Red Rock Canyon

On Sunday we went to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. We followed Charleston Blvd for 17 miles out of Las Vegas to the turn off for Red Rock Canyon. We stopped at the Visitor's Center to get some information and decided to return later to see the exhibits. Knowing that the weather was going to be very hot by noon, we wanted to take a short hike as well as take some pictures along the 13 mile scenic tour as early as possible.

Stopping at the turn out for Calico Vista II we enjoyed the beautiful scenery as well as spotting some climbers. It was interesting to see their progress up the cliff. Click on the climbers in the bottom center to view a closer view of their skill.

Turning to the left this was the view which greeted us at this turn out. This was the first view of the numerous layers laid down by natural forces so many years ago.

At the Sandstone Quarry turn off we decided to take the shorter trail (2.5 miles round trip) to the Calico Tanks. The trail started out very flat and similar to a stream gravel bed. Note the view of Turtlehead (difficult trail to there is 5 miles round trip) in the background of the picture at the left.

The trail became much more difficult as we progressed towards the tanks. There were times when the exact trail was hard to find. At other times it was obvious that man had worked to make this 'moderately difficult' trail easier for the hikers to navigate. For most of the time the progression was uphill.
Our first view of the 'Tanks' as we came up over our last rise in elevation. This was the only water around and probably was important in the survival of many a desert traveler. Resting on the far side of this water we enjoyed this view. The colors of the rock again were impressive and striking against the brilliant blue sky.
Having hiked in the blazing sun, with the temperature rapidly rising to its high of 105 degrees, this shade was greatly appreciated. Resting here we enjoyed the quiet of the hills, watched the tadpoles in the water, the dragon flies and enjoyed the visit of a lizard.

Geologists have studied this area for many years and visitors can benefit from their research by purchasing a simplified version of the 'Story behind the Scenery Red Rock Canyon' at numerous shops. The Calico hills are a stunning example of the layers of sand laid down many years ago by the shifting winds. Water and wind have eroded some the areas and created interesting rock formations.

This view was taken as we returned to the trailhead. Note the various colors of the rock and the interesting driftwood in the foreground. Although the area seems to be quite void of flora and fauna this is not really the case. The appearance of the red penstemon and the tall spike of the century plant were even the more striking because they were so usual.

Hoover Dam