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Category: Climbing



Red Rocks offers some of the only long climbing in the area. It has awesome, sustained multi-pitch routes with lots of exposure.

Relevant Guidebooks & Maps

Red Rocks Select


Take I-15 North to Las Vegas. Just before you get to The Strip take 160 West. Drive on 160 for 12 miles to the junction with 159 North. About 4 hours.

To get to Black Velvet Canyon (climbing and camping spots): continue on 160 West for 4.65 miles. Turn right on a dirt road and go 1.95 miles. Turn left and go .3 miles to a "T". Turn right and go .5 miles to the end of the road. You can camp in any spot here without fires.

To get to Oak Creek Canyon Camping: Take 159 North for a few minutes until you the road is heading due North and the rocks are on your left. Before you get to the Scenic Loop exit take the dirt road to the left. Camp 100 yards down this road in the designated spots. Fires are allowed here.

To get to most of the climbs: Take 159 North to the entrance to the Scenic Loop. The loop is a 14 mile, one-way loop that has parking areas for the different climbing areas. There is also a visitor center at the entrance. The loop closes at night so check the time and be out by then or face a fine.


Red Rocks has some of the warmest weather and longest climbs in all of the Southland. The routes are very sustained and exposed. Many routes exist and Red Rocks Select gives a good overview of them. Shorter sport routes are available as well, but they aren't worth the drive. Approach hikes can be fairly long (things look closer than they are out in the desert) so leave plenty of time to get out of the scenic loop. In the winter the best climbs are the ones in the sun all day. When it's hot try the Dark Shadows area or Black Velvet Wall for some classics. Black Velvet Canyon has the easiest approach hike and some of the most classic routes in Red Rock, including "Frogland," 5.8-. "Crimson Chrysalis" in Juniper Canyon is a great sustained and exposed 5.9. "Olive Oil" across from "Crimson" offers a fun 5.7, 7 pitch route that gets a lot of sun. Camp in one of the spots described above, or stay in Las Vegas 20 minutes away. Cheap food is also available in the casinos.

Besides climbing Red Rocks offers opportunities for hiking and biking. Although some marked trails exist, most of the canyons have climber's trails that are fun to explore. A quick jaunt into one of the canyons can easily turn into an all-day exploration. Road biking is popular, especially on the 14-mile scenic loop. For mountain bikes, dirt roads are abundant, but their length and legality is not clear.

Safety Notes

Temperatures can be extreme at Red Rocks. Winter nights are well below freezing and warm days can be over 100. Check the Vegas weather and bring lots of water. No water is available at Red Rocks. When wet, the sandstone becomes brittle and is unsafe. Several climbing and camping stores are in Vegas.

Edited by (in order): OTL Staff

Last updated: 05/22/2009


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