A few days ago, we chose an easy hike.
Red Rock Canyon is only about 15 miles from our Say ‘Ohana in Nevada; just 17 miles west of the Las Vegas strip. It made for a great afternoon jaunt for us, as we sought to get out of the house, fully aware we couldn’t stay away from the new puppies for too long ”“ we only had the two hour window between their feedings (see this Flickr photo set for more: Mission 1, 2009: Puppy-Sitting)
Red Rock Canyon was designated as Nevada's first National Conservation Area, and in marked contrast to a town geared to entertainment and gaming, this escape offers a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and visitor center with exhibit rooms and a book store.
From a flyer we got at the gate: “Why are the rocks red?”
“More than 600 million years ago, the land that would become Red Rock Canyon was the bottom of a deep ocean basin. [Hard to imagine, now in the middle of a desert!] Over time, changing land and sea levels resulted in the deposition of both ocean and continental sediments that became the gray limestone found at RRC today. About 180 million years ago, a giant sand dune field formed over what became the Western U.S. Powerful winds shifted the sands back and forth, forming angled lines in the sand. Over time, the sheer weight of the layers of sand compressed into stone. This formation, known locally as Aztec Sandstone, is quite hard and forms the cliffs of RRC. Exposure to the elements caused some of the iron-bearing minerals to oxidize. This oxidizing process can be more easily thought of as a ‘rusting of the sand,’ which resulted in red, orange, and tan colored rocks.”
For more on Red Rock Canyon, visit:
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
The unique geologic features, plants and animals of Red Rock Canyon NCA
is said to represent some of the best examples of the Mojave Desert.
At first you do think everything looks the same, but then you look again and see the contrasts – the camera helps so much with that: Even I was surprised at how many pictures I took, and from interest, not boredom. See my complete photo set (35 photos) on Flickr: Red Rock Canyon, Nevada.