8 Fun Things to Do in Red Rock Canyon (+Photos)

If you’re ever going to be in Sin City and looking for something to do outside of Las Vegas, in only 30 minutes, you’ll find yourself passing through geological history and sandstone peaks. As one of the top attractions in Nevada, during my vacation to Vegas, I decided to make a 2-day trip to Red Rock Canyon.

While I enjoy gambling as much as anyone who visits Vegas, I still wanted to get fresh air and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city. From hiking the Calico Hills to helicopter tours, this natural area has much to explore, and I can’t wait to share my experience with you!

1. Hike Calico Hills

Calico Hills

Since hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities when exploring any part of nature, I wanted to explore Calico Hills as soon as I arrived. I took the Calico Tanks Trail, which ran from the base of the rocks to a breathtaking sandstone summit. This was quite a challenging hike, so I recommend only taking this trail if you’re an experienced hiker.

As I climbed Slickrock, I was rewarded with amazing views of the red hills, which began as dunes and are millions of years old.

2. See Ice Box Canyon

Ice Box Canyon

After hiking the Calico Tanks Trail, I made my way to Ice Box Canyon, a conservation area with red sandstone. While walking through, I noticed the canyon was narrow with gray-stripped, yellow, and white rocks, so I had a lot of fun scrambling about the area. Since I was visiting during February, once I navigated the boulders, I was able to spot a gorgeous Red Rock Canyon waterfall that I was amazed to see.

Pro Tip: If you’re a fan of bird-watching, I recommend bringing binoculars, as I did see a fair amount of quail, white-throated swifts, and mourning doves.

3. Visit the Lost Creek Waterfall

Lost Creek

As I mentioned earlier, I was pleasantly surprised to find a waterfall in the area, considering I was in Nevada. The Lost Creek waterfall is best visited between December and April, so given I was there in February, I came at the perfect time since the weather wasn’t too hot. I took the Lost Creek Trail, which was a short and easy route that would also be perfect for kids, where I was able to see various desert fauna along the way.

As I reached the waterfall, I was amazed by the emerging water that came from a rock chute. The falls were much taller than I expected, but it made Lost Creek an impressive hidden gem in the desert.

4. See Ancient Rock Art

Ancient Rock Art

If you’re a fan of ancient rock art, boy, do I have another must-see for you! The Canyon had a Petroglyph Wall where I could view some unforgettable displays of ancient rock art. While I was here, I was able to examine etchings of figures and animals. I highly recommend this spot if you’re traveling with family because it’s a great way to introduce your children to ancient history.

Pro Tip: Make sure you stop by the Visitor’s Center before visiting the wall so you can explore the exhibits that teach you about the Indian tribe that lived in the area some 800 years ago.

5. Go Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

As I made my way through the hiking trails, I saw other experienced hikers rock-climbing the cliffs. I made conversation with one of the visiting climbers and quickly learned this was a popular destination for climbing as it had climbing routes that were perfect for both beginner and advanced climbers. The boulders alone were enough to get me to climb, so I knew this was the next on my to-do list.

For routes and climbing guides, I went to the Visitor’s Center, where I was able to speak with the climbing staff, who gave me tips and the best locations to climb.

6. Do a Bike Tour

Bike Tour

As I knew I wanted to get several perspectives of the park, I decided to do a bike tour. This was equally satisfying as driving along Scenic Drive, which I’ll dive into next. I opted for the 3-hour bike tour, which took me to explore the scenic paths of Red Rock and Blue Diamond. The bike tour was incredible as we used electric bikes, which I thoroughly enjoyed because I could move at my own pace.

The bike tour included guides, water, a helmet, and an electric bike rental. The guides were terrific throughout the duration of the tour and were very knowledgeable, personable, and welcoming.

7. Hit the Road on Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive

The trip to Red Rock Canyon isn’t complete without driving along Scenic Drive. As a road that stretches for 13 miles, it was one of the best ways I was able to view the famous attractions of Red Rock. Since I had a car rental, I could see gorgeous landscapes and pass many trailheads.

If you want to see the canyon in all its glory, I recommend taking a drive just after sunrise. Since Scenic Drive required a timed entry ticket, I went online and purchased a Scenic Drive 1-day personal vehicle entry, which cost $20.

8. Do a Fly Over in a Helicopter

Fly Over

If you genuinely want to catch the best views of Red Rock Canyon, you MUST see it from a Bird’s Eye perspective and take a helicopter tour. While I made the trip solo, this activity would be perfect for special occasions or if you were traveling together as a couple. When I returned to the Las Vegas strip, I booked my tour, where we flew over the Mojave Desert and made our way to the lookout point.

While on board, I enjoyed a champagne toast as I overlooked Red Rock Canyon once more.

Pro Tip: I recommend scheduling your helicopter tour for the afternoon so you can see the beautiful sunset over the canyon.

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