Whether you’re a frequent visitor to Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the World or you’re planning your êrst trip you might be surprised there’s a lot more to the Las Vegas area than you realize. Beyond the glitz and glitter, sparkling lights and 24 hour a day buzz – less than an hour away from the strip are two natural wonders of the world!
Red Rock National Park
We’ll start with the Red Rock National Park. You could literally be at the majestic park within 30 minutes from your hotel room. You could stay and explore the wondrous mountain ranges all day or spend the morning taking in the natural beauty before moving back to the crap tables or hotel pool.
The bottom line is if you’re in Vegas and don’t visit Red Rock you’re deênitely missing memories and experiences that will last a lifetime!
Red Rock Canyon features a one-way beautiful and scenic drive. There’s plants and wildlife, hiking and trails, camping, geology and lots more! When you start to explore, you’ll realize the vastness of this 197,000 acre visual delight that will pleasantly assault your senses.
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is situated in Nevada’s Mojave Desert. It’s immense red sandstone peaks (Some reaching 1,800 feet high), the Keystone Thrust Fault and Native American petroglyphs are a highlight. In fact, it’s considered
one of the top êve climbing destinations in America.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is located approximately 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip. Even though a lot of people are not even aware of its existence Red Rock receives more than two million visitors a year! Visitors have many choices and ways to experience Red Rock. Hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas and nature observing. The visitor center oéers indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as a great bookstore.
Before we go any further be mindful of the rules if you choose to experience Red Rock.
*Timed Reservations are required for vehicle entry to the Scenic Loop between 8am-5pm from October 1 through May 31 *
Timed Reservations are available online, along with daily entry passes, and visitors with an annual or lifetime pass can enter their pass type (Annual, Senior, etc.) during the “Order Details” section of the checkout process. If you would like to purchase an annual or lifetime pass during your visit, that option is also available under the “Add a pass” drop down menu.
Timed entry reservations can be made at Recreation.gov by visiting https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10075177, or by calling (877) 444-6777.
One day pass is $10/vehicle.
In 1990, the Nevada congressional delegation put forth special legislation
that changed the status of the Red Rock Recreation Lands to a National Conservation Area, the seventh to be designated nationally.
Red Rock oéers visitors an amazing experience. Before you visit you might enhance your journey by understanding some of the park’s remarkable history!
Red Rock Geological History
Red Rock has a dense geological history -which over millions of years created the park’s vivid landscape. The park’s history started way, way back in time. Would you believe the Red Rock area was under an ocean basin 600 million years ago?
Up to 9,000 feet of limey sediments were deposited and eventually lithiêed to limestone. During the Mesozoic Era some 250 million years ago, the earth’s crust started to rise due to tectonic shifts. As the basin became isolated evaporite formations of salt and gypsum were deposited. Oxidation of the iron minerals in the sediments resulted in the red colors of some of the rocks.
180 million years ago, the climate continued to change, and the area
eventually became a desert with immense expanses of huge shifting sand dunes. These dunes accumulated over a huge area, up to a half mile thick, and were lithiêed, cemented with calcium carbonate and iron oxides.
They developed as the colorful, majestic Aztec Sandstone.
VALLEY OF FIRE
Only an hour from the Las Vegas Strip lies one of the most spectacular State Parks in the United States! Valley of Fire covers 46,000 acres. The name, Valley of Fire was forged by the stunning red sandstone rock formations which illuminate the valley especially at sunset – making it appear as though the mountains are on êre!
Prior to Valley of Fire becoming a Nevada State Park a road was built
through the valley as part of the Arrowhead Trail to connect Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. In the 1920s, the “Valley of Fire” was named by a AAA oìcial who was traveling the road at sunset and reportedly explained that the entire region looked like it was on êre.
If you make the wise decision to visit Valley of Fire don’t miss visiting Atlatl Rock. This wondrous site in Valley of Fire that features amazing examples of prehistoric petroglyphs. Atlatl is a tool used to launch a spear, and ancient Indians carved symbols of the atlatl in the sandstone located at Atlatl Rock.
Don’t worry about ênding it. Once in the park, you will have no trouble navigating because there’s only one main road (the Valley of Fire Road). The road is also called the Valley of Fire Scenic Byway. It’s about 11 miles and connects both the east and west entrances of Valley of Fire State Park.
Like Red Rock, Valley of Fire has its own, unique history. Ancient petroglyphs were carved into red sandstone rock formations at Valley of Fire State Park by the Ancestral Puebloans living in and around the modern-day Moapa Valley area 2,500 years ago. By the mid 1860s, Mormon missionaries settled St. Thomas, where they began ranching, farming, and mining in the region. Interestingly enough, St. Thomas was ëooded by the waters of Lake Mead during Hoover Dam construction in the early 1930’s.
Valley of Fire park is open daily, except for Christmas, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Day passes are $10/vehicle for Nevada residents and $15/vehicle for nonresident vehicles.
In terms of camping at the park there are additional fees and are êrst come, êrst serve. There are two campgrounds with a combined total of 72 units.Campsites are equipped with tables, grills, water and restrooms, showers.
For further information you can reach:
Valley of Fire State Park
29450 Valley of Fire Road
Overton, Nevada 89040