Guided Tours at Red Rock Canyon

Bureau of Land Management

Many visitors would like to enjoy Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Canyon on a tour.  Below is a listing of commercially operating guides which have permits to operate within Red Rock Canyon.  If you or your business would like to conduct business within Red Rock Canyon, you must first obtain a permit to do so.  Please call (702) 515-5361.

Guided Jeep Tours
Pink Jeep Tours (702) 895-6777
Las Vegas Rock Crawlers (702) 376-6214

 

Guided Hiking Tours

Escape Mountain Bike Adventures (800) 596-2953
Jackson Hole Mountain Guides
(800) 239-7642
McGhie’s Blue Diamond Bike Outpost (702) 875-4820
Las Vegas Summit Adventures (804) 654-4453

 

 

Guided Bicycle Tours
McGhie’s Blue Diamond Bike Outpost (702) 875-4820
Escape Mountain Bike Adventures (800) 596-2953
Cycle Vegas (702) 300-1626
Bike Blast (702) 744-8088

 

 

Electric Bike, Segway and Scooter Tours
Red-E Bikes (702) 544-4261
Segway Las Vegas (702) 596-1111
Red Rock Scooter Tours (702) 800-3315
Scoot City Tours (702) 699-5700

 

 

Guided Horse Rides
Cowboy Trail Rides (702) 387-2457
Red Rock Riding Stables (702) 875-4191

 

 

Guided Technical Climbing
American Alpine Institute (360) 671-1505
Jackson Hole Mountain Guides (800) 239-7642
Mountain Skills (702) 325-1616
National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) (800) 710-6657
Red Rock Climbing Center (702) 254-5604

 

 

 

Climbing at Red Rock Canyon

Bureau of Land Management

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the finest rock climbing areas in the world.

If you have never climbed at Red Rock Canyon and are unfamiliar with route locations, a climbing guide is available with photos, route descriptions, and directions to provide you a brief idea of where to find established traditional and sport routes.  There are also two additional guide books with extensive route information available in local climbing shops.

For detailed information, please refer to any of the three guide books for Red Rock Canyon:

If you would like to contact any of the climbing staff at Red Rock Canyon, please call (702) 515-5358.

Rules and Regulations

The 13-Mile Scenic Loop is a day use area only.  Late exit permits are available by calling (702) 515-5050.

  • The late exit permit allows you to be in the scenic drive area as long as two hours after the closure of the area.
  • Camping is permitted at the developed campground two miles east of the visitor center on (W. Charleston Blvd) State Route 159.  Camping is not permitted on the 13-Mile Scenic Drive.
  • If you want to sport climb and the parking lot of the area you choose is full, go to the next parking lot and hike back to the desired location, or choose another area.
  • Respect other climbing parties! Some of the more popular long routes get crowded.
  • Allow for space between parties above and below you on the wall.
  • Allow faster parties to climb through.

Rock Type

The main type of rock found in Red Rock Canyon here is Aztec (or Navajo) sandstone, formed years ago through the natural cementing of ancient sand dunes.  The rock at Calico’s 1 & 2, and Sandstone Quarry are the focus of sport climbing.  The rock of the main escarpment possesses a greater cementing factor and is considered to be a good quality sandstone.  The black or varnished rock is generally considered to be the hardest.

Keep in mind however, it is still sandstone.  Because of its friable (crumbly) nature it must be approached with a greater degree of caution than a more dependable rock such as granite.  We suggest waiting 24 to 48 hours after major rains or snow to allow the rock to dry sufficiently for climbing.

Ratings

Routes in Red Rock Canyon are rated via the Yosemite Decimal System.  All class V routes (those involving the use of protection) in Red Rock Canyon range from 5.0 (easiest) to 5.14 (most difficult.) These ratings are based on the skills, abilities and opinions of those climbers that have ascended each specific route.  If you are not familiar with this rating system or are unsure of what level you and your abilities fit in, be sure to choose your first ascents in Red Rock Canyon with care. Red Rock Canyon offers hundreds of established sport and traditional climbs, from Grade I (1-2 hours) to Grade VI (spending 2 or more nights on the route).

Access

Many routes in Red Rock Canyon  require significant walking, hiking and scrambling to reach them.  Keep this in mind when planning for your climbs, not only as a time constraint but also in terms of water.  Red Rock Canyon is located in the Mojave Desert, and even if it is not scorching hot, the air is still very dry.  You should always bring a surplus of water to stay hydrated.

If you need access to the 13-Mile Scenic Drive to stay late, call (702) 515-5050.  A two hour late pass can be issued, depending on the climbing route.  Overnight passes can be given for grade V routes.  This pass allows you overnight parking along the scenic drive for the given number of days.  If you leave your vehicle parked along the scenic drive without a permit, your vehicle will be cited and possibly towed at owners expense.

Overnight camping is allowed at the developed campground two miles east of the visitor center on W. Charleston Blvd (State Route 159.)  Camping along the base of the main escarpment or in any canyons is prohibited. C amping is also allowed on bivies on specified routes.

