Red Rock Canyon is part of the Red Rock Canyon Conservancy Area and encompasses a large part of the Mojave Desert, the unearthly landscape where Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic was filmed. Red Rock Canyon also includes the Spring Mountain Range, home of Mount Charleston and Bonnie Springs Old Nevada. Once the home of ancient Native American tribes, this magnificent canyon was formed by a thrust fault - a fracture in the Earth's crust where one plate is pushed horizontally over another - 65 million years ago. It is home to feral horses and burros (donkeys], as well as native wildlife such as desert bighorn sheep and coyotes, which you can see on the 13ml/21km Scenic Loop Drive. The Calico Vista points are good stopping points, offering great views of the crossed-bedded Aztec sandstone. For easyaccess to the sandstone, stop at the Sandstone Quarry car park where you can see large blocks of stone and other historic evidence of quarry activity that took place during the turn of the last century. You can have a picnic at Red Spring and Willow Spring, where there's also a Petroglyph Wall Trail, while there are also great views of wooded canyons and desert washes at Icebox Canyon, Pine Creek Canyon and Red Rock Wash. With 30mls/48km of trails, hiking, mountain-biking, horse-riding and rockclimbing tours are all available at Red Rock Canyon and cost from $69 per person. Stop at the Visitor Center at the entrance to the Scenic Loop Drive for touring and adventure activities information, trail maps and tours. Open 8am-4.30pm November to March, and 8am-5.30pm April to October. Costs $5 which includes scenic drive.
17mls/27km west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard (Highway 159)
Scenic Loop Drive
Open daily, changing by season, but generally from sunrise to sunset; Nov-Feb 6am-5pm, Apr-Sep 6am-8pm and Mar-Oct 6am-7pm. Entrance to the loop costs $5 for motorists and $2 for motorcyclists; free for hikers and cyclists. The 13ml/21km scenic drive is a oneway road. Cyclists are permitted to ride on the scenic drive, but must obey traffic laws. Sightseeing, photography and hiking trails are accessible from the designated pullouts and parking areas. If you would like to go hiking or rock climbing in Red Rock or Mount Charleston.