The Mojave Desert in Nevada is the home of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. With almost 196,000 square miles, this muttnificent, multipurpose park is just 20 miles west of Las Vegas and is a woofderful way to spend a day away from the bustle of The Strip. Favored by locals as well as visitors, Red Rock features outdoor activities for adventurous humans and their dogs, including a furrific driving tour, hiking trails, bicycling, wall climbing, and camping.
The 13-mile Scenic Drive, a paved, one-way road that loops out into the heart of the desert, is one of the park’s biggest attractions. It provides incredible views of the Aztec Red limestone mountains, ledges, and 1,000-foot cliffs. A short walk from the Drive are wildflowers and other desert plants, and the creatures that live there. The road is dotted with turn-outs where you can park the car and enjoy a long look, take photos, or launch an exploration with Fido, who must remain leashed everywhere in the park. Most of the turnouts also offer rustic restrooms, with more modern facilities available at the Visitor Center.
The park boasts furtastic trails and offers comprehensive trail lists and maps on its website to help you plan your day. If you and Fido are feeling the heat, you can take a breather at the Ice Box Canyon Trail, where you’ll find cool relief from the sun within its tall canyon walls. Or take a short stroll from the picnic area parking lot to a canyon wall featuring ancient Native American petroglyphs depicting life in the desert 800 years ago. And try the Moenkopi Loop Trail, an easy, 2-mile hike that offers high and low desert vistas where you can get up close.
If you and your fur baby want a longer stay, the campground two miles from the park entrance is the pawfect spot. It accepts RVs and tents, and each site has a shelter. Vault toilets are available but no showers. However, there are drinkable water stations throughout the campground, which is closed during the hot, dry summer months from June to September. The park is open all year.
A reliable water source should top your list of safety precautions for desert exploration. Wear layered clothing to accommodate whatever Mother Nature throws at you, and remember the desert gets very cold after dark. You may want to bring a first aid kit, sturdy shoes, and perhaps protective booties for the doggo. Be aware of flash floods that are common during rain showers. Cell coverage is spotty at best, so don’t rely on it for emergencies. Bring and use sunscreen for you and the doggo, and respect the wildlife you see. And don’t furget waste bags and picking up after Fido. It’s just good manners and good conservation.
While the desert may not have been part of your original plan for traveling to Sin City, a visit to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area could give you and Fido the breather you need from the flash and cash!
New adventures are exciting, but they can sometimes result in an injury. Before visiting Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, compare pet health insurance plans to keep your fur child in the best “pawssible” shape for all your outdoor adventures!