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Red Rock Canyon Recreation Area in Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon

Located 15 miles west of Las Vegas, you will find almost 200,000 acres containing colorful sandstone, unique rock formations, and a beautiful 13-mile one-way scenic drive. Once you are on the scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon, you will find several side roads and parking areas that lead to the trails in Red Rock Canyon.

The Red Rock Canyon area has something for everyone from family picnic areas to rock climbing!

According to, more than 2 million visitors enter Red Rock Canyon to bike, hike, camp, picnic, rock climb, and more.

If you have time to explore you may see waterfalls, wildlife, pictographs, petroglyphs, and more!!!

Red Rock Canyon


Red Rock Canyon Overview

The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Clark County, Nevada, is an area managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of its National Landscape Conservation System and protected as a National Conservation Area.

The conservation area showcases a set of large red rock formations: a set of sandstone peaks and walls called the Keystone Thrust. The walls are up to 3,000 feet (910 m) high, making them a popular hiking and rock climbing destination.

The highest point is La Madre Mountain, at 8,154 feet (2,485 m).

A visitor center is at the start of the loop road. The loop road is also popular for bicycle touring; it begins with a moderate climb, then is mostly downhill or flat.

Horseback riding and camping are also allowed on specific trails and in designated areas.

Automobile and motorcycle clubs often conduct group drives through the 13-mile scenic drive. 

Red Rock Canyon Location

Red Rock Canyon is easy to get to by accessing the I-215 and turning onto Charleston Boulevard to head west.

Red Rock Weather

Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Red Rock Canyon with cooler temperatures as the summer months can be BRUTAL.

In the winter months, Red Rock is incredibly popular with local outdoor enthusiasts and tourists to enjoy hiking, biking, climbing, scenic views, and more. But, during the summer, the heat can be not only a bit brutal but also very dangerous.

When the temps rise, a lot of hikers will start very early in the morning, do trails at times when they know it’s mostly in the shade, or head to Mt Charleston to hike.

Click here to read our article on Hiking in the Heat, Hydrating Foods, and 10 Essentials for the Southwest Hiker.

Below are the average highs and lows for the year with the days of rainfall.

  • January – 47° / 24° – 3 days
  • February – 51° / 27° – 4 days
  • March – 58° / 33° – 3 days
  • April – 65° / 39° – 1 day
  • May – 74° / 47° – 1 day
  • June – 85° / 58° – 0 days
  • July – 91° / 65° – 2 days
  • August – 89° / 63° – 2 days
  • September – 82° / 54° – 1 day
  • October – 70° / 42° – 1 day
  • November – 56° / 30° – 1 day
  • December – 47° / 24° – 2 days

Hours of Operation

The Red Rock Canyon Visitors Center is open from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM.

If you are wanting to visit the 13-mile Scenic Drive, Red Rock Overlook on State Route 150 and Red Spring, below are the seasonal hours:

  • November through February hours are 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • March hours are 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • April – September hours are 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • October hours are 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Red Rock Canyon Fees

There are many options to enter Red Rock Canyon. You can purchase a day pass or an annual pass.

A portion of the proceeds from passes purchased at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area stay in the area and help fund the Visitor Center and many public programs.

All passes can be purchased or acquired at the Red Rock Canyon Fee Station.

If you do not have an accepted park pass, the daily fee is as follows:

  • Car/Truck – 1 Day – $15 per vehicle
  • Motorcycle – 1 Day – $10 per vehicle
  • Bicycle/Pedestrian – 1 Day – $5 per person
  • Commercial Tour Vehicle (bus, limo, taxi, ride-share, etc.) – 1 Day – $15 per vehicle + $5 per person.

Accepted Passes

  • Red Rock Annual Support Pass – $30: The Red Rock Annual Support Pass does not include overnight stays in the developed campground.
  • America the Beautiful Annual Pass – $80: This pass is an interagency pass that is honored by the National Park Service, National Forestry Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation. The pass does not include stays in the developed campground.
  • America the Beautiful Senior Pass – $80: The lifetime pass for US citizens who are 62 and older to national parks, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuges, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Land Management sites. The pass provides a 50% discount on campground fees.
  • America the Beautiful Access Pass – Free: The lifetime pass for US citizens with a permanent disability to national parks, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuges, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Land Management sites. The pass provides a 50% discount on campground fees.
  • America the Beautiful Military Annual Pass – Free: A yearly pass available for active-duty military and their dependents will be honored by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish, and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Reclamation. It does not include stays in the developed campground.
  • Every Kid in a Park! Annual Pass – Free: Fourth graders and their guests receive free access to federal lands and waters for one year

Red Rock Picnics

Red Rock Canyon is home to four picnic areas. These areas have beautiful views of Red Rock Canyon and access to some easier trails. All picnic areas are on a first-come, first-served basis except for the Red Spring group use area, and groups larger than 15 people may need to obtain a permit.

