One of the great things about travelling is that you get to try things that aren’t always available in your own hometown. And as we are always on the look out for new and interesting things to do we couldn’t resist signing up for a tour of the Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, by scooter .
We booked the tour before leaving Australia but you can book while you are in Vegas. The only reason that we booked ahead was to make sure there was a free spot for us on the day we wanted.
Having opted to take the afternoon tour, we headed down to the pickup point at the Bellagio at around 12:30pm for a 1pm pickup. When the tour van arrived we were greeted by Nick, an affable, friendly guy full of fun, jokes and lots of interesting information about the Red Rock Canyon. There were 3 other couples in the van, two from Canada and the other from New York although it turned out that the wife was originally from Canada as well.
After about a 10 minute drive from our hotel we arrived at the point where we were to take possession of our scooter car for approximately the next 3 and a half hours.
The total trip is about 35 miles and there is plenty of time for some low level hiking and picture taking.
Now I have to admit being a little apprehensive beforehand about driving a scooter, after all it has been many years since I have ridden one, but I needn’t have been concerned. There is really nothing to it and Nick gave each individual team a complete run through of how to handle the scooter – turn it off, turn it on, indicate etc. There are no pedals – hallelujah – its all hand controls – easy as.
Paula and I chose one of the yellow scooters and once we had the instructions down pat and Nick gave us all final instructions about following him and how to do things like pulling out of the bike lane into the traffic when he did etc, all basic safety stuff.
And once he is happy that we all understand what we need to do we are set to go.
So here we go setting out onto the road – the ‘other side’ for us, as in Australia we drive on the opposite site of the road to US. But we have driven in the States on a couple of other trips so we are fairly confident these days.
We haven’t ever been to the Red Rock Canyon so we are really looking forward to it, having been told that it is very beautiful.
Our tour takes us through the streets of Las Vegas and people honk and call out in a friendly manner and we do manage to overtake some cyclists which is gratifying.
It’s not too long before we arrive at the $23million visitor’s centre. This facility was built by the Federal Government as an educational centre about the area and it is here that we learn about the wildlife, geology, native people of Red Rock, plants and insects and a lot of other interesting facts about the Canyon.
We have around 20 minutes to explore the visitors centre, so we take the opportunity to freshen up, and take our first photos of the Red Rock Canyon. You may want to make sure that you go to the ladies room here as the only toilet available in the canyon is a drop toilet.
Be warned there are no snacks or food available at the center so make sure that you stock up at your hotel before you head out on the tour, especially if you are hypoglycemic and need frequent top ups. Nick provides water at the various stops.
The drive through the canyon is a 13 mile (21klm) one way loop road that has a number of side roads and parking areas that give you access to the many hiking trails in the area.
Just look at how diverse the colors are.
Before the convoy heads off to our next stop where we are able to head down into the canyon to take some great photos, this little fellow pops out to say hello. He spends some time running around our scooter before heading to the side so that we can move off.
Once everyone is back on board we are off to our next stop further into the canyon.
Our first stop gives us an easy grade downhill climb to take some photos. There are more strenuous climbs for the intrepid climber, but for us this is just a nice stop.
There are a number of walks that can be undertaken and they range from the easy walks which is like taking a stroll on a city street but the with uneven terrain. However, it may not seem that easy if you are not used to trail hiking.
The moderate climbs include uphill sections that can include rises in elevation of up to 1000ft. Again the terrain will be uneven and there will probably be some rock scrambling.
Then of course there are the Strenuous climbs which are best left to the experts as there are lots of uphill sections and that also leads to lots of downhill sections, over 1000 ft of elevation gain and difficult terrain and plenty of rock scrambling.
You can pick up a brochure from the visitor center that will give you a list of the climbs and what level they are.
Our little group has now driven up and down a few hills and arrived at our second stop on this 13 mile scenic drive. At this stop we get to see the Spring Mountain Ranch that was once owned by Howard Hughes. The ranch is located at 3800 feet and the temperature is generally 10-15 degrees cooler than the Las Vegas Valley, however, temperatures do range from below freezing to above 100°. From this lookout point we can also see signs of sandstone mining from the past.
The last section of our trip through Red Rock Canyon is the spectacular view after we drive up to High Point Overlook which is approximately 5000 ft in elevation. From here we can look back over the glorious views of the Red Rock Canyon and the southern part of the Las Vegas valley.
So do we think that Scoot City Tours are worth the money. We certainly do, it is worth every dollar spent for the fun of driving the scooters and the pleasure of driving though the majestic views of the Red Rock Canyon.
And everyone who completes the ride gets one of these: