Outdoor enthusiasts who want a safer outdoor option to travel to and from Red Rock Canyon could have a path to do just that.
A $14.7 million, 5.5-mile trail from Sky Vista Drive in Summerlin to the visitor center at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is planned, pending approval Tuesday by the Clark County Commission.
Funding would derive mainly from an $11.7 million federal lands access program grant awarded to Save Red Rock, $2.93 million from the state Department of Transportation and $605,000 from Clark County.
“The federal lands access program is set up to connect rapidly growing residential areas with federal land,” said Sheila Billingsley, Save Red Rock treasurer. “When I read that, I was like, ‘holy cow, Summerlin and the visitors center.’ So I applied for it and won it.”
The trail will be a straight shot from Sky Vista to the visitors center, with a parking lot possible near Calico Basin Road.
The trail is hoped to be the start of a longer trail system similar to the River Mountains Loop Trail.
“That’s a really fabulous loop through a beautiful country,” Billingsley said. “This is going to be the beginning of that.”
The project will depend on an environmental assessment, and the record of decision is expected in mid-November. Final plans are to be submitted in August 2021.
Billingsley said she believes cyclists who enjoy riding down state Route 159 to the Red Rock Loop will likely not use the loop, as she sees it being used by more by families and visitors who are looking to enjoy the outdoors conveniently.
“Say I’m a mom with kids. I could use that (path),” she said. “This is for people in wheelchairs, the average cyclist who doesn’t ride with 30 friends, maybe two friends and they’ll be off the road. You can walk it, run it and wheelchair it.”
The trail could also come in handy when the scenic loop is closed for one reason or another, giving potential visitors a chance to take a stroll in the Red Rock area even if they can’t access the main visitor area, Billingsley said.
“When it’s closed, people go and they kind of wander willy-nilly and they cause safety issues to themselves, drivers and cyclists,” she said. “It gives everybody a place to go and almost (serves as) a pressure release valve for the canyon.”