Barbeque grills are allowed in the picnic areas for most of the year. The summer season, however, has specific fire restrictions against their use. Inquiries should be made at the visitor center about fire regulations and dangers.

From the BLM website about Red Rock picnic areas:

  • Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center Picnic Area – Located to the west of the Red Rock Canyon visitor center parking area, the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center Picnic Area has 12 picnic tables and trash receptacles. Once you have finished your picnic (or before), be sure to check out the nearby hiking trails, Moenkopi and Calico Hills.
  • Red Rock Scenic Overlook Picnic Area – On State Route 159 is the Red Rock Scenic Overlook Picnic Area. This picnic area has approximately 19 picnic tables, various trash cans, and toilets. Approximately half of the picnic tables are covered with aluminum pavilions for shade and inclement weather. From this picnic area, you can access the paved Red Rock Scenic Overlook Trail.
  • Red Spring Picnic Area – The Red Spring Picnic Area is located off State Route 159 on Calico Basin Road, just two miles east of the Red Rock Visitor Center. Red Spring has 12 picnic tables, various trash receptacles, and toilets. The picnic tables are covered with aluminum pavilions for shade and protection from inclement weather. The Red Spring Picnic Area has grills during the cooler seasons. It is wise to call the visitor entrance to inquire about the grills and fire regulations. Red Spring has a large group area to accommodate up to 50 people; reservations are required to reserve the group site, which can be made by calling Red Rock Canyon at 702-515-5371. From Red Spring, you can access the wheelchair-accessible Red Spring trail boardwalk.
  • Willow Springs Picnic Area – Located about halfway around the Scenic Drive is the Willow Springs Picnic Area. This picnic area has approximately 28 picnic tables, various trash receptacles, and toilets. From Willow Springs you can access the La Madre Springs Trail, Willow Springs Loop Trail, Lost Creek Trail, and White Rock Loop Trail.

Red Rock Picnic Areas

Red Rock Hiking 

There are lots of “official” trails at Red Rock Canyon and trails that have been created by local hikers that are popular. For this site, we will be covering the easy to moderate trails along with a few that have been marked difficult that we feel would be trails that children and dogs could do. 

Official Red Rock Trails – Easy

  • Fire Ecology
  • Lost Creek – Children’s Discovery
  • Moenkopi
  • Oak Creek Canyon
  • Petroglyph Wall Trail
  • Red Spring Boardwalk (located outside of the scenic drive)
  • Willow Spring Loop

Official Red Rock Trails – Moderate

  • Arnight
  • Calico Hills
  • Calico Tanks
  • Dales’s
  • First Creek  (located outside of the scenic drive)
  • Keystone Thrust
  • Knoll
  • Kraft Boulders (located outside of the scenic drive)
  • La Madre Spring
  • Middle Oak Creek (located outside of the scenic drive)
  • Pine Creek Canyon
  • SMYC
  • South Oak Creek (located outside of the scenic drive)
  • Willow Rock – Willow Spring

Official Red Rock Trails – Difficult

Please note that the hikes below may not be recommended for small children and dogs. Please research before attempting these hikes.

  • Bridge Mountain
  • Grand Circle Loop
  • Ice Box Canyon
  • North Peak
  • Turtlehead Peak
  • White Rock – La Madre Spring Loop

Unofficial Trails at Red Rock Canyon

Camping at Red Rock

There are not too many options for Red Rocking camping. Reserved camping is seasonal due to the heat and is dispersed depending on the elevation of the area.

Red Rock Canyon Campground Overview

There is one developed campground at Red Rock Canyon, which is located one mile south of Moenkopi Road from the junction with W. Charleston Blvd. Its physical address is 3293 Moenkopi Road, Las Vegas, NV 89161.

