Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (NCA) is located on the west edge of the Las Vegas Valley (map) and includes the red and white sandstone cliffs that can be seen from most places in town. The scenery is spectacular and worth a visit even for non-hikers.
The sandstone cliffs lie up against the Spring Mountains, and as the name implies, there are many springs and other water out there. Many of the hikes lead up narrow canyons to creeks and waterfalls, which during summer give a nice respite from the heat. During winter, full-sun hikes can be warm and delightful.
Red Rock Canyon NCA is large (197,000 acres), but many locals refer to the Scenic Loop area as "Red Rocks." When locals say that they are going to Red Rocks, they usually mean that they are going to the Scenic Loop area, which is only a small portion of the Conservation Area.
The Visitor Center is located near the start of the one-way, Scenic Loop Road. Stop at the Visitor Center to learn about the area, then drive around the Scenic Loop Road. This is a 12-mile, one-way road, so get a map and plan your trip so that you don't pass something that might interest you. You can always drive the loop again, but good planning will save you some time and gasoline.
The Scenic Loop provides access to a number of hiking and picnic areas. As you drive the loop, you will pass the two Calico Hills Overlook areas, Sandstone Quarry, the Scenic Overlook, White Rock Springs, Willow Springs and Lost Creek, Icebox Canyon, Pine Creek, and the turn off to Oak Creek Canyon. Except for the Scenic Overlook, all of these are trailheads.
For More Information on Getting to Red Rock Canyon NCA, Hours of Operation, Entrance Fees, Car Camping, Hiking Permits, Precautions, Rules and Regulations, and Links to More Information, visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Overview Page.