Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Get ready to experience a breathtaking natural wonder! If you’re an outdoor adventure lover living in Summerlin, you’re in luck because this natural attraction is only 15 minutes away from Summerlin.

The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the most popular tourist attractions near Summerlin, renowned for its stunning red rock cliffs and dramatic canyons. If you live in the area, you’re in luck because there is a wide array of activities and attractions to explore.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Brief Overview of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Nestled within the Mojave Desert, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area spans 195,000 acres of rugged yet pristine terrain and landscape. The unique geology of this land formed millions of years ago, creating unique yet awe-inspiring rock cliffs and sandstone formations. There are also hidden valleys within the area.

It was designated as the first National Conservation Area in Nevada. It is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard. It is accessible via State Route 159.

Approximately two million people visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area annually. While Las Vegas is known for its world-class gambling, dining, and entertainment opportunities, this conservation area is a huge contrast. It offers various enticements that suit any outdoor and adventure lovers!

The Visitor Center

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

You can start off your journey exploring this natural wonder at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is a one-stop shop providing you with helpful tips and information about exploring the park, and some background information about this geological formation.

The Visitor Center features various interactive and interpretive exhibits that are located on an outdoor installation. There are four themed elements for each installation:

• Earth – The best spot to learn about the Red Rock Canyon’s geology.
• Air – This spot is where you can create a dust devil of your own.
• Fire – This area is where you can learn about the agave roasting pits.
• Water – This exhibit is a great reminder of how precious water is in the desert.

Aside from learning about the Red Rock Canyons, you can also pick up some souvenirs from one of the shops in the Visitor Center.

Fees to Know

If you’re interested in visiting the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, there are various fee structures you must know about. There are daily passes available for various types of vehicles, such as $20 for a private vehicle and even lower fees for motorcycles ($10), bicycles ($8), and pedestrians ($5).

The annual pass is only $50. So, if you come here often, it might be worthwhile to invest in the annual pass.

There are free days where you can visit the Red Rock Canyons without paying a fee, such as the following:

• Martin Luther King Jr Day
• President’s Day
• Juneteenth
• Great American Outdoors Day
• National Public Lands Day
• Veterans Day
Things to See and Do in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

There is no shortage of things to see and do when you visit the Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas. It serves as a gateway to understanding and appreciating the cultural and natural heritage of this remarkable landscape.

These are the top things to see and do when you visit the area:

1. Scenic Drive

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

One of the most popular activities for anyone who wishes to visit the Red Rock Canyon is to go on a scenic drive. The conservation area has a 13-mile scenic drive, which is a one-way loop. The entire drive is paved so you won’t need to have an off-road vehicle to visit the area. However, there are some off-road opportunities if you’re inclined.

The highlights of the scenic drive include the stunning views of the deserted landscape and rock formations. The route is not just popular with motorized vehicles, but also with bicyclists, joggers, walkers, and photographers.

There are various pullouts available throughout the scenic drive. Hence, you can stop at one of the designated parking areas to enjoy the view and take photos. The scenic drive opens at 6 AM and closes at 5 PM.

2. Rock Climbing

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area - Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is one of the top activities for outdoor enthusiasts in the Red Rock Canyons. A climbing guide is available for newbies or those who want to try out this extreme sport. But if you’re an experienced climber, you can find various climbing paths that would be suited to your skill level. You can find Grade I to Grade VI climbs available. For some of the overnight routes, you’ll need to secure a permit.

3. Hiking Trails

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area - Hiking

If you love hiking, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the best places to go hiking in Summerlin. There are easy hikes that span a .25-mile round trip trail with wheelchair access and can go up to 11 miles round trip. Some challenging trails include strenuous terrain with some uphill sections.

You can visit the official website to find information about the scenic drive map and trail descriptions to prepare for your hike. The trail descriptions provide detailed information about elevation gain, time, and distance.

4. Camping

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area - Hiking

Camping is another popular activity in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. There are designated campgrounds where you can set up tents for the night, for $25 per individual per night or $80 per group per night. For these camping sites, reservation is required, especially in the busy months of March and October. You can reserve a camping site for up to 14 nights in a row.

When you camp in the Red Rock Canyons, you won’t have electrical, water and sewer hookups. However, there will be vault toilets and drinking water (up to 1 gallon per day per person).

5. Viewing the Night Sky

might sky in red rock canyon national conservation area

Viewing the night sky is one of the most popular activities in the Red Rock Canyons. There are designated dark areas within the conservation site that are ideal for viewing stars. The Red Rock Canyons work closely with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society to introduce “Astronomy in the Park” to the public. It happens several times a year with various multimedia presentations focusing on different subjects per presentation. You’ll also get the chance to use the telescopes to view night objects.

In addition, there are astronomy hikes held in the park. It is available in a small group setting with opportunities to discover astronomy. These hikes explore easy trails with little elevation gains.

In addition to the ones listed above, there are other activities you can enjoy at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, such as mountain biking and horseback riding.


Summerlin and the nearby Las Vegas area offer plenty of recreational opportunities, regardless of your kind of entertainment and activity. The Red Rock Canyons is one of those attractions that you’re lucky to have access to so don’t miss out. You don’t need to be a nature or outdoor lover to appreciate what this awe-inspiring attraction can offer!

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