Adventures in Las Vegas’ Backyard: Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Walking into Red Rock overlook

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an outdoorsy person. Something I read a while back resonated quite strongly with me:

“I am outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios”.

RIGHT?! Seriously. Amen to the person who thought of that phrase.

But when you’re visiting destinations that are famous for their accessibility and their outstanding natural beauty (I’m looking at you, Iceland), you make a goddamn effort and you put on your ugly hiking boots and you go. And, of course, you end up being floored at how stunning our planet can be and completely forgetting about your initial reticence.

That’s exactly what happened on my Red Rock Canyon tour from Las Vegas. I was worried I hadn’t packed the right clothes, that there would be hiking involved (a situation where my lack of motivation rivals that of my talent, and where I am inevitably shamed for being so far behind the other hikers) or that I would end up being bitten by a giant snake and die on the spot.

None of those things happened. As expected.

Instead, I was wheeled around Red Rock Canyon in a luxury, hot pink limo-jeep. Now THAT I can get behind.

Red Rock Canyon Tour from Las Vegas – In Photos

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Calico Hills

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Calico Hills

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Calico Hills

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

The Red Rock low mountain where I sat down to admire the details.

 

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

The many, many layers of limestone in Calico Hills – red stone is due to the presence of iron oxide.

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Blinded by the sunlight on Red Rock overlook

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

These CRAZY people are free-climbing the rocks!

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Wilson Cliffs

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Snapshot from the scenic loop drive

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Beautiful details along the scenic loop drive

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Mind the tortoises!

 

My guide, Bob from Pink Jeep Tours, brought incommensurable value to the tour – not just because he drove me around (although that was definitely a big bonus, as you know) but because he was immensely knowledgeable about the desert, its inhabitants – of the human, vegetal and animal reigns – and its history. Did you know, for example, that:

  • The canyon isn’t nearly as desolate as it seems; in fact, it is teeming with wildlife, from birds to mammals – coyotes, tortoises, bobcats, foxes, mountain lions and small herbivores like cottontail rabbits and bighorn sheeps all thrive in the area – in addition to snakes, lizards and a large variety of birds.
  • The sand dunes in Calico Hills were fossilized millions of years ago, and preserve ancient species and vegetation that once thrived in the canyon. In fact, the Red Rock area has one of the most complex geological histories in the United States.
  • The so-called “Red Rock Canyon” could actually be pink, orange, white, tan – for the colors vary depending on the time of the day and the intensity of sunlight. In the four hours I spent there, the landscape’s hues changed considerably.
  • The canyon, especially around Spring Mountain range, has lush vegetation as far as desertic landscapes are concerned; that’s because there are many springs in the area, which is what attracted Native Americans in the first place, somewhere around 10,000 BC. There are fascinating hand-shaped petroglyphs in Willow Springs to prove that.

Sitting comfortably in the back of the massive pink jeep, I admired the splendid open views of Wilson Cliffs, Calico Hills and Willow Springs during the 13-mile drive from my hotel on the Strip. This part of the world – desertic south-western USA – was completely new to me, and I firmly intended on making the most out of my discoveries. Which I believe I did, judging by the impressive amount of photos I took.

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Willow Springs

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Willow Springs sculptures

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Willow Springs flora

 

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

The famous Willow Springs Native American pletogryphs – can you spot them?

Red Rock Canyon tour with Pink Jeep Tours - ToEuropeAndBeyond.com

Stunning light and limestone in Willow Springs

Red Rock Canyon Tour from Las Vegas – What Should You Expect?

I needn’t have worried about proper footwear or my hiking skills, as the tour doesn’t feature all that much walking – just enough so that you get a good feel of the place, but not so much so that it becomes tiresome. Regular walking shoes (sneakers or similar) will be perfectly fine, although you definitely want to opt for laced or closed-off shoes to avoid pesky branches from scratching your feet.

Just bring your camera, sunscreen, and hat – you’re good to go!

This Red Rock Canyon tour was a fantastic way to spend a few hours while in Las Vegas – it was incredible to see such a rugged, unspoiled place so close to one of the most iconic cities in the United States. Not only did I enjoy myself immensely (as demonstrated by the photos above), I also learned a great deal about desert life and all that it entails. Not to mention that I got to tick off yet another item on my bucket list by setting foot in the iconic American South-West :-) Many wins, such wows.

I visited Las Vegas on behalf of Expedia Canada, and in all honesty, I cannot recommend this Red Rock Canyon tour enough. All opinions are my own, as you know.
 

2 Comments on Adventures in Las Vegas’ Backyard: Red Rock Canyon

  1. Ray
    October 21, 2016 at 9:01 pm (11 months ago)

    Glad to see someone promote Red Rock Canyon as potential “off-the-beaten path” adventure while you are visiting Las Vegas. Everytime I read other bloggers write their “Top 10 Things to Do in Las Vegas,” almost no one ever mentions Red Rock Canyon. And that is an utter shame given how beautiful the Southwest can be with its many State Parks!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      November 4, 2016 at 4:15 pm (11 months ago)

      That’s such a shame! The park is so close to the city.

      Reply

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