…it felt good to be out of the rain… (click here if you don’t know what song I’m referring to)
On my trip to Las Vegas earlier this summer I had a chance to get my desert on, and it was awesome.
Beyond the glittering lights of The Strip and endless swathes of cookie cutter homes filling the Las Vegas Valley lies a heavenly slice of the state that most foreign visitors don’t even know exists: Red Rock National Conservation Area.
Located less than half an hour west of the city, Red Rock offers a glimpse of the real desert Southwest. It’s stark at times, but also beautiful and surprisingly colourful. The conservation area takes its name from the distinctive iron-heavy red rocks (pictured above), which is a popular place for local Las Vegans to hike.
The area has a visitor’s centre and lots of different hiking trails, but if you want to really want to explore the desert there’s no better way than on horseback.
I had the opportunity to take part in sunset horseback ride through the desert with Cowboy Trail Rides and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip to Vegas.
Though late May is normally when temperatures begin to soar in the Las Vegas Valley, I got lucky and this year the weather was still cool and comfortable. Strapped to the top of a beautiful American Paint Horse named Tommy, the desert unveiled itself in a whole new light. The trail we took is suitable for beginners, but challenging enough for you to unleash your inner John Wayne. Within minutes of leaving the stable we found ourselves completely surrounded by desert scenery. Joshua trees, which are unique to this part of the world, were everywhere and I even spotted a few jack rabbits (with babies!) and quails (also with babies!) along the way.
The trail took us on a circular route that looped back to the stables after around two hours of riding. If you, like me, are not an experienced rider, then trust me when I say that two hours is a good amount of time to be on a horse. Any more than that and I probably would have had a hard time walking!
The evening culminating in a steak dinner, a camp fire, and some good old-fashioned live music.
Over the years I’ve met a lot of locals here in London who have visited Las Vegas and I know that it’s quite a popular holiday destination among Brits. However, most foreign visitors never make it off The Strip!
If you ever make it ’round to Vegas, then I’d highly recommend taking a night off from nightclubs and the blackjack table to visit Red Rock. Most tour companies, including Cowboy Trail Rides, make pick ups from The Strip so you don’t need a car. The tour I took last from about 5pm to 10pm and included dinner.