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18 Free Red Rock Canyon Boondocking Spots

Red Rock
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM at Flicker

History and Background of Red Rock Canyon State Park

Some of the first humans who came to Red Rock Canyon State Park were the native Americans. The area was a source for fresh clean water, plant life, and animal life that was otherwise scarce in the surrounding desert.

Then, in the early 20th century, European Americans settled in nearby Las Vegas. They created the Excelsior Company that operated a small sandstone quarry near the Northern area of the scenic loop. It was eventually deemed unethical, and the plant was shut down.

Since then, it has become a protected landmark and enjoyed by all who come and visit. It has even been used for filming locations. You can see the beautiful scenery in the films “Bells of San Angelo” and “The Stalking Moon.”

It lays within just 15 miles of Las Vegas and can easily be seen from the infamous Las Vegas strip. More than 3 million people visit Red Rock Canyon State Park every year!

Red Rock Canyon Nevada

18 Free Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots

1. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 1 Miles: – Lovell Canyon, Pahrump NV

Address
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 36.024154, -115.55927
Elevation: 4698′

Management – Public – Forest Service (Official)

Great place to camp out for a night… Less than 1 mile on paved road from Highway 160 is the first spot I took. There are many more if you keep going on the road north. No shooting allowed here, compared to the other place on Sandy Wash RD just west of here. No Verizon signal whatsoever! And pay attention to low areas that could be a flash flood problem…

Stayed here for about a week and did day trips into red rocks. We arrived after midnight on a Friday and were able to find a spot easily. There is a cell tower within line of sight so awesome WiFi and cell signal for working remotely. 5G on sprint and att. Sites are spaced out and private, and it’s also cooler here which is a nice reprieve from the hot Nevada sun. 5 of 5 would recommend

1 Lovell Canyon, Pahrump NV 1 Lovell Canyon, Pahrump NV 1 Lovell Canyon, Pahrump NV 1 Lovell Canyon, Pahrump NV

2. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 2 Miles: – Lovell Canyon Campground

Address
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 36.059785, -115.561924
Elevation: 5085′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

FREE sites, including group spaces. No amenities. There are camping spaces all along the Lovell Canyon road. Some are good for RVs as well as tents. This area is higher in elevation than Las Vegas so it’s always about 15 degrees cooler. There’s usually a little snow on the ground during the winter. The Lovell canyon road is paved but all the roads off of it are dirt. There are great hiking trails all up and down Lovell Canyon.

Heading back to San Diego from Idaho got into Vegas and it was 113F at 6pm? Knowing it was going to be cooler in the mountains I looked up and found Lovell Canyon. It was also 88F??.Lovell Canyon Rd.is a paved road off the NV state rd.160 leads way back into the area with many campsites, dirt roads and trails. You can camp right off the road or you can head down one of the dirt roads and hide if you want. Great place, free camping up to 14 days and free natural air conditioning. The night I stayed it dropped down to 67F at around 1 am while Vegas was still 100F.
No campfires or charcoal grills allowed at the time I stayed (June 20, 2021) due to high fire danger.

Activities:

RV Parking
Tent Camping
OHV
Hiking
Wildlife Viewing

2 Lovell Canyon Campground 2 Lovell Canyon Campground 2 Lovell Canyon Campground 2 Lovell Canyon Campground

3. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 2 Miles: – Sandy Valley Road Boondocking

Address
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 35.9935, -115.60662
Elevation: 4140′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road in is Gravel and 1 mile miles from a paved road. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 45 feet. You may stay 14 days at Sandy Valley Road Boondocking.

This is BLM land about 35 miles west of Las Vegas. Sandy Valley Road is a well maintained gravel road that runs from Route 160 to Sandy Valley. The first spots along Sandy Valley have been used as trash dumps. We drove down about a mile and found a little loop with about five campsites. There are signs of target practice in this area. In fact while we were camping a couple of men came and practiced shooting into the hillside. They were far enough away to not be a bother and they left after a few hours. Other than that it’s a quiet, peaceful spot. Google maps show lots of other potential spots along Sandy Valley Road.

3 Sandy Valley Road Boondocking 7 Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed

4. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 6 Miles: – Orleans Casino Las Vegas

Address
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 36.105126, -115.199781
Elevation: 2211′

Management -Private – Casino (Official)

On the Northside of casino there is oversized parking, hosting many trucks and RVs, no questions asked. Truck are even running generators all night. 4500 W Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89103 Enter oversized parking by lot from the back on Harmon avenue.

5. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 18 Miles: –  Terribles Casino parking

Address
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 35.778845, -115.326336
Elevation: 2848′

Management – Private – Casino (Official)

Red Rock National Conservation Area
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

6. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 21 Miles: – Champion Road at Lee Canyon

Address
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 36.341408, -115.648895
Elevation: 7828′

Management – Public – National Forest (Official)

Stretch of road in the Lee Canyon area of the mountains with many spots to camp. Lots of off roaring vehicles traveling on the roads, but many places to pull off and have a good deal of privacy. Completely primitive camping, slightly leveled and cleared sites. Great place to stay cool when it’s hot in the summer in Vegas.

Great spot within 45 minutes of the city. If you enter off of Deer Creek, there are a couple miles of dirt road with sites of many sizes on each size. Go deeper for more privacy. The Large boulder about a quarter mile in is the Lee Canyon Boulder, which is a summer climbing spot for locals. If you take the adjacent site, prepare for rockclimbers to be nearby. I’ve stayed there dozens of times year-round. Still no T-Mobile cell signal as of February, 2021. There is a signal further down Lee Canyon road, or if you drive up towards Robbers Roost and towards the Kyle Canyon part of the mountain. There are vault toilets and a dumpster not to far up the paved road towards Robbers Roost. Fire ban is usually in effect during dry season (pretty much anytime there is not snow on the ground, but definitely by the summer).

7. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 21 Miles: – Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed

Address
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 35.78465, -115.25949
Elevation: 2782′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

BLM land off of Las Vegas Blvd, near the 7 magic mountains (brightly colored rock art exhibit that you can’t miss). The BLM land is a dry lake bed that is used as a popular off-road racing site, mainly on the weekends.

Once you locate the 7 magic mountains, there are 2 paved roads about a mile on either side of the 7 magic mountains. FYI: The 7 magic mountains are an art exhibit of colored rocks, stacked at least 40 feet high – they can be seen for miles in every direction and are located right on Las Vegas Blvd, with signs everywhere. Although there are dirt roads, I highly recommend that you take the paved roads.

7 Jean Roach Dry Lake Bed

8. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 22 Miles: – Mack’s Canyon Dispersed Camping

Address
FR 085 – Mack’s Canyon Road
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 36.349721, -115.681065
Elevation: 8176′

Management – Public – Forest Service (Official)

The road in is Dirt. Mack’s Canyon Dispersed Camping is open year round. You may stay 14 days at Mack’s Canyon Dispersed Camping.

Activities:

Hiking
Wildlife Viewing
Winter Sports

9. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 23 Miles: – 10 miles NE Pahrump

Address
Enterprise, Nevada
GPS: 36.27722, -115.84251
Elevation: 5240′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road in is Dirt and 8 miles from a paved road. 10 miles NE Pahrump – Boondocking is open year round. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 14 days at 10 miles NE Pahrump – Boondocking. I was at 36.27722 -115.84251 and it would be good for 1 or 2 (perhaps 3 if no trailers). Far enough from the road so there was little dust. Verizon signal good enough to stream videos. I have a Nissan NV and 10′ cargo trailer – total length ~33.5 feet. I wouldn’t go back there with anything bigger.

Activities:

RV Parking
Tent Camping

9 10 miles NE Pahrump 9 10 miles NE Pahrump

10. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 24 Miles: – North McCullough Wilderness

Address
Nawghaw Poa Rd, Henderson, NV 89044
Henderson, Nevada
GPS: 35.885086, -115.108054
Elevation: 3409′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

North McCullough Wilderness (hike in) is open Year Round. There are 30 or more campsites at this location. You may stay 14-days per stay, 90 days per year at NORTH MCCULLOUGH WILDERNESS (hike in).

To assist in the prevention of cultural resource vandalism, destruction, and/or removal, the Petroglyph Management Area is designated for day-use only, with fires, camping, and nighttime uses prohibited (Figure 7). Exceptions to this may be allowed only under special circumstances and with approval from the Sloan Canyon NCA or BLM Las Vegas Field Office Manager. In the remainder of the Wilderness, nighttime use including primitive, dispersed camping will be allowed.

Activities:

Tent Camping
Hiking
Rock Climbing
Wildlife Viewing

Red Rock National Conservation Area (4)

11. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 25 Miles: – Wheeler Pass Road

Address
Pahrump, Nevada
GPS: 36.249052, -115.892829

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road in is Gravel and 1/2 mile to many miles miles from a paved road. Wheeler Pass Road is open all year. There are 30 or more campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay unknown at Wheeler Pass Road.

