This post is part of a series on The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip, our 10-month, 15,000-mile tour of the top pet friendly attraction in each of the lower 48 states.
It’s just 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, but you might as well be in a different world at Red Rock Canyon National Recreation area! Layers of sandstone in rust and cream form cliffs that pierce the brilliant blue sky, gentle breezes sweep across the valley, hawks soar overhead, and creeks babble happily through the canyons. It’s a wondrous place – the kind that calms your mind and feeds your soul just by being there.
The options for enjoying Red Rock Canyon are many: drive or bike the 13-mile paved scenic loop road, explore the more than 30 miles of hiking trails, picnic in one of the day-use areas, go mountain biking, rock climbing, or wildlife watching – there is something for everyone! And best of all, your pets are welcome to join you no matter what activity you choose.
Pet Rules at Red Rock Canyon
- Leashed pets are welcome everywhere in the park, except inside the buildings and exhibits.
- Pets should not be allowed to interfere with, bother, or harass other visitors, animals, or wildlife.
- Pet waste must be picked up and disposed of properly.
There are 19 trails described in Red Rock’s visitor guide, ranging from easy to strenuous, and stretching from 3/4 of a mile to six miles in length. No matter your experience level, you’ll find a trail to accommodate. We walked the Ice Box Canyon trail far enough to find a comfortable rock for our picnic. We also stopped at the first parking area south of the Scenic Drive exit to hike part of the Oak Creek Canyon trail.
At twelve-years-old, Ty prefers shorter hikes without a lot of climbing. The ranger recommended Pine Creek Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon as trails that would be good for him, so they may appeal to your dogs as well.
This is such a fantastically beautiful place, and so welcoming to pets, that we were distressed to see the amount of pet waste that had been abandoned on the trails and the number of dogs we met who were not on leash. It would be a tragedy if pets were no longer allowed here, so when you visit Red Rock, please abide by their completely reasonable pet rules.
This is the Mojave, and anytime you visit a desert special care needs to be taken to ensure you and your pet’s safety. The area is subject to weather extremes – the temperatures in Red Rock Canyon can reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. Dress appropriately, remember that the ground can get hot enough to burn paws, and consider the weather conditions when choosing your activities.
Always carry plenty of water for you and your pets. Even in cool weather, the elevation and lack of humidity will cause your body to require more fluids.
Thunderstorms can build quickly, so keep an eye on the sky while you’re exploring Red Rock Canyon. If you are caught in the rain, be alert for flash floods, and move to higher ground if necessary. If there is lightening in the area, seek shelter immediately.
The desert is home to rattlesnakes, scorpions, and venomous spiders, so take care where you step and where your pup sticks his nose!
If your pets are like ours – not cactus savvy – you’ll also need to help them avoid the prickly plants found in the desert. Protective boots for their paws can help if you plan to do a lot of hiking.
Visiting these attractions with Ty and Buster is a dream come true. We’ll be blogging about each one as we go along, so fasten your seatbelt and stay tuned!
The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip wouldn’t be possible without the support of our wonderful sponsors: Winnebago, 2 Hounds Design, Alcott, goDog®, PetGuide.com, Red Roof Inns, Sleepypod, The Bark, PetHub, RVPetSafety.com, and The Honest Kitchen. Please be sure to visit their websites and social media pages and thank them for their participation!