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Red Rock Canyon Nevada?
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James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
Red Rock Canyon Nevada? on 12/13/2010 08:24:54 MST Print View

Hey Guys!
Has anyone backpacked Red Rock Canyon National Rec. Area in Nevada? It looks like I'm going to be in Vegas for a conference in February and might try to add a couple of days and so a solo 24 nearby... Red Rock looks really beautiful (on the internet) and only a few miles away from the strip... Anyone backpacked this area in Feb? Advice, guidance, resources would be much appreciated. What will the water situation be like then? I checked topo, but finding it hard to pick a spot without some advice from someone who has already been there...

Also any other ideas for scenic backcountry 24s within (say) a 2-3 hour drive of Las Vegas? Probably looking for a 25-30 mile loop with some elevation and "Western" terrain (sandstone, formations, canyons). I've only ever hiked in Europe, Northeast, and Rockies, so this will be a new & exciting experience for me! Cheers!

Happy trails, James.

James Arriola
(Ravs4fun) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Red Rock Canyon on 12/13/2010 11:45:49 MST Print View


There are a lot of day hikes options in the Red Rock area but overnight backpacking trips are kinda limited due to water concerns and lack of long hiking trails. There are a few books about hiking/backpacking in the Las Vegas Area. One of them "Afoot & Afield: Las Vegas and Southern Nevada" is a pretty good one.

This is from the BLM website for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Backcountry camping is allowed within Red Rock Canyon NCA above 5,000 feet. A permit is required and can be obtained by calling: 702-515-5050. The backcountry area is remote with no drinking water or firewood for campfires. 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. Pets must be leashed at the visitor center and campground. 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 the Scenic Drive and in Willow Springs.

There is also one developed campground at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Being that Las Vegas is so close to so many outdoor recreation areas there are a couple of other places for a backpack trip including: Lake Mead NRA, Death Valley NP, Zion NP. In Zion the Coal Pits Wash area is a great place in the winter. It's lower in elevation so you don't have to worry about a ton of snow and ice like you do in the higher portions of Zion.

The MT Charleston area is a great backpacking area in the summer but during the winter it's covered in snow. You could do a great snowshoe winter backpack trip up there also.

Most of Nevada is under BLM jurisdiction so you have many areas in which to camp and backpack. Water will be your biggest concern.

Let me know if you have further questions. What conference are you attending in Las Vegas BTW?


Andrew Jennings
(breaktheshoal) - MLife

Locale: West of the Mississippi
Red Rocks Canyon on 12/13/2010 12:01:02 MST Print View

Hey James,

I wish I could give you more insight on Red Rocks (have never been myself), but I am relatively familiar with the area and have a few suggestions. From what I've seen/heard Red Rocks is beautiful and well worth checking out. However, that being said, it seems that a lot of people don't realize how close Las Vegas is to the Utah state border. In under two hours you can hit the Virgin River Gorge on Interstate 15, which is one of the most scenic drives I've ever had the pleasure of taking.

Again, I can't be a whole lot of help here because everytime I've passed through the gorge it was on my way to another destination (Bryce, Zion, Buckskin Gulch), but I know that there are day hikes right off the interstate. You might want to give the park rangers at the Bureau of Land Management (St. George Office) a call at (435) 688-3200. They were really helpful when I had questions about permits for the Paria River/Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area, and I have no doubt that they can steer you in the right direction.

Here's a link to their site:

If you don't mind driving a little bit further (four hours, one way) you can hit the southern entrance to Zion or head east just past St. George to go check out "The Wave". Lots of options if you're willing to expand your range...

Hope this helps!


James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
re: Red Rock Canyon Nevada? on 12/13/2010 13:22:02 MST Print View

Thanks, James & Andrew,
I'm (likely) attending a the Kagan Cooperative Learning Academy workshops, Feb 18-21. Just waiting for confirmation of funding from my school district. They have a teaching method designed to engage kids at the highest level using multiple intelligences and a bunch of other methods only another professional educator would be into (!)... :-)

Anyway, sounds like the water issues might be a challenge even for an overnight, either way. I guess I need to hit the maps and scout out two or three possibilities then zero in from there. I can probably build in a little bit more distance if I plan ahead - I'm probably adding 2 days before or after if I do this, so could always head out in the car in the evening of the last day, and hit the trail the next morning, 24 hours out, then head back to the airport from there. Perhaps another night at the airport then head back East. That's doable with a longer drive, I think.

Hey, thanks again, guys... keep the ideas coming! Cheers.

Happy trails, James.

Andy Schill
(Aschill) - F
re on 12/15/2010 08:54:08 MST Print View

I will be in Vegas middle of January for a conference and last year I went and checked out Red Rocks. Its pretty cool for a day thing, but like most everyone has mentioned there really isn't much backpacking there. Most I could find is a bunch of short trails, but I really didn't have much time to check everything out. The nice thing is, its extremely close to vegas. Neat area and cool scenery.

Red Rocks