LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KOLO) About a half hour drive from the Las Vegas strip lies Red Rock Canyon - one of Nevada’s most scenic and popular tourist attractions.
This is the entrance to the new housing development on the eastern edge of Red Rock Canyon.
“Travelers are becoming more and more savvy,” says Bethany Drysdale of Travel Nevada. “They realize that they knew more than they used to know or what they thought they knew, so when they go to Vegas they want to see Red Rock Canyon."
Once you get through the gate of Red Rock Canyon and pay the $7 entry fee, you can choose from taking the driving tour, which takes about 35 minutes with more than a dozen stops along the way, or going on one of 26 hikes, which range in difficulty level from easy to strenuous.
Kathy August, Red Rock Canyon’s lead outdoor recreation planner, described why the conservation area is so popular.
“The beauty of nature,” she said. “The red sandstone hills that rise abruptly from the valley floor.”
The scenery is hard to beat, which is why people make a point to visit when they go to Las Vegas.
“Its something that you shouldn’t miss,” said Tressa Maier of Florida. “These are just natural creations and you owe it to yourself to come and see it, it’s beautiful.”
“It’s a very nature-oriented place as opposed to a casino,” said Donya Sedajhat while visiting the area. “I’d rather spend time with nature than go sit in a building.”
Despite its natural scenery, a new housing development is threatening the way Red Rock Canyon currently looks. That development, given the green light by the Clark County commission earlier this year, is in the Blue Diamond area just outside Red Rock Canyon, but its effects will be felt inside.
“It will have an effect on this area, ” said August. “Blue Diamond Hills is on the eastern edge of Red Rock Canyon and they have been approved for up to 5000 homes.”
Those who buy homes there will enjoy the view, but those who are just visiting aren’t fans of the idea.
“I wouldn’t be stunned by it but it's not something that I would like to see happen,” Maier said.
“I hope it doesn’t happen,” said Sedajhat. “ I want the nature to prevail.”