The last stop on my to-do list before leaving Nevada was a visit to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. An easy 15 minute drive from Las Vegas, the landscape and stark beauty of the canyon itself feels as if it’s a million miles away. But it’s that proximity which has made it such a popular tourist sight and, as I learned, that attention is well deserved. The canyon is also one of the best organized natural resources I’ve visited, with a visitor’s center and a one-way loop road that takes visitors through 13 miles of the canyon’s most stunning features, with plenty of opportunities to stop along the way. It was the last day of my road trip around southern Nevada, and by that time I had learned to appreciate the special kind of beauty that only a desert landscape can provide. It may be stark, but there’s an elegance in that and Red Rock Canyon encapsulates the best of those features that I came to love about the desert terrain. It also felt as if I was driving through a real life version of the animated movie “Cars,” the imagery so iconic that I couldn’t believe it exists outside of those painted cells. For any visitor to Las Vegas, a half day spent driving, biking or hiking around Red Rock Canyon is a must-do experience, as I hope these photos prove.