Getting out of Sin City for some two-wheeled fun— Day 2: Road biking in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, just 18 miles off the Las Vegas Strip
I’m not sure which gave out first: my legs or my lungs.
All I know is that, a few hundred yards shy of the High Point Overlook , after hauling my rented hybrid bike up nearly 1,000 vertical feet of the Red Rocks loop road , my thighs started quivering uncontrollably and I began to hyperventilate.
I ended up pushing the bike the rest of the way to the 4,771-foot overlook, where a Korean family—who wisely had driven to the top—had just popped a bottle of champagne and were sipping bubbly while they gazed at the view.
The panorama swept across the Mojave Desert , framed on the left by the limestone Calico Hills, and on the right by the candy-striped cliffs of the Red Rocks Escarpment , a gray carbonite cap sandwiching layers of sandstone stained red, tan, and yellow by iron oxide.
As I coasted downhill to the end of the loop road, I had the leisure to catch my breath and admire the hearty desert vegetation: sagebrush, juniper, and mesquite, tons of Nevada bluegrass and rabbitbrush, and the occasional Joshua tree, its stunted branches furred with thorny leaves against a backdrop of red cliffs and blue sky.
When You Go…
The 197,000-acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (702-515-5350, www.nv.blm.gov/redrockcanyon) is just 18 miles west of the Strip on West Charleston Blvd./Rte. 159.
Las Vegas Cyclery (800-596-2953, www.lasvegascyclery.com) runs guided half-day tours along the 13-mile scenic loop road for $99.99 to $119.99, including shuttle bus from the Strip, equipment, and box lunch. They also rent bikes starting at $35 per day.
Hotels in Las Vegas from our partners:
- Single track-mountain biking at Bootleg Canyon (also near Vegas)
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- The ultimate packing list