Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Red Rock Canyon

This one is not a restaurant, bar, or coffee house.  Imagine that. 

Sometimes when your are in Las Vegas, you just need to get out of the madhouse and regain your senses.  It is amazing how close Red Rock Canyon is to the madness of Las Vegas- and it is real.  Go ahead, touch the rocks- they aren’t Styrofoam or concrete, they are made of rock.

My preferred route is to head south on the Strip until I pick up Nevada 160 West, then head off on Nevada 159.  This route is about 30 miles, but I like it better than the direct route.  The drive starts out pretty boring, then gets depressing as you pass abandoned and near-abandoned housing developments- but then you realize you are out of the city, and things get better fast.  Views like this appear:

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Before long you will come to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, it is right off of Nevada 159.   Pay the $7 daily fee, take the scenic drive, maybe even stop and take some photos.  It is stark, and beautiful.

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Some people insist on “exercise” and other healthy things, if you are part of this wacky crowd, rumor has it that the area is great for hiking, biking, and especially rock climbing.  (As for me, I like my rocks visible out the window of air-conditioned cars, or in a glass of bourbon when I get back from the drive).

After visiting the canyons, you can continue on 159 for the shortest route back (about 20 miles), easing your way back into Las Vegasian sprawl.

I have made this adventure solo, and with friends.  I strongly encourage the latter approach: grab a couple of friends, get lost trying to find coffee and other needed road trip supplies, then head out into the desert.  They will thank you for it.

 

Jack

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