Important Safety Tips 

  • This is the desert; winter can be very cold and snow is not uncommon in the winter months, In the summer months temperatures can reach an excess of 110 ° F (43 ° C) . Summer storms can cause very cold conditions on long backcountry routes, and canyons can flash flood, without warning.
  • There are poisonous animals in Red Rock Canyon.  Rattlesnakes, black widows, bees, wasps, and velvet ants are all creatures to keep a distance from.
  • Sandstone is naturally porous and friable rock.  It is a local request that routes are given 24 hours to properly dry.  This helps to protect existing routes from key hold breakage.
  • Bolting along the main escarpment, which is a wilderness area, is illegal and should not be done.  Bolting is legal along Calico 1 & 2 but should be done only after consulting the climbing staff, a local climbing shop, or the Las Vegas Climber’s Liason Council.
  • Lock your vehicle while climbing and do not leave tempting or valuable items in plain view.  Do not leave your wallet in the car at all, even hidden.

Please

Respect the natural and cultural resources of this beautiful land, leave all natural features just as you found them.

  • Don’t litter, pack out what ever you pack in.  Practice, “leave no trace ethics” and do not leave your toilet paper or cigarette butts behind.
  • Don’t build any ground fires, or cover your own stove, cook only with a barbecue grill.
  • Respect the rights of other visitors to enjoy Red Rock Canyon.
  • Climbing is prohibited on or within fifty (50) feet of cultural sites.

Bivy Permits
You may get a overnight bivi permit for routes on Mt. Wilson, Levitation Wall, Rainbow Wall,  Bridge Mountain, Hidden Wall and the Buffalo Wall.  The bivi permit does not allow you to camp in the canyons, but it does allow to you stay on the wall.  The following is a list of all areas that will be available for one or two night bivi permits. These permits are for on route, or summit bivies only.

  • Mount Wilson : All routes on Mt. Wilson are available for a one night permit.
  • Levitation Wall : All routes on Levitation Wall are available for a one night permit.
  • Rainbow Wall : All routes on Rainbow Wall are available for a one or two night(s) permit.
  • Buffalo Wall : All routes on Buffalo Wall are available for a one, two, or three night(s) permit.
  • Bridge Mountain : All routes on Bridge Mountain are available for a one night permit.
  • Hidden Wall : All routes on Hidden Wall are available for a one night permit.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

Take a Hike – Turtlehead Peak

By Tom Pfaendler

It was an early winter morning. Icy grey light filtered through low clouds illuminating the massive rock face in threatening detail. I had arrived with the proper hardware for the ascent. Communications, GPS and clinometer were all in working order. The radio crackled with current weather conditions, and it became apparent that the climb was a go. There could be no turning back now.

But was I ready, mentally? I had been training several months for this… Yes, I was ready. Mt. Everest? K2? Half Dome? No, worse… This was Turtlehead Peak!

I locked up my old truck in the Sandstone Quarry parking lot, mingled with the crowd for a few minutes, and then without any deserved fanfare, struck out for the mountain. The trail to the peak starts out deceptively well marked with cute little square signs that cheerfully say, “Turtlehead Peak 2.5 miles, have a nice day”.

My inner Sam Kinnison is screaming “Yea, two and a half miles, STRAIGHT UP!! AAGH, AAAAAGH” But, once you commit yourself to a challenge like this, you must focus only on the goal and ignore those little voices of reason.

A stop at the old Sandstone Quarry (You can be pretty sure that Fred Flintstone worked here) to stretch your legs is a great idea. From here the path continues north through the rocky Brownstone wash, then up along a little ridge and right over the top of an ancient agave roasting pit. The imposing Turtlehead Peak looms overhead, however a massive vertical ravine now lies between you and the mountain.

You stop seeing those cute little trail signs about halfway to the ravine, but it really doesn’t matter because there is only one way you can go from here and that’s UP!

The ravine is an obstacle course of boulders, loose gravel, falling people and braided trails, but you are focused on goal number one… the ridge line at the top of the ravine. It’s the obvious gateway to the peak but it’s very effectively guarded by the obstacle course. You need to reach the ridgeline at all costs.

Never mind those people sliding downhill who are saying things like “it’s worse coming down than goin’ up”. Never mind those euro-tourists who whiz around you like you were standing still. You are focused! Speaking of standing still, this climb is a terrific aerobic workout equal to several trips to the gym; therefore you need to monitor the ol’ heart rate as you ascend. Be sure to rest often and of course drink plenty of water along the way.

Once you crest the ridgeline feel free to do a little victory dance and then take a long break to catch your breath. The peak is still high above and those voices in your head are saying things like “what was I thinking?” and “I’m not sure I can make it”.

