How to Win in an RV in Las Vegas

Our second-to-last climbing stop was Red Rock Canyon (aka that BIG pile of rocks just outside of Vegas). As we’ve done for Bishop, Joshua Tree and Hueco Tanks, here’s our rundown of how to beat the house (and when the house clearly won!) in Red Rocks.

Time frame:

April 8th – 21st, 2015

Where to stay:

There are a few casinos that have campgrounds attached to them (Circus Circus, Main Street Station Casino) but from the reviews we read, they are somewhat sketchy and tended to be quite pricey. Spending some quality-time with Google, we found out that Las Vegas has a few city bylaws that make overnight parking in most areas prohibited, and we didn’t want to test their “punishable by towing” signs. So we ended up moving around quite a bit, staying a night and a night there.

Sam’s Club (7175 Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas, NV):

  • There was a Sam’s Club and Walmart side-by-side and, ironically, the Walmart did not allow overnight parking (we were quickly pounced on by the parking-lot security), but Sam’s Club did allow overnight parking. He suggested we find a nice quiet corner, and we did. Every night, we saw the security patrol drive past us, with no issue. Score! After 6 or 7 nights, though, we got the knock on the window. Apparently we were only allowed 4 nights maximum so we had to move on: he suggested kindly that we try parking right next door, at the 99-Cent Store, as that store did not have parking security. We stayed there for one night only, as it felt a bit uncomfortable.

Red Rock Campground:

  • The good: This campground is minutes away from the climbing areas, so it’s a good spot… IF you can get spot (we tried twice, but it was always full)
  • The bad: There are no services here (no water / electrical hook-up, no RV dumping, no showers), so for $15.00/night it seemed a bit excessive, especially when fresh water and dumping are so important for us! | Resting in the shade after bouldering, Red Rocks NV

King’s Row RV Park:

  • The good: This campground was only $18/night for a full hook-up, and had laundry facilities. It was also on a main road with buses running to the regularly, so we ended up taking the bus down to The Strip one evening.
  • The bad: It’s on the other side of town from Red Rocks, so unless you want to spend 45 minutes of traveling each way, it’s not the most convenient place to camp.

Clark County Shooting Range:

  • This was the most unusual place we stayed, but it had a fantastic view of the Vegas skyline, and it was only $20/night for full hook-up. This was also one of the flattest spots we’ve ever had! It passed the “Pearson Level Test” with flying colours! It’s worth spending a night here, and watching the downtown lights as dusk turns to darkness.
  • Pearson Level Test = Open the fridge door to see how quickly it flies open, and in which direction. If the open door doesn’t move, you’re on a level spot!

Mount Charleston Campgrounds:

  • We spent one day climbing up in Mount Charleston, to beat the heat of the canyon. To save the drive up and down the mountain, we camped at the McWilliams Campground. It was $21/night for no services, so not a very good deal; the lower campground was full but looked like it had better services.

Where to shop:

  • In a big centre like Vegas, there is a plethora of options: Whole Foods, Safeway, Sprouts, local Farmers Markets… all exist in abundance. The choice is yours. | Farmers Market produce, Las Vegas NV

Where to shower:

  • Desert Breeze Aquatic Center: We paid $3/person for access to the pool. We would often use the pool / shower here and then stay in the parking lot to make dinner. The center was part of a big green-space area (ball parks, dog-walking park, skateboarding area) and made for a relaxing parking spot.
  • Red Rock Climbing Center: This indoor gym has shower facilites for $4/shower. It works in a pinch, and would be a good rainy day indoor-climbing option.

Where to eat:

This is Sin City, so the sky’s the limit! We ate out a few times, but the few “treat” places we really enjoyed were…

Where to drink:

We had fun sampling some of the great craft-beer in Las Vegas! | Jonty outside Big Dog Brewery, Las Vegas NV

Making friends with the big dog.

Where to recycle:

  • Tricky, tricky, tricky (as always). Whole Foods Market has bins for paper, plastic and aluminum. Target stores have bins for plastic, glass and aluminum. So between the two places, we were able to recycle most of our stuff. Hallelujah!

Where to fill-up and dump:

  • This was unexpectedly hard on the Red Rock Canyon side of town. There were very few places to dump that weren’t miles across: King’s Row RV park was the closest place we found that allowed you to dump for a fee ($4/dump, which was very reasonable). The only other place we could find was Oasis RV Resort, which charged $15/dump.

Where to cycle:

  • Las Vegas ended up being a great (and easy!) place to cycle. We covered some of this earlier on. | Jonty cycling, Red Rocks NV

Where to get Beta:

  • Desert Rock Sports: This shop is right beside the indoor climbing gym and has a great selection of gear and guidebooks. | Sign in Las Vegas

While there was tonnes to see and do in Vegas, we found it a little tricky to stay in an RV, if you want to be climbing. When we come back, we’re going to see if we can book into a hotel or use Airbnb to remain on the canyon side of town, at least for part of our stay to make life easier…