First Desert Ramble...

Las Vegas Travel Blog

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View towards Red Rcoks Canyon from Old Nevada

Everybody rousted around 8:30 AM and my waking thought was “dang, only four hours sleep”…until I realized we actually hit the sack at 2AM (despite it being 4AM on our home town clocks).  It was a lazy start and we didn’t strike out until two hours later…


My wife & I love to hike, but rarely get the chance any more since we have failed to inculcate a similar yearning in our offspring.  Regardless this desire tilted our itinerary towards many stops outside the city to sample the environs.  Our first day was a road trip west of the city, with planned stops at an “old west” town, Old Nevada, and a visit to Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area.


We headed off and stopped at a McDonald’s for breakfast.  The joint was conjoined with a local convenience store chain named Terribles, lol!  What motivated us choosing McD’s was a quick realization that civilization was rapidly evaporating as we motored away from the city.

Hangin' at Old Nevada
  Our trepidation proved correct, as there was zilch after this oasis, and we gained an astonishing glimpse into life around Vegas.  The convenience store actually had slot machines in it…and they were being aggressively patronized!  Certainly something we were not accustomed to.


Despite quickly transitioning from big city to utter desert wasteland, it was remarkably brief before we came upon exit signs for Old Nevada.  Among the days first arrivals, we paid $10 for our carload and happily parked beneath the last of three trees in the parking lot that promised some relief from the baking sun.

We walked to the “train depot” and caught a ride on a ridiculously wee steam train that chugged about a quarter mile to Old Nevada (we realized during this ride that we could have driven right up to the town and bypassed the train ride…but it was all part of the experience).

Kim at red Rocks Canyon


Old Nevada proved to be great fun…but only because of the cheap admission.  Everything was run down and in some state of disrepair, but who could complain at ten bucks for a party of four?  We sat through both the indoors “Western melodrama” and outdoors “bank robbery and hanging” productions with amusement.  Very cheesy, but the crew was very aware of this and provided some good chuckles.


There are quite a few run down buildings on the site and petting zoo here as well…although nothing that provided any genuine entertainment or history of the area…so it wasn’t long before we disembarked to hit Red Rocks Canyon.


Our tourist literature touted this as a natural wonderland, and we were confused by the absence of any signage despite it appearing to be very near to Old Nevada.  What we did see were signs discussing a “BLM” area with similar characteristics, but nada for Red Rocks.  Of course we soon scooted past a large boulder which had “Red Rocks Canyon” chiseled across it.  I drove down the road a bit and pulled a u-turn to rebound and we eventually deciphered that BLM = Bureau of Land Management…so I’m sharing that tidbit in hopes of saving someone else the frustration!


A pretty basic natural park with nothing beyond an entrance gate and a thirteen mile scenic loop you can drive.  It is nice that the loop is entirely one-way, so you don’t have to worry so much about traffic as you enjoy the scenery (if you were the driver, as I was), but it didn’t astonish.  My wife and I felt it was a poor man’s Sedona, a beautiful place but not a must-see destination.


There are several trails in the park and Eric had volunteered to stay at the resort one day with Spencer so Kim & I could fulfill our hiking desires…so we tentatively approved this as a return destination for Thursday.  We soon completed the park loop…and then the bigger loop back into Vegas.  We were surprised at the time listed to acquire these two places until we returned --- if you approach from the south and take the Blue Diamond Parkway it is very quick.  Alas, the northern approach runs along Charleston Boulevard into the main city…and of course that means a boat load of traffic along a road plagued with red lights.

The good news is that we chanced upon a P.F. Chang’s along Charleston and immediately pulled off for lunch!  I won’t bother to review this well known eatery, but of course we enjoyed a splendid Chinese meal!


After lunch we plodded along back to the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) and got to s-l-o-w-l-y navigate back south to our resort.  The Strip is where all the action is…all of the over-the-top casinos are located here and on a Saturday afternoon I can guarantee you mucho traffic and a slow crawl.

mightor20 says:
visiting redrock was the best part of my visit in vegas aside from seeing my parents for the first time after three long years. wasn't able to hike since it was still winter. will be back in august and hope to hike here. nice blog. :)
Posted on: Jun 22, 2010
vances says:
Nope, just eating 'em......
Posted on: Aug 15, 2007
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View towards Red Rcoks Canyon from…
View towards Red Rcoks Canyon fro…
Hangin at Old Nevada
Hangin' at Old Nevada
Kim at red Rocks Canyon
Kim at red Rocks Canyon
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