Go West, Young Man. | Hiking Red Rock Canyon.

“Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” -Horace Greeley.

Every year, twice a year we go to Las Vegas for the trade shows in the massive convention center halls. It’s a humbling experience to be honest and one that is, frankly, just part of the job. After attending these shows for the past seven years, it goes without saying that if Vegas was left off my calendar for a season or six I would survive.

If it weren’t for the adventures we have had Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area I don’t think I would survive the week. In the summer it’s a tough battle with the heat (bring and drink lots of water, it is so hot you won’t know how much you are sweating until it is too late) but still worth it. The park boast some incredible hikes for all levels with lots of open country to roam. If you head out on the intermediate trails (and above), you will likely encounter folks that take the outdoors pretty seriously (translation: it will be far less annoying and you won’t have to brush by a bunch of people checking in on Foursquare and whatnot), which is nice. When the hiking is done, take a seat and enjoy what is undeniably the best view in Sin City.

Before we discovered Red Rock, the thought of heading back to Vegas was a daunting one – somewhere between jury duty and a prostate exam – so in a weird way those morning hikes saved us.

When the trek and all of your other adventures at Red Rock are complete, you can replenish those burned calories at one of my three preferred Vegas dining destinations: Carne e Vino (ask for Cooper at the bar), Il Mulino and Lindo Michoacan. Dinner is guaranteed to be spendy (with the exception of Lindo), but that $7 you dropped at Red Rock Canyon will be the best money Vegas ever took from you.

Comments on “Go West, Young Man. | Hiking Red Rock Canyon.

    joe fuetter on August 26, 2012 10:07 PM:

    love the open spaces, would like to visit with my family. thanks for sharing.

    Clay on August 27, 2012 1:24 PM:

    Stayed at Red Rock Casino a couple weeks ago. Though about going to the canyon, but the thought of no trees combined with the heat scared me.

    Bill C on August 27, 2012 1:43 PM:

    I have done over 30 conventions/trade shows in Vegas, and you are right on about needing a nature break from the neon and concrete.And ditto on Lindo Michoacan. One night after dining there I couldn’t get a cab back to the MGM, so the owner’s son drove us in the Lindo delivery van to back to the hotel-we made quite an entrance.

    Ye Ole General on August 27, 2012 3:55 PM:

    Great pictures Michael. That was a fantastic 5 minute vacation!

    Mark Paigen on August 27, 2012 8:45 PM:

    Your photos are evocative. I lived in Western Colorado for many years and spent lots of time in the mountains/canyons of the arid west. There is nothing like it for clearing the mind.
    For clearing the mind in Lost Wages, try seeing “O” by Cirque du Soleil, a phenomenal show when performed with the infrastructure that Vegas affords.

    lance on August 28, 2012 2:25 AM:

    Michael, there are some great hikes just before redrock off Charleston as well. The turnoff before the national park leads around to some great trails, some of which go into the park and some that don’t. I only recommend those for high-traffic days at the park when getting away from the tourist crowds is the goal (mostly if you visit on a weekend).

    I lived in summerlin and went out to red rock almost every day to explore the desert. Nothing like it. Thanks for your work.

    Alexandra on August 28, 2012 6:33 AM:

    Beautiful post. I’ve hiked Red Rock myself and have loved it. Always great to see a reminder of this special place.

    Todd on August 28, 2012 10:59 AM:


    Total newb question going to Vegas in 2 weeks (dreading the trip), what was your drive time from the Strip to Red Rock (could you do a “day trip”)?


    Michael Williams on August 28, 2012 11:01 AM:

    @todd Red Rock canyon is a 30/40 minute drive from the Strip. You will obviously need to rent a car, but it certainly isn’t too far for a day trip. Have fun.

    Ming 001 on August 28, 2012 1:59 PM:

    Great post about one of the hidden gems of Vegas. We actually did a photo shoot inside a few years ago. Great light and some awesome backdrops.

    People should realize that there are multiple hiking routes (with varying degrees of difficulty and time required), and it’s hot but the canyons provide plenty of shade.. Best time is spring – so pack a warm windbreaker and some sneakers for Fed/Mar shows.

    Gustavo on August 31, 2012 9:01 PM:

    I also highly recommend “The Valley of Fire”…only 40 minutes out and the gas station right off the exit s crazy with fireworks.

    Roxanne on September 5, 2012 11:39 PM:

    I have been lots of places, but for some reason never made it to Vegas. And never thought I was really missing much. I do love the rock formations and the wide open spaces out west. The rock formations look stunning! So if and when I do get to Vegas, this will have to be on my list.

    jordan w on September 7, 2012 12:47 AM:

    better than carne Vino- a real restaurant not in a casino :The Golden Steer, on West Sahara, real old vegas, as in really from that era- incredible steaks, red banquettes, giant martinis, absolutely no bullshit…

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