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Rockhounding Nevada
Rockhounds from novice to expert seeking agate, opal, jasper, and malachite, or searching for petrified wood and fossils, are likely to unearth these treasures in Nevada. Sparsely populated with millions of acres of accessible public lands, Nevada holds geologic wonders. The state's 94 best rockhounding sites are featured in this well-researched guidebook. Includes a list of museums of special geologic interest.    

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The Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway

Red Rock Canyon
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The Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway is a paved thirteen-mile drive through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area located just outside of Las Vegas. Red Rock Canyon is known for large red rock formations, which are part of a series of sandstone peaks and walls of the Kenyon Thrust. The walls of the Kenyon Thrust are up to 3000 feet high.

Despite its somewhat unfortunate name as a “backcountry byway,” the Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway is anything but remote and seldom visited. Due to the very close proximity to Las Vegas and its colorful rock formations, more than one million visitors a year drive the scenic byway and take advantage of the hiking, backcountry exploration and rock climbing the Conservation offers. Traffic varies between light to heavy, depending on the day and time of year.

There are numerous pullouts along the Byway. Some pullouts serve as trailheads. Others are for scenic views and vistas, with helpful interpretative signs provided to educate the visitor on the unique wildlife and rock formations in Red Rock Canyon.

Lots of Red Rock Along the Byway
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Cost of a day pass to drive the Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway as of 2010 is $7 or $3 if arriving on a motorcycle or bicycle. Additionally, the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive has limited hours. From November – February, hours are 6am to 5pm. In March, the drive is open from 6am to 7pm. From April to September, the drive is open between 6am and 8pm. In October, the drive is open at 6am and closes at 7pm.

There is a designated campground near the Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway, off Nevada State Highway 159. There is no camping allowed on the Byway itself. However, for those heading into the backcountry by horse, foot or 4x4, primitive camping is allowed. Additionally, primitive camping is allowed on the side-roads that lead into the vast BLM lands near the scenic drive.

Overall, anyone who is in Las Vegas and has access to a vehicle should take the short drive out to Red Rock Canyon and take the backcountry byway. It’s a worthy diversion away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.

Quick Facts About the Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway

  • Trip Length : 13 mile loop.
  • Road Type - The road is paved and in good condition for its entire length.
  • RV's / Campers? - Yes.
  • Services Available - Gas and supplies can be found in Las Vegas and all of the suburbs that sprawl across the valley.
  • General Location - Southern Nevada, just to the west of Las Vegas on Nevada State Highway 159, in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
  • Camping - There is a designated campground on Nevada Highway 159, a short distance from the scenic drive. There is no camping allowed or overnight parking allowed along the scenic drive.
  • Cost - $7 for passenger cars. $3 for bikes and motorcycles.
  • Hours - November - February: 6am to 5pm. March: 6am to 7pm. April - September: 6am - 8pm. October: 6am to 7pm.

Photos of the Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway

Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center Old Quarry Red Rock

More Photographs of the Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway

Map of the Red Rock Canyon Byway & Nearby Scenic Drives

Suggested Books

Benchmark Nevada Road & Recreation Atlas : This topographic map book shows ALL roads in Nevada. This book is a mandatory requirement if you'll be venturing off the main highways shown on the tourist map. Additionally, this book shows many historical sites, points of interest and recreation areas.

More Info at Amazon

Where to Stay

Lodging in Las Vegas More Hotels in Las Vegas
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