15 Best Things to Do in Red Rock Canyon, NV

Red Rock Canyon, NV
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Red Rock Canyon, fully known as the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, is a location you can find within the Mojave Desert in Nevada.

Located less than thirty minutes away from Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is best known for its various landscape features.

From red sandstone walls to long winding trails and climbing walls, Red Rock Canyon is an area rich in all sights related to stone and sand.

As an area rich in vast landscapes and panoramic views, Red Rock Canyon offers plenty of sights and activities for you to try.

Bearing this in mind, here are the 15 best things to do in Red Rock Canyon:

Have a Stroll around Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

White fences of Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
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Located in the Blue Mountain area and set adjacent to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

The Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is a historical site that dates back to the mid-1830s.

However, it was only received recognition as a historic area in 1976.

At this time, you can find many old buildings that go as far back as the 1860s.

Exterior of a house in Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
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Some of the old buildings featured in the park include the main ranch house, a chinchilla shed, and a blacksmith shop.

More than exploring old structures, the park features several trails you can hike around, plus picnic areas where you can relax and grill a meal.

During the summer, you have a chance to see outdoor performances.

If you're looking for some simple fun and exploration, the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is an ideal place to check out.

Trees in front of the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park's houses
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Experience Camping at the Red Rock Canyon Campground

The Red Rock Canyon Campground is the best place to visit for leisurely time outdoors.

You can find this venue by heading to West Charleston Boulevard.

When visiting the Red Rock Canyon Campground, you can find several amenities, including picnic spaces, shaded structures, and RV spots.

Aside from camp amenities, the campground provides convenient access to different trails and climbing walls for outdoor enthusiasts to explore.

It may not stand out  much in terms of options, but it does offer an ideal spot to rest and enjoy some sights.

If you want to set up camp at the Red Rock Canyon Campground, you need to make a booking first.

Go Hiking on the Calico Hills Trail

Sign pointing to Calico Hills Trail
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Among the different trails available in Red Rock Canyon, the Calico Hills Trail is a recommended trail to explore due to its several branches.

You can find the Calico Hills Trail running along the base of the Calico Rocks and starting at the Sandstone Quarry parking lot.

The main trail stretches 2-6 miles and is not an overly challenging trek for you to hike.

A woman hiking on Calico Hills Trail
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The trail mostly involves flatlands, but you can still find a share of rock formations and other interesting canyon sights when traveling it.

When it comes to the connected trails available on the Calico Hills Trail, there are the Calico #1 and Calico #2 trails,

Should you choose to travel these trails, you can find different overlooks and more hidden gem views of the canyon.

If you're looking to test out the available trails in Red Rock Canyon, the Calico Hills Trail is an ideal place to start.

People hiking along Calico Hills Trail
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Scale the Levitation 29

While there are plenty of places that people can hike through in Red Rock Canyon, there are also several places for rock climbing.

One of the many spots to try rock climbing in Red Rock Canyon is the Levitation 29.

The Levitation 29 is a climbing wall that gained its name from the eagle-shaped dark varnish in the middle of the wall.

It was in 1981 that someone first climbed this wall.

Currently, it is known as the best place for rock climbing in Red Rock Canyon.

The wall is a thousand feet high and sits above Oak Creek Canyon.

Whether you are a newbie or veteran of rock climbing, the Levitation 29 is a fun challenge to take.

Challenge Yourself with Ice Box Canyon Trail

Canyons along Ice Box Canyon Trail
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For those looking for a challenge in Red Rock Canyon, you need to traverse the Ice Box Canyon Trail.

Stretching nearly 4 miles and located at the heart of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Ice Box Canyon Trail is one of the most strenuous hiking options.

While hiking this trail is a challenge, it leads to a hidden gem in a box canyon.

Sunny day at Ice Box Canyon Trail
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That gem is a set of seasonal waterfalls that you can see from December to April.

The trail may not start difficult, but you will need to scale around boulders & loose rocks within the canyon to reach the waterfall.

It can take around two hours or so to reach the end of the Ice Box Canyon Trail, but you'll find plenty to experience when traversing it.

Plants along Ice Box Canyon Trail
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Climb the Rainbow Wall

Scenic view of Rainbow Wall
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To further explore the rock climbing spots available in Red Rock Canyon, check out Rainbow Wall.

Rainbow Wall is a natural feature you can find next to Mount Wilson and is visible from the Red Rock Canyon Campground.

The climbing wall stands around 114 feet above Rainbow Mountain and is accessible via the Pine Creek or Oak Creek parking areas.

Early morning view of Rainbow Wall
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It was in 1973 that Joe Herbst and Larry Hamilton climbed the wall.

Due to their climb, Rainbow Wall became a notable feature in Red Rock Canyon for hiking and rock climbing enthusiasts to experience.

Outside of being a spot to hike or climb, Rainbow Wall offers some beautiful scenery for photography.

Explore Calico Basin

Far view of Calico Basin
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Calico Basin is one of the many different areas in Red Rock Canyon where you can explore varying landscapes.

When visiting this area, you can find three lakes, which feed the fauna of the general area, or you can check out the nature trail.

To visit this area, you can drive to Calico Basin Road or check out the nearby natural features, like the La Madre Mountains.

A canyon facing the Calico Basin
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While you can traverse the Calico Basin Trail, which is an easy trail, there is one feature you need to check out in the Calico Basin area, and that is the Calico Basin Red Springs area.

