Las Vegas, NV
Just to the west of Las Vegas is a hiking area mentioned by many people we have met. So Friday we decided to check it out for ourselves. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an area managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of its National Landscape Conservation System, and protected as a National Conservation Area. It is located about 15 miles west of Las Vegas, and easily seen from the Las Vegas Strip.
The conservation area showcases a set of large red rock formations: a set of sandstone peaks and walls called the Keystone Thrust. The walls are up to 3,000 feet high, making them a popular hiking and rock climbing destination.
During a mountain building period around 65 million years ago, the Keystone Thrust Fault developed, running through most of North America and through the Red Rock Conservation Area. Typically, younger rock is above older rock. Red Rock Canyon is considered the best visible example in the world of reversed rock layers. The movement of the Keystone Thrust Fault forced the older grey sedimentary rock over the younger red rocks, forming the striking red line that can be seen in the mountain today.
At one point we were checking out a beautiful rock area known as Calico Hills when we detected some movement on the rocks in the distance.
A zoom shot reveals two rock climbers going up the wall of the rocks.
A one-way loop road, 13 miles long, provides vehicle access to many of the features in the area. Since John is just recovering from a sore back, we only hiked a two mile loop rated easy, saving his back for what we see as better hiking during our stay in Valley of Fire State Park next week.
We’ll make the forty mile drive northeast to Valley of Fire on Monday for a four day visit. The cell service (phone and data) is very poor there, so we may not be able to post for a while. The first of March we’ll continue moving northeast into Utah, where we have reservations for a month at the beautiful Zion River RF Resort. Since we’ll be back in cell/wi-fi world there, a post on our adventures in the Valley of Fire will be uploaded then.