But, you’ve come this far, so with sore and wobbling legs, you start off again in the general direction of UP! Now, normally I despise Cairns, those little piles of symmetrically stacked rocks (SSR’s) that we gleefully knock down everywhere, but here at the ridge line they are welcome indeed for some helpful guidance through a mountainous outcropping of boulders. The remaining climb up the north side of Turtlehead Peak is much nicer than hiking in the ravine. The path is soft and welcoming all the way to its rocky summit.

As the 6,323’ limestone peak surrenders to your tired and determined legs, the great panorama comes into view and victory is finally yours! The feeling of accomplishment can be overwhelming.

It’s not unusual for people to do a Rocky-style dance at the summit, so go ahead, you’ve earned it! From this limestone peak you can enjoy a birds-eye view of the Red Rock escarpment, the Calicos, the secluded Brownstone Canyon, the entire Las Vegas valley and the snow capped La Madre Mountains.

Plan on spending some time here. Enjoy a backpack lunch, check out the old pine and juniper trees, and be sure to sign the logbook you’ll find in the green ammo can. It’s fun to read the comments of others that have ignored the little voices of reason.

Turtlehead Peak scores very high on the old boot-meter. It is a seriously challenging climb. Legal fine print would probably advise anyone with a heart condition, breathing problem, or general apathy issues, to please pick another trail.

But for you and I… this is the nine-boot, two days to recover, three days to stop smilin’, all time bad-boy hike at Red Rock Canyon!

REI’s Back Pack Check List

REI, a major sponsor of Friends of Red Rock Canyon, provides this handy check list for campers, hikers and climbers who enjoy the Red Rocks

Friends thank REI for all their support.

REI’s check list is your tried-and-true guide to packing smart. The list is intentionally comprehensive so don’t forget anything important.

To locate a nearby REI, click here.

THE 10 ESSENTIALS

Navigation

  • Map (with protective cover)
  • Compass
  • GPS (optional)
  • Altimeter (optional

Sun Protection

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm
  • Sunglasses

Insulation

  • Jacket
  • Vest
  • Pants
  • Gloves
  • Hat (see clothing)

Illumination

  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Extra batteries

First-Aid Supplies

  • First-aid Kit

Fire

  • Matches or lighter
  • Waterproof container
  • Fire starter (for emergency survival fire)

 

 

Repair Kit and Tools

  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Repair kits for stove, mattress
  • Duct tape strips

Nutrition

  • Extra day’s supply of food

Hydration

  • Water bottles or hydration reservoirs
  • Water filter or other treatment system

Emergency Shelter

  • Tent
  • Tarp
  • Bivy
  • Reflective blanket

 

Beyond the 10 ESSENTIALS

  • Backpack
  • Daypack or summit pack
  • Pack cover
  • Tent, tarp or bivy sack with stakes and guylines
  • Tent-pol repair sleeve
  • Footprint
  • Sleeping bag
  • Stuff sack or compression sack
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow or stuffable pillow case
  • Whistle
  • Multifunctional watch with altimeter
  • Ice axe
  • Meals
  • Energy food (bars, gels, chews, trail mix)
  • Energy beverages or drink mixes
  • Stove
  • Fuel
  • Cook set with pot grabber
  • Dishes or bowls
  • Utensils
  • Cups
  • Bear canister
  • Nylon cord (50 feet)
  • Backup water treatment
  • Collapsible sink or container
  • Packable lantern

 

Clothing for Warm Weather

  • Wicking T-shirt
  • Wicking underwear
  • Quick-drying pants or short
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Sun-shielding hat
  • Bandana or Buff

 

Clothing for Cold Weather

  • Wicking long-sleeve T-shirt
  • Wicking long underwear
  • Hat, cap, skullcap, balaclava or headband
  • Rainwear
  • Fleece jacket or vest, and pants

 

Footwear and Personal Items

  • Hiking boots or hiking shoes suited to terrain
  • Socks
  • Gaiters
  • Sandals for fording and in camp
  • Camera or helmet cam
  • Extra memory cards
  • Binoculars
  • Permits
  • Route description or guidebook
  • Field guide; star identifier
  • Outdoor journal and pen or pencil
  • Credit card
  • Small amount of cash
  • Earplugs
  • Eye Shade
  • Toilet paper
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Hand sensitizer
  • Insect repellant
  • Bear Spray
  • Biodegradable soap and shower bag
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Cell phone/satellite communicator/2-way radio
  • Personal locator beacon
  • Post-hike snacks, water, towel, clothing change
  • Trip itinerary left with friend and under car seat

Fossil Ridge – A Photo Gallery

Count the Fossils on Your Fossil Ridge Hike

When you climb Fossil Ridge, your imagination soars as you encounter as many fossils as you do cacti along this walk.

You realize you are standing at once was the bottom of an ocean floor hundreds of millions of years ago. Sea sponges and scallops come alive.

Here’s a small sample of the discoveries ahead.

You can sign up for guided hikes along Fossil Ridge with our partner,  Southern Nevada Conservancy. Click here.