Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is in the Mojave Desert just west of Las Vegas. Beautiful geologic formations (including the Keystone Thrust Fault), nice colors and textures and lots of trails to be explored. The vegetation here early in April seemed so much happier than comparable locations in So Cal. The result of more water, I suppose. There seem to be lots of springs - the result to the fault perhaps.
The visitor center at Red Rock Canyon is really impressive. It's mostly outdoors and has great colorful exhibits and scuptures of local wildlife. Unfortunately, it is behind a gate with a $7 per vehicle admission fee. You can use your America the Beautiful (National Parks) pass for admission, too.
The Red Rock Canyon camground is a pleasant if exposed sort of place with a nice couple from Idaho acting as camp hosts this season. They'll take off in May when it must be really, really hot.
Taking my cue from them, I'll probably wait until the fall to see if RRCNCA really pans out. Then, I'll be reaching out to my hiking pals to share the drive (4 to 5 hours) and the walks (seemingly limitless).
By the way - Red Rock Canyon Campground makes for cushy camping. It is less than 3 miles from a couple of McMansion developments. Their local shopping center offers Alberson's, CVS, Chevron, Wells Fargo and assorted pizza, pet, bike, donut and nail shops. Oddly enough, I didn't spot a Starbucks where I could tap into a wi-fi connection. But the corner sports bar has an excellent burger and very nice watresses (they flirted me out of an extra generous tip).
And, yes, there is video poker. After all, it's Vegas, baby!