Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Just 20 minutes from the bright and bustling Las Vegas strip, Red Rock Canyon can be a welcome respite from the crowds, especially in the spring or fall. (If visiting in summer, try to make it a morning expedition.)


Start at the visitor’s center, located at the start of the scenic loop drive. The Canyon Interpretive Association puts on occasional classes and programs, so check when you arrive. After orienting yourself to this large conservation area, hop in the car and start the loop drive, which takes you through red rock formations and canyon vistas. Families will find numerous locations to stop and take a trail. For young children, your best bet is the Lost Creek Children’s Discovery Trail.


Families with school-aged kids may want to try our favorite trail, Pine Creek. Located just two miles from the end of the scenic loop, Pine Creek starts with a decline into the canyon bottom and past the site of a historic settler’s cabin (just the foundation remains). After about a mile, the trail starts to incline, taking hikers along shaded Pine Creek. This creek is flowing year-round, and is lined with greenery including trees and ferns. It’s truly a special grotto in the heart of the desert! The entire trail is about three miles out-and-back, or there are numerous additional trails that stem from the same trailhead for more options.

Tip: be sure to look up…this canyon is well-known by rock climbers, and families may spot a few on the cliffs above.


Date last visited: October 2015

Distance off the interstate: 15 minutes from I-15.

Hours and Admission Prices: Hours are from dawn to dusk. Fees are by vehicle ($20 for an annual pass).

Bathrooms: Several along the Children’s Discovery Trail, pit toilets at trailheads


Directions: From I-15, take exit 34 to merge onto Bruce Woodbury Beltway/Clark County 215 W. Take exit 26 for Charleston Blvd, then turn left at W Charleston Blvd. Continue onto Charleston Bl/NV-159 W. Turn right.


About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.



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