Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Sloan Canyon is located on 48,438 acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Situated just south of the Vegas Strip and nearby Interstate I-15, it is conveniently located for those visiting Vegas and the Henderson area. Sloan Canyon is a great place, very close to town, to go hiking. The hike starts on a rocky gravel trail and quickly takes you through a canyon with steep carved rock sides formed by volcanic lava flows many years ago. The draw to Sloan Canyon, however, is the ancient Indian petroglyph rock carvings on the canyon walls. Archeological evidence suggests resources within Sloan Canyon may have been used as long ago as 7,000 years.
Petroglyphs are symbols engraved or pecked into the desert varnish or surface of rock surfaces, exposing the light color underneath. At Sloan Canyon, there are more than 1,700 carving designs on about 300 different panels. Experts believe the earliest of these were made by ancestralPuebloans in the archaic period, but other tribes may have continued to add petroglyphs into the historic period after contact with European cultures.
Some of the rock art depicts recognizable forms such as bighorn sheep, lizards, other endemic animals, and human forms, while other designs remain a mystery. This is an historic site, so please respect the sacred land and the petroglyphs.
Camping and 4-wheeling is not allowed in Sloan Canyon. Activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching are encouraged. All vehicles, including mountain bikes, are prohibited within the wilderness boundary. Only hiking is encouraged in the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Area.
The road approaching Sloan Canyon is a bumpy, unimproved dirt road (it’s about 5 total miles driving from I-15 to Sloan Canyon). High ground clearance vehicles are highly recommended as there are plenty of rocks on the road. 4-wheel drive is not required, but an SUV or truck with high clearance will work best. Follow the directions on our interactive map below.
The BLM has plans in the next several years to pave the road approaching Sloan Canyon and to add to the existing trails and even build a visitor’s center.
As with all canyon hiking, plan to end your hike well-before sunset. The steep canyon walls will cast dark shadows before actual sunset and as soon as the sun passes below the canyon walls, expect the temperature to drop significantly. Bring plenty of water and wear comfortable, full-toed shoes.