Solid campsite. We drove up about 8 miles or so in order to find an actual site with fire pit. Big and open, technically two sites. Nobody around within miles. Could see Pahrump city lights down the mountain. Don’t see how you’d get a site earlier since the road shoulders are built up and difficult to get over. That being said, plenty of RV’s out there closer to town.

Our GPS coordinates were 36.281928, -115.833254. Recommend you stay here if in the area

12. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 25 Miles: – Horsethief Camp

Address
Excelsior Mine Road
California
GPS: 35.776658, -115.863226
Elevation: 4045′

Management -Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

The road in is Dirt and 24 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. You may stay 14 days at Horsethief Camp.

BLM campground, located about 25 miles East of I15 on Cima Rd. Small, 6 site campground in the foothills of the Mojave Preserve. Very clean and under utilized with picnic tables and a pit toilet. Sites are good sized but would avoid taking large RVs down this road or into campground. This campground is a first-come first-served area. There is no fire wood or potable water. Bring a sufficient supply of each for your use.

Amenities:

BBQ Grill
Picnic Tables
Restrooms

Activities:

OHV
Biking
Hiking
Wildlife Viewing

11 Wheeler Pass Road 11 Wheeler Pass Road

13. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 26 Miles: – Bonanza trail spots

Address
Enterprise, Nevada
GPS: 36.39468, -115.73716
Elevation: 6923′

Management – Public – Forest Service (Unofficial)

The road in is 4×4 and 14 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet.

Rough washed out road to get there. Sites not level and I had shore up one side with two 2×4 planks and max height on Anderson levelers. No campfires due to fire restrictions in effect. But, we did have fun ATVing around, saw a nice herd of elk fairly close by, had solitude and a great view. It would be nicer if dirt road was graded and spots leveled more.

Activities:

RV Parking
Tent Camping
OHV
Hunting
Wildlife Viewing

12 Horsethief Camp 12 Horsethief Camp 12 Horsethief Camp

14. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 27 Miles: – Horse Thief

Excelsior Mine Road
California
GPS: 35.773127, -115.888275
Elevation: 4600′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management

This free campsite is located within the Bureau of Land Management Needles District.

Amenities:

Restrooms

15. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 27 Miles: – Gold Town Casino

Address
771 S Frontage Rd, Pahrump, NV 89048
Pahrump, Nevada
GPS: 36.208195, -115.981977
Elevation: 2710′

Management – Private – Casino (Official)

The road in is Paved. Gold Town Casino is open year round. The maximum RV length at Gold Town Casino is unlimited. You may stay overnight at Gold Town Casino.

The Gold Town Casino parking lot far area bordering the Holiday Inn parking lot is where you can park your RV, Teardrop camper, etc. An employee of Gold Town told me that I could stay overnight as many nights as I want and didn’t have to leave at any particular time in the morning. When I asked if I needed to get permission or inform anyone that I was staying overnight, she told me, “No. No permission needed. You can stay as long you want.” Gold Town is a smaller and quieter casino than the Nugget across the street.

Activities:

RV Parking

Red Rock National Conservation Area (3)

16. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 28 Miles: – Pahrump Nugget Casino

Address
681 South Highway 160
Pahrump, Nevada
GPS: 36.211948, -115.983948
Elevation: 2710′

Management – Private – Casino (Official)

Pahrump Nugget Casino is open year round.

17. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 28 Miles: – Desert NWR – Dispersed

Address
Corn Creek Road
Enterprise, Nevada
GPS: 36.43768, -115.35865
Elevation: 2917′

Management -Public – Fish and Wildlife Service (Official)

The road in is Dirt. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. There are 3 campsites in this area, 2 on Alamo Rd and one on Mormon Well Rd. All three are large and spacious for any rig. I think any rig can fit in all 3 sites, but the road has large gravel rocks on it making it really rough, don’t go down with low clearance. I wouldn’t say you need high clearance, but if you turn left from Corn Creek Rd to the closer sites and they are both full you’ll have to drive down 2 miles before you can turn around if you’re pulling any kind of rig behind you. If you turn right first and go down and turn left -onto Mormon Well Rd- the first left down the road is a turn around with the campsite halfway down the road. We loved staying here, it was spacious, quiet, and we had excellent 4G signal.

Activities:

RV Parking
Tent Camping
Hiking
Wildlife Viewing

17 Desert NWR - Dispersed 17 Desert NWR - Dispersed 17 Desert NWR - Dispersed 17 Desert NWR - Dispersed

18. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Boondocking Spots – 28 Miles: – Cold Creek Rd.

