Red Rock Canyon

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.

Approaching Red Rock Canyon

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.

The Keystone Fault – younger rock in the foreground, older rock in the background

A closer look at the Keystone Fault

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.

Check out the white dot in the center of the picture

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.

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13 Responses to Red Rock Canyon

  1. Sandra Silva says:

    We love all the pictures and info. We have never visited Red Rock canyon but will definitely put it on our To-Do list.

    Glad John’s back is healing. Sorry we will not be seeing you in Cottonwood/Sedona next month. I know you will love all the beauty of the Utah National Parks. We are enjoying all there is to do here in San Diego. The weather has been cool but sunny. Light jacket weather which is my favorite.

    Don’t get lost on the Valley of Fire like I did.

    Sandy and Bob

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Gay and Joe Taylor says:

    Sounds like another ” to do” . I have so appreciated the info and pictures in your posts! We are headed to Vegas in March.

  3. RJRVtravels says:

    Glad to hear John’s back is on the mend. Have you been to Zion and the other southern Utah parks? – we love the area – lots to hike and explore.

  4. Ingrid says:

    So glad you got to visit my old stomping grounds…..Red Rock Canyon. That was always a favorite of mine. Did you see any wild Burros? Enjoy Zion….its a beauty!

    • placestheygo says:

      No Burros:( We only did one 2 mile hike. We didn’t want to overdo it with my husband’s back just beginning to recover and we have three months of hiking ahead of us. We did drive the road loop. Believe me it was killing me not to hike into those canyons!! Next trip west!!

      • Sue says:

        Great pictures Pam. Can’t wait to get up into that area. I hope our paths finally cross in April long will you be in Zion?

      • Ingrid says:

        Next trip….our famous saying. Gotta leave something to explore next time. Best to take it easy so you can both enjoy your travels. Red Rock Canyon has been there a long time and I don’t think its going anywhere….lol.

  5. Marsha says:

    We loved that area also. We were hoping to see climbers but just missed a big group of them. It was actually a climbing club. We saw them as they were just finishing. I bet that would have been an awesome sight to see. Glad you got to experience it.
    So glad John is feeling much better, but glad he didn’t push it. Do a good job covering Utah. We think that is where we will head in October. Have fun and stay safe.

  6. Erin says:

    I’ve enjoyed your Vegas posts … it’s been many, many years since we last visited.

  7. Lisa says:

    Good idea to rest up that back a bit longer! Utah is worth it!!! Looking forward to more pics of Valley of Fire!

  8. I have heard of Red Rock Canyon and never made it there considering our many visits to LV. Thanks for the great pics and cant wait for the Valley of Fire tales.

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