office for information.

Permits: Entrance and camping are free. Backcountry campers must register and get a permit at the visitor center.

Policies: Contact park office for information.

Hazards: Water sources are unpredictable, so fill your jugs at the visitor center and carry more than you think you will need.

Leave No Trace:

  • Learn to identify fragile cryptogamic soil, and stick to established trails where they exist to avoid destroying it. When you do travel off-trail, hike on rock, gravel, or compacted soil.
  • When selecting a campsite, camp at least 200 feet from water, don't disturb vegetation, don't camp in archaeological sites, and stay out of low areas where your tent can get washed away in a flash flood.
  • All LNT guidelines apply.

Maps: Trail maps are available at the visitor center. The USGS topo maps (sold at the visitor center) are "Mountain Springs," "La Madre Mountain," "Blue Diamond," and "La Madre Spring."

Other Trip Options: If you want to stay in the area and stay outside of the bright lights of Vegas, Spring Mountain State Park, Toiyabe National Forest (with Lee Canyon Ski Area) and Death Valley National Monument are all west of Las Vegas.


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