Rainbow Mountain Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Featuring beautiful terrains of vertical red and buff sandstone cliffs, capped by limestone incised by twisting canyons with vegetation carpets, Rainbow Mountain Wilderness is a nature lover’s dream and a perfect getaway spot for primitive camping. About 12 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada, this BLM property can be easily accessed by vehicles from all sides, although visitors coming in from the north are advised to come in four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Recreational opportunities abound within Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, ranging from nature observation, flora viewing, and wildlife watching, to hunting, sightseeing, and rock climbing. Horseback riding and hiking are other ways to stay active in the wilderness. Additional fun opportunities are available nearby at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and La Madre Mountain Wilderness.

There are no developed campgrounds in Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, so only dry camping opportunities are available for visitors. Come along with all you’ll need for your free camping exercise. A developed campground is available northeast of the wilderness.

All of this BLM wilderness is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.

RV Rentals in Rainbow Mountain Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Rainbow Mountain Wilderness is located about 12 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada, and can be accessed from the eastern, western, southern, and northern areas. If you are coming in from the east, access to this BLM wilderness is from the scenic drive at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Visitors and campers coming to the park from the south and west will be able to gain access via paved roads that lead to the park. From the north, however, dirt roads that require the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles are the only access routes to the wilderness.

Within the boundaries of Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, the use of motorized vehicles and mechanical equipment is prohibited. So, as you are approaching the wilderness in your vehicle, whether, from the north, south, east or west, look out for signs and posts that indicate places where you can park your vehicle outside. Navigation within the wilderness is either on foot or on your horse. Wheelchairs are allowed within the wilderness.

There are no direct public transportation services to Rainbow Mountain Wilderness.

If you wish to get RVs and trailers for modern camping nearby, you will find equipment available at the nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Rainbow Mountain Wilderness

Campsites in Rainbow Mountain Wilderness

Reservations camping

Red Rock Campground

Red Rock Campground is a developed campground located northeast of Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, south of State Route 159. Access to the campground is easy as the roads that lead there are paved. Within the campground itself, roads are gravelly. This campground is open between September and June, but peak season is from October to November, and March to April.

Within this campground, 53 individual campsites, 6 RV sites, 14 walk-to campsites, and seven group campsites are available. There are no hookups for RVs, and neither are dump stations and showers. Vault toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, and grills, as well as potable water, are provided.

RV length limit at the campground is 45 feet. Quiet hours are from 10pm to 6am. Pets are allowed.

Seasonal activities in Rainbow Mountain Wilderness

Off-Season

Picnicking

One wonderful way to spend time in the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness area is picnicking. If you fancy enjoying meals with family, friends, or fellow wilderness explorers, there’s more than enough room for you. You will have to bring all you’ll need though.

However, at the nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, there are four designated picnic areas designated for use by visitors and campers, equipped with amenities such as barbecue grills, trash receptacles, toilets, and picnic tables.

Hunting

If you’re a hunting and trapping enthusiast at Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, then you’re in luck, because these activities are permitted within the wilderness areas. You will, however, have to abide by state and federal hunting regulations, and be in possession of a valid state hunting and trapping license, as well as a tag.

Some areas in the wilderness may be closed to hunting during certain periods, so it’s best to contact the BLM for more information. Target shooting is prohibited in the wilderness.

Rock Climbing

Canyoneering, rock climbing, and scrambling are popular activities at Rainbow Mountain Wilderness, owing to the abundance of rocks and high areas across the wilderness areas. Enthusiasts do not even need a permit to use removable or existing fixed protection provided in the wilderness.

It is important to mention that you should exercise caution as you climb the limestone and sandstone formations within the wilderness, because they’re known to often break off, particularly after a desert rain. So, do not climb when rocks are wet.

In-Season

Flora

Rainbow Mountain Wilderness is a premier destination for nature lovers and flora enthusiasts. This is because the range of elevation in the wilderness area promotes the survival and availability of various plant communities. As you stroll through the wilderness, you’ll find flora such as ponderosa pine, ash, junipers, silk tassel, and manzanita. In addition, vegetation such as bitterbush, scrub oak, apache plume, hackberry, and willow also decorate the park’s areas. All these, and the endemic plant communities that reside in the park, make this BLM wilderness a top-class flora observation site.

Fauna

A wide range of wildlife species call Rainbow Mountain Wilderness home, making this Bureau of Land Management property in Nevada a hot spot for wildlife enthusiasts. As soon as you arrive at the park, with a keen eye, you will able to spot mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, bobcats, mountain lions, and coyotes roaming the wilderness.

Look out for white-tailed antelope squirrels, rock squirrels, and gray foxes too. Birds are also not left out as the trees and skies above the wilderness host golden eagles, great horned owl, western tanagers and many more bird species.

Sightseeing

Every sightseer at Rainbow Mountain Wilderness has so much fun because of the numerous fascinating spots and features that this BLM land is known for. Scientists and rock lovers will find Jurassic sandstone cliffs within the wilderness exhibiting features that show their origin from sand dunes.

In addition, the rocks in the wilderness also demonstrate their association with the Keystone Thrust, a major geologic feature in the area. Explorers to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area enjoy dark night skies too.