While Moenkopi Road is paved, the roads throughout the campground are gravel.

The campground is normally closed during the hot summer months starting in early June and opens at the end of August to early September.

Campsite information:

  • There are 53 individual standard sites.
  • Ten People and two Vehicles are allowed per site in the individual sites.
  • There are six RV Sites that have room for one RV and a vehicle.
  • Seven large group sites can accommodate up to 20 people and 8 vehicles.

Campsite Amenities

  • All standard sites and group sites contain picnic tables, grills, and campfire circles.
  • All group sites have shaded picnic table areas. Some individual standard sites have shaded picnic table areas.
  • Each group site is primarily tenting with 10 individual small tent areas/group sites.
  • Vault toilets, trashcans, and drinking water (in the individual camping area) are provided.
  • There are no electrical, water, or sewer hook-ups.
  • There is no dump station for recreational vehicles.
  • There are no showers.
  • Shade structures are available throughout the group sites and many of the individual sites.
  • The restrooms are vault toilets.
  • Water faucets for drinking water are located throughout the campground.

Visitors can reserve single or group campground sites by calling 1-877-444-6777 or visiting

Reservations can be made up to six months in advance but not less than 48 hours before the desired arrival date.

Check-out is 11:00 AM; Check-in is 2:00 PM

Camping is allowed on BLM-managed public land outside of Las Vegas on public land for 14 days within a 28-day period without charge.

Popular primitive (no facilities) sites include Bitter Spring Back Country Byway, Gold Butte Back Country Byway, Knob Hill, Virgin Mountains, Christmas Tree Pass, and Logandale Trails System.

For more information on the Red Rock Campground, call (702) 515-5387.

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping is allowed within the core area of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area above 5,000 feet. 

A paperless permit is required and can be obtained through You can request a permit by clicking the “Buy a Pass” button on the website. Backcountry camping/Late exit permits are free, but a 50-cent processing fee will be charged. 

The backcountry area is remote with no drinking water or firewood for campfires.  Campers must select a previously disturbed campsite and must camp farther than 200 feet from springs and riparian areas. 

  • There is no developed trail system in the backcountry. 
  • Ground fires are prohibited.
  • Camping stoves are permitted. 
  • To minimize conflicts with wildlife, pets should be on a leash and pet waste must be cleaned up.
  • Please carry out all trash.  Litter is an eyesore and a hazard to wildlife.  Trash cans are located at parking lots along Scenic Drive and in Willow Springs.

Red Rock Geology

I love living in the southwest with sandstone, Indian marbles, fins, and more.

Red Rock doesn’t disappoint with the deep red colors of the Aztec Sandstone, limestone, conglomerate, and unique rock formations.

Red Rock Canyon is the home of Keystone Thrust, which is the name for a prominent geologic fault, which runs north and south for 13 miles along State Route 150 and curves at La Madre Mountain.

Red Rock Canyon Wildlife

Despite being in the desert, Red Rock Canyon offers visitors a lot of colorful and unique wildlife species to enjoy. Below is the list that we know of (if we missed one, let us know).

According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM):

Over 600 different species of plants grow here, many of which are unique to the Mojave Desert. This variety, along with perennial water, provides animals an escape from the desert heat and aridity. There are 38 species of mammals, 44 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 170 species of birds that can be found at Red Rock Canyon NCA.

Wow, that is a lot of animals that can be found in our beautiful Red Rock Canyon. We are working on creating a comprehensive list and documenting each to share with you.

Stargazing at Red Rock Canyon

The darkest spots in the Conservation Area are located off State Route 160 south of the Visitor Center.

Trailheads at Cottonwood Valley and Late Night are located in dark, flat, expansive areas of Red Rock Canyon, and thus provide wide-open views of the night sky.

Before going, be sure to consult a sky chart, or your favorite website to determine what stars and planets are visible.

Learn more with our guide to stargazing in the Southwest.

