Into Nevada’s High Desert: Red Rock Canyon

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Besides Los Angeles, another destination that is (possibly) on top of the bucket list of someone who is traveling to the U.S. for the very first time is the city in the desert, sin city, the gambling hot spot, you name it: Las Vegas. Fair enough, and whether one has been to the states or not, we all know the famous saying: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

It was my brother’s wish to head to Nevada - and his wish was my command. 

On a Thursday night, after work, we left San Diego behind for a few days. It was an easy, smooth drive and after roughly five and a half hours, around midnight, we reached the city in the desert that was all lit up. 

Friday morning, a horrible breakfast, a ton of sunscreen on (and a triple espresso shot on ice later), we decided to explore the surrounding area and save the famous Las Vegas Strip for after dark. We hopped in the car, drove outside of the city for about half an hour, and reached Red Rock Canyon (for those who don’t make it to the Grand Canyon, haha).

We were honestly discussing the option of making a five to six hour drive to the actual Grand Canyon the next day and almost said: ‘Heck yes, let’s do it.’ - but we then came to a point where we figured it would be a waste of valuable time to drive 11 hours or so in one single day. And so we stuck to the ‘little’ Red Rock Canyon, which wasn’t all that bad, I have to admit.  

It was $7 to get into the park. There also is a visitor center with bathrooms and water fountains, as it can get pretty hot in the summer and you don’t want to take chances. Hydration is key. 

We had the most amazing weather, not too hot (believe it or not), a nice breeze, clear blue skies and a 13-mile drive ahead of us within the Conservation Area. 

Now, this park got pretty close to how I’d always imagined the ‘real’ America. 

Seemingly endless roads, rocks, mountains, desert - all in one. 

As awesome as the scenic drive was, my stomach (what’s new?) wasn’t all that amused. ‘Suck it up’, is what I kept telling myself. The various stops at the many vista points certainly helped. 

The continuously changing landscape is stunning. 

We drove slowly and soaked in the views. 

You also find miles and miles of hiking trails for all kinds of fitness levels, rock climbing opportunities, and horseback riding trails, for instance.   

We stopped just a few minutes after we had left the visitor center. 

This is exactly my idea of the Nevada desert. Pretty accurate. 

….and we were in the car again, windows rolled down, a big smile on our faces. 

I don’t know if it is just me, but when standing there, seeing this, I, for some reason, am thinking of the America hundreds and hundreds of years ago, with the Natives riding their horses, chasing buffaloes, living the prairie life. Too cheesy?

Maybe that’s how it was? Never know. 

The picture below is one of the best shots - I personally think. Just look at how breathtaking the landscape is. 

A couple hours later and a few more pictures richer, we embarked on the scenic ride back to sin city Las Vegas. 

No time to lose, we headed to our room and got ready for the Strip experience. 

But I will leave that for another post. 

All I can say at this point: Whenever you end up in Vegas, take the time during the day to visit the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. I had never heard of it before, but would return in a heartbeat - next time for some excessive hiking.