Address
Las Vegas, Nevada
GPS: 36.422111, -115.736734
Elevation: 6020′

Management – Public – Forest Service (Official)

Paved road south/southwest of hi way 95. Several gravel side road on BLM land that allow 14 day camping or drive 14 miles up hill to Cold Creek ponds on forest service land allowing 14 day camping. Gravel sites slightly unlevel. Wild horses, elk and other wildlife roam area.

How to Get to Red Rock Canyon State Park

Red Rock Canyon State Park is located just a little past the Las Vegas Strip! You can find your way there through Charleston Boulevard, which turns into SR 159. Or, if you are coming from the south, you simply take Blue Diamond Rd/SR 160 West, to the junction with Route 159.

You will know when you’ve arrived because the scenery is spectacular!

Things You Can See at Red Rock Canyon State Park

There are so many things to see at the beautiful Red Rock Canyon State Park. The Aztec Sandstone is vast and you’ll be swept away by their sheer size and their vibrant, red color.

There are also areas of Red Rock Canyon State Park where you can see dinosaur tracks and even tracks of ancient arachnids, like spiders and scorpions.

There are many areas where you can still see ancient petroglyphs, left behind by the Kawaiisu Indians, who inhabited the area long ago. You’ll also find spectacular scenery, a wide array of birds and other wildlife, and sunsets like nothing you’ve ever seen before!

You’ll definitely want to bring a camera for this trip!

Red Rock National Conservation Area (2)

Camping, Amenities, and Costs

The Camping Costs at Red Rock Canyon State Park may vary, but you’ll be happy to discover that even at the most expensive, it still won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Depending on when you want to camp, the costs can run you anywhere between $10.00-$60.00 a night.

The prices vary depending on how many people are camping and around what time of year that you want to camp. Make sure to book your camping trip early though! Often times, Red Rock Canyon State Park gets filled pretty quickly.

Their official website suggests booking 6 months in advance, to ensure that you can have your spot. The earlier you book your stay, the better.

Some of the amenities that Red Rock Canyon State Park offers are; grills, picnic tables, trash receptacles, fire pits, water spigot, fresh drinking water, vault toilets, and even campfire programs.

And for those of you who can’t imagine vacationing without your pets, Red Rock Canyon State Park happily allows pets! So, feel free to bring your four-legged friends along!

Things to See and Do at Red Rock Canyon State Park

Red Rock Canyon State Park has some very fun things that you can check out and experience! Along with its many hiking trails, you can also take a group tour of the canyon! The tour even offers snacks and water.

Just like the hiking trails, you’ll enjoy some amazing scenery and nature, only more in-depth. It’s a wonderful way to really take in all that nature has to offer.

Another fun thing to do in Red Rock Canyon State Park is to check out the Red Rock Casino! If you’re feeling lucky and maybe want to try your hand, you could always see if some major big bucks might be in your future.

Red Rock Canyon State Park also has a massage parlor, where you can go to relax and get pampered. They offer massages and aromatherapy products.

If you enjoy the wilderness aspect of Red Rock Canyon State Park, then you’ll love that you can take a horse ride through the canyon, go bird watching, and even go hunting at this beautiful park.

There is a lot to do nearby, as well, just around the corner from Red Rock Canyon State Park. There are shops, a water park, and even a museum!

Top 9 Hiking Trails in Red Rock Canyon State Park

1. The Girl Scout Trail

This trail leads around the beautiful Calico Hills and it overlooks the Girl Scout picnicking area. On this trail, you’ll enjoy scenic views and wildlife. It’s just a little over a mile long and fairly easy to hike.

2. The SMYC Trail

This hiking trail is moderate but does have a few steep inclines. It’s a quieter trail, very tranquil. You’ll enjoy some spectacular viewpoints of the canyon, on this trail.

3. Lost Creek Trail

If you’re looking for an easy trail, less than a mile, you should check out the Lost Creek Trail. On this trail, you will be sure to see many wondrous things, including ancient petroglyphs.

If you visit during the right time of year, you might even get to enjoy a seasonal waterfall.

The Lost Creek Trail is a little over 4 miles and a moderate hike, but it leads you to some beautiful areas of the park and even a tranquil little creek. You are sure to spot many birds in this area of the park.

4. Moenkop Trail

If you want panoramic views and gorgeous desert flora, then you’ll definitely want to hike the Moenkopi Trail. This trail is easy to hike and just shy of 2 miles. This is the trail where you’ll also get to see some dinosaur footprints!

5. Turtle Head Peak

The Turtlehead Peak Trail is a must-see for the more experienced hikers. This trail is about 4.5 miles long but very strenuous. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to get you through it.

You’ll be left breathless by some of the spectacular views on this trial though. You’ll experience a thrill up in that part of the canyon.

