With the flashing lights and the chance of running into some of Hollywood’s hottest stars, it’s no surprise that most people head straight to the strip once they step off the plane at McCarran Airport. Las Vegas is synonymous with beautiful women, bright lights and all night parties, but hidden in the mountains just a short drive from the strip is a beautiful secret. If you’re looking for a break, something a little more serene, take some time out of your next visit to Las Vegas to take a drive through Red Rock Canyon.
Heading west from the city the mountains come into view, a striking sight of deep red clay rising from the desert sand. Just 20 minutes away, yet far detached from the city, a small sign welcomes you to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Once you’ve paid a very nominal entry fee (currently just $7 for a scenic drive day pass per car), you’ll drive along a 13 mile scenic loop that offers stop offs along the way. Small parking lots in about a dozen places along the scenic drive offer places to get out, stretch your legs and view the beautiful desert landscape and wildlife. These lots are also the starting point for the best that Red Rock Canyon has to offer – almost two dozen different hiking trails, ranging from short trails with wheelchair accessibility to longer trails that will offer adventure for even the most skilled hikers.
While the excitement on the strip is the experience of a lifetime for most, taking some time away from the never ending party to relax and unwind can be an unforgettable experience as well. The tranquility of a stroll through a trail in the canyon, the majestic dark red mountains surrounding you, if there’s a better hangover cure, I haven’t found it yet.