The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (RRCNCA), also known as Red Rocks, is located just a few miles west of Las Vegas and encompasses 197,000 acres within the Mojave Desert. Red Rocks is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is primarily known for its world class rock climbing. Mountain biking, road biking, hiking, canyoneering, scenic driving and other opportunities are also available.
Mountain biking is only allowed in the Cottonwood Valley area of Red Rocks which is located outside of the fee area. There are over 125 miles of interconnecting single-track and an 11 mile NORBA race loop here. Individual trail descriptions can be somewhat difficult to provide for this area due to the interconnected trails; the trails are well-marked and maps can be found at strategic locations. There are numerous trails that can be combined or ridden individually, allowing for a tailored/custom ride. A few of the trails at Cottonwood Valley are: Badger Pass Loop, Landmine Loop, and Deadhorse Loop. Portions of these trails are thought to have been created by the many wild burros in the area.
Because it is so wide open it is fairly easy to find your way; plus the mountains are immediately to the west. They not only help you get your bearings, but they are an amazing sight also. There are trails on the north and south side of the road which provide smooth, twisty single track, good climbs and fun technical stuff. If you are new to Cottonwood begin at the parking lot on the north side - known as Late Night parking lot - this parking lot provides access to the easier trails.
Here is a basic Cottonwood Valley Map. A much better map to pick up is the Green Trails Maps – Map 2474S of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which only costs $9.
This website provides some basic information about some of the loops available: Cottonwood Valley, and this one provides an even better map.
Be aware that summer temperatures are extremely hot (100+). If you must ride in the summer, early morning and late evening rides are best. Night rides can break up the monotony if you are a regular visitor.
The parking farther to the west (on the south side of the highway and mentioned in the directions below) has a kiosk with maps. As of February 2008, the Late Night parking lot (on the north side of the highway) is under construction. When completed there will be a new bathroom and possibly other amenities.
Directions to the fee area (scenic loop):
From Las Vegas, Red Rocks can be reached by heading west on Charleston Boulevard which will turn into State Route 159. Just follow State Route 159 west until you see the entrance.
Directions to Cottonwood Valley (the only area that allows mountain biking):
From Charleston Boulevard (State Route 159) drive west past the entrance to Red Rocks. Continue driving past Spring Mountain State Park. The road will change direction and appear to head back towards Las Vegas. Continue driving until you reach State Route 160. Turn right onto State Route 160 and head west. After about 4.7 miles there will be a parking lot on the right (Late Night parking lot), and another parking lot on the left a little farther. These parking lots can be somewhat hard to find the first time, if you reach the mountains you have gone too far.
Red TapeThere is no red tape if you are outside of the fee area.
External LinksOfficial BLM Website
Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area has one developed campground. The 13-mile campground, as it is known locally, is located two miles east of the visitor center on State Route 159.
Dispersed camping is allowed within the fee area of Red Rocks only on Red Rock Summit Road and above 5,000 feet. Red Rock Summit Road is accessed from the Willow Springs Picnic Area.
Dispersed camping is allowed on BLM land outside of the Red Rock border.
Southern Nevada Bike ShopsHenderson Shops
2578 Wigwam Parkway
76 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, Suite 130
Aspen Creek Cycling
1550 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, Suite E
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Las Vegas Shops
Las Vegas Cyclery
8221 West Charleston, Suite 101
McGhies Ski, Bike & Board
4503 Sahara Avenue
7034 West Charleston
911 North Buffalo Drive
2320 East Flamingo Road
1901 South Rainbow Boulevard
7645 South Rainbow Boulevard, Suite 100
Nu Vision Cyclery
8447 W. Lake Mead Boulevard
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Boulder City Shops
All Mountain Cyclery
1404 Nevada Hwy Suite C
B.C. Adventure Bicycles
1323 Arizona, Boulder City
1647 Nevada Hwy # A
Blue Diamond Shops
McGhies Bike Outpost
16 Cottonwood Dr # B