Trails made for two in the Mojave Desert.

By Travel + Leisure
August 31, 2012
Tom Grundy / Alamy

The 195,819-acre Red Rock Canyon may get plenty of hikers—after all, there are more than 30 miles of trails—but many of its little paths make for romantic, private interludes. Along the way, you may spot desert tortoises, wild burros, and bighorn sheep. For even more active-minded couples, there’s also rock climbing and horseback riding.

Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa

In 2006, local gaming company Station Casinos opened a resort casino in the far reaches of West Las Vegas, about 30 minutes from the Strip and on the border of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. But it's not just another card in the group's hand: It's a complete design departure, blending sleek minimalism with the kind of tropical overabundance you might find in Palm Springs. There is, to be sure, some glitz—3.1 million pieces of crystal in the casino’s stunning chandeliers, for example. The Fertitta hotelier family (of Green Valley Ranch Resort fame) have made this a self-contained oasis. Rooms, in hues of brown and white, have sweeping canyon or Strip vistas, 42-inch plasma TVs, down duvets, and palatial bathrooms. The massive “backyard” pool area has private cabanas and huge daybeds.

Vintner Grill

Enter this airy, all-white modern dining room, which opened in 2006, and the only reminder that you are not eating in the Hamptons is the fact that you had to reach Vintner Grill through an office park. Close to Red Rock Casino (a 15-20 minute drive from the Strip), the Mediterranean-influenced American dishes include Moroccan-spiced lamb spareribs; crispy wood-fired flatbreads (try prosciutto with roasted peppers, fennel, micro arugula, and white truffle oil); and halibut with toasted orzo, lemon gremolata, and sweet tomatoes. Everything is well paired with a reasonably priced wine list of more than 200 bottles, half-bottles, and wines by the glass, from 10 different countries.


Gray Line

This tour operator runs daily bus trips to Red Rock Canyon and offers convenient hotel pick-up.