It is one of three springs you can find at the base of the red stone cliffs of the area, and if you're looking to take a break, there is a picnic space with grills in the parking space.

By visiting Calico Basin, you can find something new to explore.

Sunny landscape of Calico Basin
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Travel the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive

Canyon views along Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive
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One of the best ways to see the best of Red Rock Canyon is to take a trip around the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive.

The Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive is a 13-mile road that takes through the varying natural features available in Red Rock Canyon.

Some of the landscapes you can see when traveling along this road include limestone cliffs and desert landscapes.

Scenic view along Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive
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The Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive is a paved road accessible to everyone and is in the shape of a horseshoe.

You can find the scenic drive off the north side of West Charleston Boulevard and travel around it as early as 6 a.m.

Whether you drive, hike, or cycle around the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive, you'll find plenty to see.

The road of Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive
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Seek Out the Bonnie Springs Ranch

Shops in Bonnie Springs Ranch
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Bonnie Springs Ranch is a historical location you can find below the Spring Mountains area of Red Rock Canyon.

Before becoming a ranch in 1952, the location was a stopover for wagon trains heading to California in the 1840s.

The ranch gained its name from its buyer Bonnie McGaugh and over the years, it had a horseriding area and restaurant added to the location.

Wooden wagon in Bonnie Springs Ranch
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By 1947, the ranch area gained an old western town replica, zoo, and motel.

Currently, there are plenty of facilities for you to enjoy on the ranch, including a swimming pool, a miniature train, and an open arena for rodeos.

You're sure to find plenty of fun when visiting the Bonnie Springs Ranch.

People walking around Bonnie Springs Ranch
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Find Wildlife at the Willow Springs

Name sign of Willow Springs
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Just as there are plenty of natural features for you to explore in Red Rock Canyon, there is plenty of wildlife you can seek out.

One of the best places to discover local wildlife is at Willow Springs.

A cave-like opening at Willow Springs
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Willow Springs is one of the many trails you can hike through in Red Rock Canyon, and it stretches for about a mile and loops around Red Rocks Wash.

When traveling along this trail, you have a chance to see bighorn sheep.

They generally wander about and don't bother travelers, but they make a fun commemorative photo of your trek through the Willow Springs Trail.

Landscape of Willow Springs
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Have a Picnic at Red Rock Canyon Overlook

Scenic view from Red Rock Canyon Overlook
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Once you've had your fill of activities in Red Rock Canyon, you can find several spots to take a break and enjoy a view.

Among these spots is the Red Rock Canyon Overlook.

Mountains around Red Rock Canyon Overlook
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The Red Rock Canyon Overlook is one of the many viewpoints you can find in the area and is a top spot for viewing sunsets and sunrises.

It is not as prominent as other natural spots you can visit in Red Rock Canyon, but it is an ideal spot for you to lean back and enjoy a gorgeous view of the sky.

Admire the Stars at State Route 160

Aerial view of State Route 160
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Another place you can enjoy a view of the sky is at State Route 160.

The State Route 160, fully known as the Nevada State Route 160, is a state highway that runs along the west-southwest side of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and provides access to darker spots in the area with gorgeous views of the stars.

The road of State Route 160
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There are plenty of spots for you to view the stars in Red Rock Canyon, and if you happen to visit during specific times of the year, you have a chance of seeing a meteor shower.

You can also check out local astronomy programs to learn more.

Check Out the Exhibitions at the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center

Exterior and entrance of Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center
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If you want to learn more about what the area has to offer, then the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center is the place to go.

You can find this center at the Scenic Loop Drive area and discover multiple exhibits to peruse.

You can find exhibits both inside and outside of the information hub.

Name sign of Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center inside
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Some of the displays you can find involve local fauna and geographical information.

For those looking to learn recommendations for the area, you can look to the staff to help with any inquiries.

Aside from local sights and activities, there are different programs you can check out.

Either way, you can find plenty to learn and browse at the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center.

Exhibit at Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center
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Take a Horseback Tour with Cowboy Trail Rides

Plenty of fun experiences are available for you in Red Rock Canyon, and one of them is horseriding.

One of the best ways to experience horseriding in Red Rock Canyon is to book a riding session with Cowboy Trail Rides.

With Cowboy Trail Rides, you can book two types of horseback tours and take a trip around the area for as long as two hours.

You can find the Cowboy Trail Rides stables at Fossil Ridge Road and around a dozen horses on the location.

By booking a tour with Cowboy Trail Rides, you can find a selection of hidden gems and see different fun sights.

Enjoy a Tour with Escape Adventures Bike Tours

A man resting on a bench with his bike
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An alternative way you can tour the Red Rock Canyon area is by booking a session with Escape Adventures Bike Tours.

Escape Adventures Bike Tours is one of many tour services that can give you a different look at Red Rock Canyon.

A person riding his bike along Red Rock Canyon
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More than getting a tour of different areas in Red Rock Canyon, Escape Adventures Bike Tours provides you with several activities to enjoy during your session.

If you are unsure of where to go or what to do first in Red Rock Canyon, booking a tour with Escape Adventures Bike Tours can help you out.

Final Thoughts

Anyone looking to explore the outdoors and discover hidden gems needs to visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

You can find no shortage of activities to do when visiting this red stone and canyon landscape.

Whether you want to take an exploration hike or climb through challenging landscapes, Red Rock Canyon is a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts to check out.