You can see by the above pictures why this area is called Red Rock Canyon.
According to the Bureau of Land Management Web page for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. “The unique geologic features, plants and animals of Red Rock Canyon NCA represent some of the best examples of the Mojave Desert.” It is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, contains 195,819 acres, is visited by more than one million people each year, including a 13-mile scenic drive,and has more than 30 miles of hiking trails. What the Web page doesn’t say is that it is also 50 miles from Pahrump.
An even better Web page for all things about Red Rock Canyon NCA is the excellent one from the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association.
The sandstone of the area has all kinds of interesting patterns and is also very popular with rock climbers.
Even the smaller rocks have very interesting patterns
Red Rock NCA is one of the few places we have been that allows dogs on the trails. So with our trusty K9 trail guide we headed out for a hike. Raider was like a puppy, charging along and jumping over rocks.
Our first trail was to an area known for petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are when the patterns are carved into the rock and Pictographs are when they were put on with paint. In the very nice visitor center at Red Rock NCA they use the term Rock Art to cover both.
There are areas with sweeping views.
Our second hike was one the the volunteer at the visitor center said not to miss. It was to desert waterfall with a surprise.
With Raider leading the way our trail started across a dry wash.
Then we entered one of the many side canyons.
We did find a waterfall.
We also found ice! Even though it looks clear and sunny in all of these pictures the temperature never reached 50 and even in the sun we hiked in sweatshirts and down vest. Here in the canyon the temperature was only in the 30s.
The surprise at the end of the trail was this frozen tree.
The Red Rock Canyon NCA is real desert and has the cacti to prove it.
This place seems to have everything: there are wild burros, wild horse and bighorn sheep. We did not see any wild horses but we did see wild burros along Nevada Highway 159 and saw the bighorn sheep along Nevada Highway 160. Unfortunately, both were in areas where we could not pull over to get pictures.The bird list for Red Rock NCA says that there are over 100 species in the area, but all we saw was a single Spotted Towhee and a Common Raven.
More pictures of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on the slideshow: