Every page Red Rock Canyon Visitor Guide is filled with useful and stimulating information tailored to help you get the most out of your time at Red Rock Canyon. The guide covers a wide range of topics including a colorful history, extensive field guide to local plants and animals, and descriptions of popular activities such as sightseeing, auto touring, and the best hikes. The 208-page guide is designed to be user friendly and fit in a back pocket. Additionally, it has a rip-proof cover and sewn binding durable enough to withstand years of use.


History ~ Field Guide ~ What to Do ~ Climate~ When to Visit~ Accomodations



History

Many find the history section within the guide to be an indepth resource that brings the desert landscape to life. After a comprehensive discussion of how the stunning geologic formations came to be, the guide explores the different phases of Native American use at Red Rock Canyon.

  The Euro-American history at Red Rock Canyon is studded with wild stories of horse theifs, rogue bootleggers, pioneer ranchers, hopeful miners, and even big-budget movie productions. Indeed, southern Nevada's scenic treasure has been the set of numerous films including some big name actors, such as Robert Redford, Johnny Depp, Clint Eastwood, Gregory Peck, Tom Cruise, Roy Rogers, and Natilie Portman.

Field Guide

An invaluable resource while exploring Red Rock, the guide describes hundreds of the most common and conspicuous plants, animals, and fossils to be found within the conservation area. The descriptions focus on where to find certain species and how to identify them as well as presenting some remarkable features of Red Rock Canyon's desert creatures.

  From wild lizards and majestic mammals to Joshua trees, agave, and profuse spring blooms, the life at Red Rock is a diverse mix from the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. Some of the best known and dramatic creatures are bighorn sheep, ringtails, Gila monsters, chuckwallas, desert tortoises, roadrunners, peregrine falcons, tarantulas, and scorpions.

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Activities

Red Rock Canyon provides a wide variety of activities: world-class rock climbing, scenic horseback riding and mountain biking, and numerous exceptional hiking trails. Additionally, there are a number of more-casual and less time consuming ways to see the conservation area, including auto touring, sightseeing, and picnicking.

  Described within the guide are options for all expirence levels and interests. From laid-back visits to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, loacted within the conservation area, to high-engergy affairs at the lively Bonnie Springs Resort, the guide outlines great trips for families, couples, friends, and those traveling solo.

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Climate

Red Rock Canyon is located within the Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas, Nevada. The region is in the southern tip of the Great Basin and within the northeastern region of the Mojave Desert, one of the driest places in North America.

Rock Garden Trail Blue Diamond Hill

Local residents, Faye Rhea and Bill Porter enjoy sunshine and cacti in the desert while hiking on the Rock Garden Trail

  The little precipitation that does occur is in the form of late summer thundershowers and winter storms. Mountainous regions, such as Red Rock, receive considerably more precipitation than lower valley regions.

  The mountains are also cooler; the canyons of Red Rock are typically 10°F cooler than the Las Vegas Valley. Temperatures range from oppressively hot in the summer to bitterly cold in the winter. Due to low humidity, the air does not hold heat well. Between night and day, temperatures can vary drastically. Similarly, temperatures vary between shade and sun, especially noticeable on cold winter days.

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When to Visit

Generally, September to May is considered the best season for visiting Red Rock. August is still rather warm, with highs reaching above 100°F. December and January can be cold, and storms periodically cover Red Rock with a thin blanket of snow. However, during December and January, it is also common to have spells of beautiful, cloudless days with temperatures in the mid 60s.

Alkali

An akali mariposa lily blooms in late spring. Although uncommon, these beautiful flowers can be found in abundance near the easily accessable boardwalk at Red Spring.

  A bloom of wildflowers typically peaks in early May, but from late March until September wildflowers can be found.

  During summer thunderstorms, flash floods, while infrequent and often localized, can pose a hazard. The narrow, rocky canyons allow little infiltration, and runoff quickly forms into powerful torrents.

  The little precipitation that does occur is in the form of late summer thundershowers and winter storms. Mountainous regions, such as Red Rock, receive considerably more precipitation than lower valley regions.

  The mountains are also cooler; the canyons of Red Rock are typically 10°F cooler than the Las Vegas Valley. Temperatures range from oppressively hot in the summer to bitterly cold in the winter. Due to low humidity, the air does not hold heat well. Between night and day, temperatures can vary drastically. Similarly, temperatures vary between shade and sun, especially noticeable on cold winter days.

Dress for the Season

Although personal preferences vary and each activity has its own requirements, below are what most find comfortable:

  Spring: Pants and a T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt with a sweater on hand.

  Summer: Shorts and a T-shirt, a sun hat, and sunscreen.

  Fall: Pants and a T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt with a sweater and hat on hand.

  Winter: Pants, long-sleeved shirt, sweater, jacket, and hat.

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Accomodations

In the early 1980s, the idyllic Willow Springs was the spot to go for camping at Red Rock Canyon. Centrally located, it provided short hikes to areas of interest and had a communal feel. Since then, the campground has relocated many times, from a beautiful location east of Mount Wilson, to the east slope of Fossil Mountain near Blue Diamond village, and finally to its present location.

Alkali

Stunning rock formations can be found in the Calico Hills of Red Rock Canyon, only minutes from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.

  The most accessible developed campground in the vicinity of Red Rock is out of sight from SR-159, on the east side of Blue Diamond Hill (see map, inside back cover). Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Red Rock Canyon Campground has a 14-day limit and sites cost $15 per night. Sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis; reservations are not accepted. Each site can accommodate two vehicles, has a fire ring, picnic table, and access to water and toilets. Showers and utility hookups are not available. Although there is a resident caretaker, theft has been a problem in recent years. For site availability and additional information, call (702) 515-5371.

  Directions: From its junction with the CC-215, continue west on West Charleston Boulevard for 3.3 miles. Turn left onto Moenkopi Road, which leads 1.2 miles to the campground. If traveling from Red Rock, Moenkopi Road is on the right, 0.5 miles past Calico Basin Drive.


Four-walled options: Bonnie Springs, an ‘old Nevada’ themed hotel, is a good option. It is centrally located off SR-159, northwest of Blue Diamond, and has reasonable rates (See page 144). Call (702) 875-4191 for more information.

  Las Vegas offers a myriad of options, from $20-a-night motels to luxury resorts.

  Temporary house rentals in Las Vegas are becoming increasingly available from private owners and real estate managers; check the internet for information.

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