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Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Geologic Sightseeing > Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (NV) 
20 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is a beautiful, 197,000-acre area in which to experience the natural wonders of the Mojave Desert, the driest and smallest of the American deserts. Red Rock Canyon’s 3,000-foot-high, cross-bedded, red- and cream-colored Aztec Sandstone cliffs have been used as a scenic backdrop for countless motion pictures and television programs. Rock climbers dot the crags and rock faces in this world-class climbing area, which features fossilized sand dunes and sheer rock walls. Thirty miles of easy to difficult hiking trails and a 13-mile paved, scenic loop drive offer additional opportunities to experience the grandeur of the site.
From central Las Vegas, travel west on Charleston Boulevard, which becomes State Highway 159 after 5 miles. Travel west 15 miles to the Red Rock Canyon entrance.
Visitor Activities
Mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, picnicking, archaeological site, birdwatching, burro viewing, interpretation, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, geologic sightseeing, and scenic drives.
Special Features
The most significant geologic feature of Red Rock Canyon is the Keystone Thrust Fault. Movement along this and other faults has forced older layers of sedimentary and metamorphic rock on top of younger ones. Many plants within the Mojave Desert are endemic species, including Joshua trees. Desert wildflowers, such as Mojave asters and desert marigolds, are plentiful in spring. Red Rock’s fauna includes desert tortoises and wild burros. Some rock faces feature prehistoric petroglyphs. A spring that flows year-round and a seasonally cascading waterfall are located at Lost Creek, a short, 0.3-mile hike from the visitor center.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
There is a per-vehicle site entrance fee, and a nightly fee is charged at the campground. Permits are required for back country use, sample collecting, commercial use, filming, rock climbing, special events, and weddings. Camping and climbing are prohibited at archaeological sites, including rock faces on which rock art is present. Climbing on or within 50 feet of any rock art is prohibited by law. Visitors should obtain a map at the visitor center.
The visitor center offers accessible restrooms and picnic tables. The Willow Spring picnic area (check the area map at the visitor center for directions)
has accessible tables and one accessible restroom. The following pull-offs have accessible restrooms along the scenic loop: Sandstone Quarry, Willow Spring, and Pine Creek Canyon. (See visitor center map for exact locations.) Accessible campsites and restrooms are also located at Mile 13 of the loop, at the Red Rock Canyon Campground.
Camping and Lodging
Primitive camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with 22 car sites and 5 walk-in sites. The Red Rock Canyon Campground is accessible from the loop drive and also from West Charleston Boulevard. Backpack camping above 5,000 feet along the Rocky Gap Road (see visitor center map) is also popular. The Red Rock Canyon Campground can accommodate RVs, but there are no hookups.
Food and Supplies
Other than drink vending machines at the visitor center, no food or supplies are available on-site. Supplies may be purchased in Las Vegas.
First Aid
There is no first-aid station on-site. The nearest hospital is the University Medical Center, 15 miles east on Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas.
Additional Information
Horses are available for rental via the visitor center. The visitor center also offers naturalist-guided walks, programs, talks, and a museum and gift shop. 
Contact Information
BLM - Las Vegas District Office
4701 North Torrey Pines
Las Vegas Nevada 89130
Tel: (702) 515-5000
Tel: (702) 363-1921 (Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center)

Red Rock Canyon NCA Photo

A majestic sandstone escarpment dominates the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Narrow canyons along the escarpment are popular day-hike destinations. (Peggy Hamlen (used with permission))

Red Rock Canyon NCA Map

Last updated: 10-23-2009