6. La Madre Spring Trail

La Madre Spring is another gorgeous trail you need to hike in Red Rock Canyon State Park! This trail is moderately difficult and is about 3.6 miles.

On this trail, you’ll get to see the contrasting areas of the canyon; everything from the vibrant stone to the lush trees and creeks. This is one trail you’ll want to take your camera on! It boasts spectacular scenery.

7. Bridget Mountain Trail

Bridge Mountain is a difficult hike, not for the faint-hearted. It is 15.8 miles long and you will battle a lot of uphill spots and steep inclines in others.

But, despite the challenge this hike presents, it boasts some truly gorgeous scenery, wildlife, creeks, flora, and panoramic views that are sure to leave you breathless. It is one of the most loved trails at Red Rock Canyon State Park.

8. Ice Box Canyon

The Ice Box Canyon Trail isn’t an easy hike. It’s moderate difficulty and about 2 miles long. But, if you can manage the hike, it will lead you to some of the cooler areas of the canyon. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot waterfalls, rivers, creeks, and so much more.

9. Knoll Trail

Last, but certainly not least, is Knoll Trail. This trail is about 3.6 miles long and moderately difficult to hike. It has a lot of shaded areas though and you are sure to spot a lot of wildlife along the way. That area has a lot of deer, lizards, and vibrant butterflies.

Red Rock Canyon
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM at Flicker

Red Rock Canyon FAQ

1. How much does it cost to go to Red Rock Canyon?

Fees & Passes

Type of Entry Length of Pass Current Fees
Car/Truck 1 Day $15 per vehicle
Motorcycle 1 Day $10 per vehicle
Bicycle/Pedestrian 1 Day $5 per person
Commercial Tour Vehicle (bus, limo, taxi, ride-share, etc.) 1 Day $15 per vehicle + $5 per person

2. How far is the Red Rock Canyon from Las Vegas?

25 miles – Red Rock Canyon is located about 25 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

From the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, the Conservation Area can be approached from Charleston Boulevard, which will turn into SR 159.

Or from the south, take Blue Diamond Rd/SR 160 west to the Junction with Route 159.

3. How long does it take to drive through Red Rock Canyon?

About 40 minutes to just drive through the scenic loop. Should you take the time to visit some of the off-road spots much longer.

There’s a couple of overlooks and very easy, short walk things to look at that would stretch the visit to 60-90 minutes.

For those that want to see more and hike a bit, you could easily spend 3-4 hours at this park.

3. Why is Red Rock Canyon famous?

The red color of some of the outcrops of the Aztec Sandstone is due to the presence of iron oxide or hematite. Exposure to the elements caused iron minerals to oxidize or “rust,” resulting in red, orange, and brown-colored rocks.

4. Which is Better Red Rock Canyon or Valley of Fire?

Both are great and I would recommend all of the three parks including the Gold Butte Primitive Area. You will need a sturdier vehicle for Gold Butte.

Red Rock is an easy “short” day trip and can combine with lunch or other meals at Red Rock casino.

Valley of Fire – to be done properly would be a longer all-day trip with multiple hikes and possibly a roundtrip through Lake Mead.

5. What gear will I need for Red Rock Canyon?

Wear good hiking shoes or athletic shoes, long pants, and long sleeves to protect you from prickly vegetation and sun exposure. Bring with you a first-aid kit, snacks, and an extra layer. *Hike in pairs.

6. Is Red Rock Canyon the Same as Valley of Fire?

Both are beautiful areas to explore the red sandstone found in the area. Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas is not the same thing.

Red Rock Canyon is about 25 minutes west of the downtown Las Vegas and Valley of Fire is about 60 minutes north-east of downtown Las Vegas.

7. Is Red Rock Canyon Safe To Visit Alone?

Steep slopes and cliff edges are dangerous. Do not roll or throw rocks and other items from high places; other visitors may be below you. Watch for snakes sunning on the rocks or shading between them. Temperatures can exceed 110 °F in Red Rock Canyon.

You might also like some of the articles from our website about boondocking and travel.

5 Best Ways to Visit Techatticup Gold Mine In Nevada
12 Super Reasons To Visit Mount Charleston Nevada
10 Great Reasons to Visit The Valley of Fire Park
9 Great Hiking Trails In Red Rock Canyon

For complete photos and videos of our trip visit our photo on our Facebook Page

You May Want to Join Our Boondocking Group on Facebook For More Information

Smoke Over Red Rock Canyon
Image: Smoke Over Red Rock Canyon
Location: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
BLM District: Southern Nevada District
Photographer: Adam Loehnert

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