Ask anybody what the best place is to explore nature in Las Vegas, and chances are they’ll say Red Rock. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a local gem, with gorgeous ruby-colored mountains framing winding trails. It’s perfect for hiking, biking, mountain climbing, watching wildlife and just enjoying the beautiful desert climate. The park is expected to attract over 4 million visitors this year, which breaks previous records, and more than 5 million visitors a year by 2025.

This summer, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which operates the recreation area, proposed raising prices for the first time in four years. Instead of paying $15 per car to access the 13-mile scenic loop, the proposal calls for a $20 price tag. Annual park passes would also rise, from $30 to $50.

In addition, the BLM wants to add convenience fees of $2 to $3 in order to reserve timed entry online or over the phone, which is only necessary during peak times and can be done up to 30 days in advance. While the fee hikes and service fees haven’t been implemented yet, they’ve got plenty of people complaining.

Is Red Rock Worth the Fee?

“The core basis of an amenity fees adjustment is to ensure the Bureau of Land Management meets its preservation, recreation, public enjoyment and visitor experience management goals identified in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision,” the Bureau explains. So without the fees, the area would cease to be the beautifully kept parkland that it’s known for.

The fee gets you access to explore the highs and lows of the canyon with your bike or vehicle, including plenty trailheads and scenic stops. There are 26 different trails for hikes that take you everywhere from the deep maze of canyons to the highest peaks, along ledges and chimneys, with chutes and gullies that lead you to a myriad of surprises.

There are also routes for climbers, from beginners to advanced rock scalers. The sheer rock faces and large boulders attract climbers from around the world, eager to test their skills. And riding your bicycle through the canyon is a perfect way to witness the beauty of the local flora and fauna up close. While you can’t ride your bike on the designated hiking trails, you have access to dedicated mountain bike trails, paved spur roads and the winding Scenic Drive.

So even at $20 per car — which is only $5 per person for a family of four — the price of admission would still be a bargain. In the meantime, now’s the time to enjoy the current lower prices, as the fall weather is perfect for outdoor activity in the Las Vegas Valley.

What Else is at Red Rock?

Red Rock Canyon, with its fascinating rock formations and vivid colors, is a source of amazement for geologists of all experience levels. The cliffs are made of Aztec Sandstone, and the red color comes from iron oxide or hematite. Exposure to the elements over millions of years caused these iron minerals to oxidize — so they are literally rusty. The resulting colors range from deep red and bright orange to rust brown.

You can take memorable photos of the beautiful landscape, wildflowers, cacti, and even burros, sheep, tortoises and other wildlife. You can discover fossils of corals, sponges, and prehistoric footprints of dinosaurs, mammals, and insects. The natural beauty makes this a popular site to get married as well. You can hold your wedding ceremony at either the Red Spring Picnic Area and the Red Rock Overlook.

Inside the Visitor Center you’ll find plenty of educational information about the wildlife, vegetation, geology, recreation opportunities, and cultural resources. There’s also a book and gift store operated by the non-profit Southern Nevada Conservancy.

And if you like to go camping, there’s a developed campground at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area which opened in 1998. It’s easily accessible, just two miles east of the Visitor Center on Charleston Blvd, and available to reserve at an additional fee. The campsite includes barbecue grills, picnic tables, trash collection, water tank and other amenities for your convenience.

What About Guided Tours?

If you prefer learning about a location as you’re led by a knowledgeable tour guide, Red Rock Canyon offers lots of different guided tours and events. All-day hikes and mountain bike tours let you experience various areas, take in the landscape at sunset, or explore fossils. Morning nature-focused sessions let you discover various forms of wildlife that are native to the Mojave Desert, from owls to bobcats to ground squirrels to bats.

The day-long hikes require registration, but are often free. So are the morning sessions, which allow you to just drop by the Visitor Center while they’re being held.

Let An Expert Guide Your Real Estate Journey

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area isn’t just for tourists and other visitors. Many locals love this location, and seek out a home in Summerlin or Northwest Las Vegas to be near it and take advantage of inspiring views.

If you’re looking for a home in the Las Vegas Valley, whether to live in or to use as a vacation or rental property, you’re in the right place. For help finding your ideal dream home in the entertainment capital of the world, look no further than community expert Dulcie Crawford. Dulcie is a native of Las Vegas with over 24 years of local real estate expertise. She understands the city and its trends and opportunities more than anyone.

Dulcie has watched Vegas rise and fall and rise again, and can help you pinpoint and locate the perfect home for you. To find out more about working with Dulcie and her award-winning team, or to get more information about the current housing market conditions, properties featured on this blog, or our Hot Market Listings, please contact Dulcie Crawford directly at (702) 505-2775.