Red rock canyon is just 20km from Las Vegas and takes roughly forty minutes to reach. It has this wild beauty (that in some respects has been significantly tamed) that you’ll probably only have previously seen in those old westerns. So if you’re on holiday in Las Vegas or visiting Nevada and looking for a fun day trip with kids, here are our 5 reasons to visit Red Rock Canyon with the children.
Red Rock Canyon With Kids As A Day Visit
The plateau of Red Rock Canyon is immense and flat and the rocky mountains that surround it are rugged and colourful. The scale of it was mind-blowing and if you’ve never been to America before take my word for it, that even in comparison to Australia, the distances are immense. It gives a totally new perspective on distance and we can now understand why western films are so popular here.
The area boasts 600 types of plant, including the Joshua tree which is a funny prickly looking thing and animals range from tiny lizards and frogs through to the docile burros (donkey). In the summer there are warnings for scorpions and rattlesnakes but don’t worry, it’ll probably be far too hot for you to visit in summer!
1. The Entrance Fee Is Negligible
The entrance fee is $7 per car which in American prices is ridiculously cheap. If you get there early in the day with a picnic you could spend ALL day there exploring and climbing the rocks (none of which are out-of-bounds). There is certainly enough to do to spend an entire day there.
To put that price into context, our Los Angeles and San Fran hotels charged $22 and $26 parking fee per night!
2. Pick Up A Free Pack At The Discovery Centre
If you stop off here first and speak to the guys behind the desk, you can get junior park rangers’ books and badges for the kids.
The books are filled with fun activities for the kids to do, including crosswords, word scrambles, animals to look out for, animal prints to learn and colouring in.
At the far end of the centre is a glass observation window of about 10 metres in width which gives a phenomenal view over the park.
3. The Scenic Drive
All of the hikes lead off the scenic drive which is a 13 mile/20km one way road around the Red Rock Canyon Park. If you’re feeling particularly lazy you don’t have to hike at all as there are ten separate car parks around the drive that you can stop off at and admire the view from.
4. Which Of The 26 Red Rock Hikes Will You Choose
There are over twenty-six hikes in this area and you can even climb many of the rocks without doing a hike.
If you’re hiking, my advice would be to stick to the east of the park and concentrate on the Calico trails, the sandstone quarry and turtle head peak.
These are the more interesting hikes and certainly more enjoyable than the kids walks to the west of the park which we found far too basic.
5. Stay For The Sunset Over The Canyon
As the sun sets over the valley, I recommend that you take up position past Pine Creek Canyon. It’s on the final stretch of the road before leaving the park. The red rocks glow a deep red colour which makes them look magical.
Top Tips On Visiting Red Rock Canyon (As A Day Trip) With Kids
- Take cash for the entrance fee
- Prepare a picnic to take with you. It gets really hot in the summer so take enough water.
- You will need good footwear with a good tread. Many of the rocks are worn and slippy.
- Consider taking a hat for the summer months. It is the desert after all.
- In the winter, especially when the sun dips behind the mountains it can get cold as of 3pm. Layers make it warmer but I’d recommend jackets/coats.
- Do not forget to lock your car. There have been reports of opportunist thefts.
- If you can, take some binoculars. There are many bird species to spot.
- Avoid the easy and easy-moderate walks as these are really easy. We did the Lost Creek and Fire Ecology and even though the walk recommended it would take 55 minutes we had completed them in under 20 minutes and we even ran the Fire Ecology to make it more interesting.
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What else can you do in the area?
If you’re looking for more ideas in America, check out some of these posts