Las Vegas, NV

21 July 2006

Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area

Red Rock Conservation area is located about 25 miles west of Las Vegas. The area contains many hiking trails of varying difficulty. It is also a rock climbing mecca. We limited our activity to the scenic road and a couple of short trails. I had been here with Carrie and hiked a couple of the trails over the course of two days and really liked it. I thought that Susie might enjoy some of the trails because I did, but time and temperatures knocked that idea out. My last trip to Red Rock was in March so temperatures were much lower, in fact, we encountered some snow flurries. Time, it turns out, affects memory because the trails I remembered as easy were listed as moderate or strenuous.

This is being written in the mid-afternoon because we have leave the campground early to get to a show at the Mirage. I don't plan on writing a review of the show.

Red Rock Scenes
Almost exactly a year ago, on July 22, 2005, lightening started a fire in the center of the scenic loop. The fire ultimately burned 821 acres and threatened the visitors center. Fire fighters on the ground and aircraft limited the fire to the relatively small area. A year later, the grasses are coming back, but the Yuccas still bear witness to the fire. The picture at left shows a victim, a Yucca plant, and a survivor side by side.
This area is a geological fault line called the Keystone Thrust. The gray hills in the background are higher then the younger formations in the foreground. The older rocks were thrust up by the same action that built all of the western mountains about 65 million years ago. Pine Creek Canyon is a remnant of the Ice Age when these area was wetter. This is one of the few places where Pine trees and Yuccas grow side by side.
Ice Box Canyon
Lush vegetation in the middle of the desert at Willow Springs
Two variation of rock art found at Red Rock Canyon. At left are petroglyphs, drawings carved into the rock. Pictographs are drawn on the rocks, right, with pigments (see hands at top). Pictographs are rarer because they are more susceptible to weathering.
Susie leading the way on the trail