Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Located 17 miles west of Las Vegas, Red Rocks was designated as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area.

During a recent visit to Las Vegas, my friend Andrew took me to explore this incredible place.

From the first moment we entered Red Rocks, my jaw was dropping.

The vast, wide open landscape, with those incredible peaks rising to the sky, blew me away!

The colors of the desert are so varied, and I love the multiple layers shown in the next image.

It’s incredible to think that the Las Vegas strip is just a few miles away.

The conservation area showcases the most incredible sandstone red rock formations.  “These sandstone cliffs are made up of Aztec Sandstone.  The formations, 180-190 million years old, are comprised of lithified sand dunes that formed in the a vast desert that covered a large part of the southwestern United States during the Juraassic Time.  Lithification is the process of changing unconsolidated sediment into sedimentary rock”.

“The red color of some of the outcrops of the Aztec Sandstone is due to presence of iron oxide or hematite. Exposure to the elements caused iron minerals to oxidize or “rust,” resulting in red, orange, and brown-colored rocks. Areas where the rock is buff in color may be places where the iron has been leached out by subsurface water, or where the iron oxide was never deposited”

The highest point in Red Rocks is over 8000 ft high.

“In marked contrast to a town geared to entertainment and gaming, Red Rock offers enticements of a different nature including a 13-mile scenic drive, miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor center with indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as a book store”.

 https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/nevada/red-rock-canyon

Andrew and I followed the 13 mile scenic drive, and he was patient enough to pull over every time I said “Oh my gosh, look!”

The 100 degree temps required much drinking of water … and we were driving!

Next time, perhaps a winter visit is in order, and we can hit one of the many hiking trails within the conservation area.

Please visit here to see some amazing photography.  Just incredible!

Thanks, Andrew, for showing me the natural beauty of Nevada.

A”maze”ing Channels

We knew that we’d have a great hike and incredible views when we visited The Channels Natural Area Preserve, and we even knew that there would be some interesting sandstone formations to explore.  What we didn’t know was just how very cool those formations would be.  We simply could not help ourselves and kept exclaiming out loud with every turn.  As Karen said, the place brought out the inner child in all of us.

According to several online sources, the sandstone outcroppings were formed 400 million years ago.

Geologists conclude that the Channels were likely formed while the high elevation sandstone cap was under the influence of permafrost and ice wedging during the last ice age.

 The expanding ice fractured the sandstone and water slowly spread and smoothed the breaks over millions of years.

“What is left is a labyrinth of slots and crevices through the rocks. The pathways range from 20 to nearly 40 feet deep and wind their way through damp, moss-covered walls of stone” (https://virginiatrailguide.com/2016/10/23/great-channels).

Aren’t the colors incredible?

Check out the way these tree roots are stretching for moisture,

and the ferns growing amidst the cracks in the rocks.

We laughed and exclaimed and explored and were utterly happy with the experience.

For more information about The Channels, visit the previous two posts.