Hiking not Gambling in Sin City: Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas

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Las Vegas: The City of Sin.  Overconsumption of gambling, alcohol, and all things excess.  Including hiking and the outdoors? YES!

What some don't know about Las Vegas is that it has a thriving outdoor scene and community and it's located just minutes from the strip.
I have been out in Las Vegas for several work trips and while being there I have fallen in love with one of these places in particular: Red Rock Canyon.

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Red Rock Canyon is located about 30 minutes from the strip.  It's officially a conservation area so you'll get to pay a daily park fee upon entrance (that National Parks pass doesn't work everywhere friends!!).
The visitor center is located right at the entrance and you'll be able to get a lay of the land.  It's a 13 mile one way scenic drive with several places to stop and explore and zero places to get lost on the road!

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There is great climbing to be had in Red Rock Canyon and you can look at snagging a permit or going with the experts!  Climbing Guides R2C2 are one such example.
For me rock climbing is fun but it's also truly fascinating to watch climbers scale rock and make headway as I hike to and fro places!

The view from the end of  Calico Tanks Hiking Trail  is great; as are the beautiful red rocks for a place to rest your feet and enjoy a snack and some hydration! Red Rock Canyon gets HOT in the summer (as does all of Las Vegas) so be sure to bring plenty of water and if possible hike early and late in the day during the summer heat.

The view from the end of Calico Tanks Hiking Trail is great; as are the beautiful red rocks for a place to rest your feet and enjoy a snack and some hydration!
Red Rock Canyon gets HOT in the summer (as does all of Las Vegas) so be sure to bring plenty of water and if possible hike early and late in the day during the summer heat.

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One of the more popular hikes in Red Rock Canyon is Turtlehead Peak.  The trail is steep and a great morning workout!  I have made the summit twice; once with my brother and a group of postal service hikers (yep we met them on the trail!) and then again by myself prior to working at a trade show that day.

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Turtlehead Peak will make you earn it; but fun rewards await at the top!  There's a great hiking sign in book that lets you see where people are from and what number you are of the day.
I was in the first dozen to summit and number four the second time!
This hike is almost five miles RT and involves some minor rock scrambling but nothing technical.  It also gains close to 2,000 feet in elevation and while you will sweat it gets windy at the top!

Hiking poles recommended for hiking Turtlehead Peak, North Peak, and Bridge Mountain in Red Rock!

Hiking poles recommended for hiking Turtlehead Peak, North Peak, and Bridge Mountain in Red Rock!

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Summit views in the higher regions of Red Rock Canyon afford you views of the Las Vegas Strip; but it will feel galaxies away!
Even if you are coming to Vegas to party take a day and get out to Red Rock for some outdoor adventures.  You are guaranteed to win in Red Rock Canyon; unlike the slots or tables on the strip!

Turtlehead Peak in the distance.  It looks easy enough right?!

Turtlehead Peak in the distance.  It looks easy enough right?!

The Willow Springs Loop offers a relatively flat hiking trail that will allow you wonderful views of cacti like this!  For the more adventerous folks there is a mountain bike trail option to ride!

The Willow Springs Loop offers a relatively flat hiking trail that will allow you wonderful views of cacti like this!  For the more adventerous folks there is a mountain bike trail option to ride!

At the top of Turtlehead Peak

At the top of Turtlehead Peak

I love Las Vegas.  It's just not the Las Vegas that most picture.  The outdoor scene is thriving with places like Red Rock Canyon (which also has great kids programs, geology tours, and nature conservation volunteering opportunities).
It also has a wonderful music scene, the shows like LOVE and O are unforgettable, it has an easy to use airport to fly into and get to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Death Valley National Parks all within a few hours. And the food scene is pretty tasty!

The next time you are thinking about a trip to Las Vegas consider a day or two in Red Rock Canyon and some of the other amazing gems that Sin City offers that most don't think of.

Have you been to Red Rock Canyon or done other outdoor activities in Las Vegas?
Share in the comments below!  Thanks for reading and make sure you get on our email list. There are multiple good reasons to sign up in the footer for it.

Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,
Mike R and the Hashtag 59 Team

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