Horses at Red Rock Canyon

Horseback riding is limited to designated equestrian trails within Red Rock Canyon. The trails can be accessed from four main trailheads and parking areas utilized by equestrian riders:

  1. Cottonwood/Late Night Trailheads off of State Route 160, approximately four miles west of the State Routes 159/160 intersections (Cottonwood Valley Trails System)
  2. Exit of the 13-Mile Scenic Drive, two miles west of the entrance on State Route 159 (Scenic Drive Trails)
  3. White Rock parking area, located off of the 13-Mile Scenic Drive (Scenic Drive Trails)
  4. Mile marker 12 on Kyle Canyon Road/State Route 157 (Twilight Zone Trails)

Visitors wishing to explore Red Rock Canyon on horseback, whether they bring their own horses or take advantage of the permitted guided equestrian tours, need to be aware and follow some simple rules.

Suggestions specifically for horse use can be found at

Mountain Bikes at Red Rock Canyon

Bicycles are allowed on designated paved and unpaved roads and on trails designated for mountain bike use; however, bikes are not permitted on any trails off of the 13-Mile Scenic Drive nor in designated wilderness areas.

The trails can be accessed from two main trailheads and parking areas utilized by mountain bike riders:

  1. Cottonwood/Late Night Trailheads off of State Route 160, approximately four miles west of the State Routes 159/160 intersections (Cottonwood Valley Trails System)
  2. Mile marker 12 on Kyle Canyon Road/State Route 157 (Twilight Zone Trails)

Road Bicycles at Red Rock Canyon

Road bicycles are allowed on all paved or unpaved roads and two tracks; however, no bikes are permitted on any trails on the 13-Mile Scenic Drive.

Prohibited Items at Red Rock Canyon

Certain types of items and activities are prohibited at Red Rock Canyon or require a permit.

For more information call (702) 515-5350.

  • ATVs – prohibited
  • Commercial services – permit
  • Filming and photography – permit
  • Guided tours – permit
  • Overnight or late exits – permit
  • Target shooting – prohibited
  • Weddings – permit


Off-highway driving in Red Rock National Conservation Area is limited to designated roads only and cross-country travel is prohibited to provide for public safety and preservation of the area.

Four-wheel drive (4X4) high clearance vehicles are recommended on all of the unpaved designated roads.

The 13-Mile Scenic Drive is limited to street-licensed vehicles only. 

Some great off-roading opportunities include:

  • Rocky Gap Road – An extremely rough, four-wheel-drive road. Expect narrow road conditions with numerous washouts. Not recommended for passenger cars or other low-clearance vehicles. Like all off-road trips, preparation and caution are highly recommended.
  • Cottonwood Valley – An undeveloped area that features several unpaved routes. Be prepared for washouts and sandy areas.

Target Shooting and Weapons

Target shooting is generally allowed on BLM-managed public lands but in 1993 Red Rock Canyon National Conservation was closed to target shooting for public safety. 

Visitors are not allowed to possess loaded weapons in Red Rock Canyon unless involved in hunting in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations. 

Drones at Red Rock Canyon

Yes, visitors can fly drones for recreational purposes at Red Rock Canyon. Please do not disturb wildlife or visitors while flying your drone.

Visitors are prohibited from launching and landing drones and other unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Red Rock Canyon’s Wilderness Areas (La Madre Mountain Wilderness Area & Rainbow Mountain Wilderness Area).

The Las Vegas Soaring Club also has flying space nearby. 


Pets are allowed in the Conservation Area and along trails. They must be kept on a leash at all times and they must never be left unattended – not even in a vehicle.

Restrooms at Red Rock Canyon

Most trailheads have restrooms in the area of the parking lot.

Cell Phone Service at Red Rock Canyon

We use AT&T and literally lose service as soon as we enter Red Rock Canyon at the sign.

Once in the area, we will have it in various areas.

When hiking, most mountain tops will have a few bars.


Absolutely! Be sure to check out the easy hikes as they are perfect for children.

Maximum Group Size

Groups larger than 15 people or vehicles must apply for a Special Recreation Permit. Applications for these permits must be submitted at least 180 days before your group event.

For more information or to apply for a Special Recreation Permit, visit the “Fees and Passes” drop-down menu item on the Bureau of Land Management’s website.


Local groups are known to create hiking events to clean up the trails and if you are interested in a “clean up hike” check under our calendar of Outdoor Events to see if one is available.

Friends of Red Rock is a great organization to become a member of or volunteer with to protect and maintain the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon. Tip: Volunteers who work enough hours receive a free annual pass!

Red Rock Canyon Resources Used

Red Rock Canyon