When you think of Las Vegas you normally imagine a culture-less wasteland of mega casino’s, half naked (or fully naked) women and buffets as far as the belly can see. I have visited this gambling mecca a number of times, but never realized that only a short distance (15 miles) away from the seedy strip is a state park showcasing a set of massive red and white sandstone peaks! Amazing!

Red Rock Canyon is a National Conservation Area which is a less cool but no less picturesque term for a National Park, in the state of Nevada. It’s located only 15 miles (24 kms) away from the Las Vegas strip which was a surprise to me as I had never heard of it. It seems that’s the case for most of the 41 million annual visitors of Vegas, as only two million make it to Red Rock Canyon making it one amazingly beautiful and very overlooked park.

So lets take a look at what we have all been missing out on!


Camera Gear Used

  • Leica MP240
  • Leica 35mm Summilux 1.4 FLE and 21mm Super Elmar Lenses
  • B&W 0.9 3 Stop ND Filter and B&W UV Filter
[BetterWeather location=”32.8998,-105.9603″ font_color=”#ffffff” unit=”F”]

Approximately a 20 minute drive from the Las Vegas strip via highway 95.

Sometimes a location is just too big for one article so here are some related articles


Stop 01 - Visitor Center Photo Spot 36.13559970000001, -115.42789149999999
Stop 02 - Calico Hills South Photo Spot 36.1461765, -115.43091950000002
Stop 03 - Sandstone Quarry Photo Spot 36.16223581960863, -115.45034408569336
Stop 04 - High Point Lookout Photo Spot 36.17075868499923, -115.46622276306152
Stop 05 - Willow Springs Picnic Area Photo Spot 36.157454294250996, -115.49360275268555
Stop 06 - Ice Box Canyon Photo Spot 36.150142847481916, -115.48403263092041
Stop 07 - Red Rock Wash Overlook 36.1392090570667, -115.46636927872896
Stop 08 - Pine Creek Canyon Photo Spot 36.12872435632139, -115.47373294830322
Stop 09 - Red Rock Overlook Photo Spot 36.11711156556251, -115.44476509094238

Leica MP240 35mm Summilux 1.4 FLE 1/250sec at f8 ISO 200

This shot was taken from Stop 2 on the map. I took a number of shots here with different apertures, but I ended up picking this version with a narrow aperture to ensure the multiple layers rocks and details in the foreground were in focus. I love how each layer of the landscape is totally different ranging from the green in the foreground, to the sandstone and then red rocks to the blue mountains in the back. I cropped the frame a little, removing some extra detail and distracting elements of shrubs and smaller rocks to help balance the composition.

Red Rock Canyon in Nervada, USA. Around 20 mins drive from Las Vegas, this park features huge red and sandstone rocks which are known for their rock climbing.
Red Rock Canyon in Nervada, USA. Around 20 mins drive from Las Vegas, this park features huge red and sandstone rocks which are known for their rock climbing.

Leica MP240 35mm Summilux 1.4 FLE 1/1500sec at f1.4 ISO 200

These shots were taken at stops 3 and 4 on the map. One of the main reasons I decided to switch to Leica was the amazing rendering of the lenses. I love the 3D pop that the wide open aperture creates. It has a very unique look to it and how it can isolate the subject in the foreground and blur out the surrounding details. I used a ND filter here (B&W 3 stops) so that I could shot at f1.4 in the mid-morning sun. I wanted to not only shoot the amazing rock formations, but some of the interesting details like the cactus plants scattered across the landscape.

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