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Red Rock Canyon

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S: Red Rock Canyon 2010 ~ 2013

BC: An in our lives we will never forget . . . | Created by Deb 2014

FC: Red Rock Canyon | Las Vegas, Nevada 2010~2013

1: Red Rock Canyon was our favorite place to hike during the 3 years we lived in Las Vegas. It was only 10 minutes from our house and we hiked it almost every Saturday. We hiked it all year round...even in the cold, snow, and at 110+ degrees! It was an amazing adventure that we will really miss! The mountains in the Red Rock Canyon area were formed by a number of geological forces including fractured faults where the earth's crust collided and fossilized sand dunes. Some of the cliffs reach up as high as 6,321 feet. And we climbed those too!!!

2: Red Rock has more than 30 miles of hiking & climbing trails, picnic areas, wonderful places to observe nature and a great visitors center.

3: Red Rock Canyon is part of the Mojave Desert, which stretches out to the corners of California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. The sandstone rocks get their color from iron oxide. Over centuries the iron oxide built up, producing the vibrant, crimson color. The 13-mile scenic loop drive through the canyon allows you to see many of the different rock formations and colors of rock. It is just breathtaking!

4: Some of our favorite hikes . . . | Some of our favorite hikes . . .

5: Calico Hills Distance 2-6 miles; Average time: 1.5 – 3.5 hours; 400 ft. Gain; Difficulty: MODERATE This trail runs along the base of the Calico Rocks from Calico Basin to Sandstone Quarry. | Calico Tanks Distance 2.5 miles; Average time: 2 hours; 450 ft. Gain; Difficulty: MODERATE This scurry over jumbled sandstone leads to a hidden water pocket and a great view of Las Vegas. | Turtlehead Peak Distance 5 miles; Average time: 3.5-4.5 hours; 2,000 ft. Gain; Difficulty: STRENUOUS This hike features sweeping views from a choice Red Rock Canyon peak. Although it’s not an easy climb, Turtlehead Peak is one of the most accessible peaks. At the top, you’re treated to one of the best panoramic views of Red Rock Canyon. | Keystone Thrust Distance 2.2 miles; Average time: 1.5 hours; 400 ft. Gain; Difficulty: MODERATE Hike along this trail to see the intersection of great and colorful geologic eras. Years ago, the Pacific and North American continental plates got into a shoving match. The conflict pushed up the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west. The same force pushed the deep limestone layers up and over the sand dunes in what is now Red Rock Canyon. | Ice Box Canyon Distance 2.6 miles; Average time: 2 hours; 300 ft. Gain; Difficulty: MODERATE Ice Box Canyon is a good hike for a hot day. The trail takes you through a cool, shady box canyon with seasonal waterfalls. The narrow canyon rarely sees sunlight, and the cool water and air pouring down from the mountains keep it significantly cooler than the open desert, but you have to cross the open desert for a mile to get there.

6: La Madre Springs | It is a serene area of running water and singing birds. | The water provides habitat for Pacific tree frogs that sing in the spring; water for birds, bighorn sheep, and other desert wildlife. We saw a lot of tadpoles in the water. | Elevation 5,245 feet | is small in size and large in charm. It is a place to relax with nature. We hiked this trail many times... even in the snow!

7: Parts of this hike are very strenuous, and the trail climbs 700 feet in only 1.8 miles. | The Manzanita bush has smooth, red bark and twisting branches. A tea made from the berries can be used for poison oak rash. You see a lot of these on the Red Rock Canyon trails. | Distance 3.3 miles; Average time: 2hrs; Difficulty: Moderate | The Miner's Cabin was another half mile steep hike up to 5,693 feet.

8: Gateway Canyon Loop | Love the wild patterns in the sandstone! | Gateway Canyon Loop, which circles around Kraft Mountain, is a great hiking trail right next to Red Rock Canyon. | You can see why this is one of our favorite hiking trails . . .

9: The trail runs up some steep slopes with some great views of Red Rock Canyon. | Sliding down the rock into Gateway Canyon. | 3-1/4-mile hike

10: Turtlehead Peak | The upper section is very rough... with loose rock, steep falls, and many confusing side paths, with no distinct signage or main trail to follow. | It is a very strenuous and tough hike scrambling to the peak. | This was our hiking trail that day. | What an incredible view; and well worth the hike up the mountain after two previous attempts! There, we enjoyed a memorable picnic lunch..

11: bird and hike.com was a valuable source of information when we planned our weekly hikes. | At the top, you have one of the best panoramic views of Red Rock Canyon...and the Las Vegas Strip. | The following week we had the Turtlehead Peak hike behind us...

12: This 1.2 mile hike over jumbled sandstone leads to a large hidden water tank and a great view of Las Vegas. | Calico Tanks | The lower part of the canyon is wide and sandy, but higher up, the canyon narrows and the trail runs on red and white sandstone slickrock.

13: The "tank" usually has water in it year round but when you have an exceptionally hot summer it can totally dry up. It's easy to miss the view of Las Vegas ,at the top, if you don't know the trail. The first time we hiked it, we missed it by about 50 yards! | A great view at the top!

14: Let it snow . . . | It was definitely colder then what we're used to!

15: This was a big surprise to wake up to! It made the hike a like more interesting. We could not hike on the slippery rocks! | It was weird seeing snow on cactus; but the snow covered mountain views were just incredible!

16: There are 20 species of lizards, 25 species of snakes and 2 species of turtles and tortoises in the canyon. | We saw some desert bighorn sheep.

17: The native peoples who lived around Las Vegas hundreds of years ago created some amazing rock art.. | We really enjoyed our weekly hikes in Red Rock Canyon . It was exhausting at times, but extremely rewarding! | Check out the hand prints in the rocks! | DESERT VARNISH: The Patina of Time After thousands of years in the desert sun. rock surfaces may develop a reddish-brown or blackish-blue coating known as desert varnish. This thin, paint-like layer is a dense build up of oxidized minerals, clay, and dust. Petroglyphs (rock carvings) are images pecked or incised into the rock surface. Pecked images were made with a hammerstone of harder rock. Incised (out of scratched) designs were carved with sharp-edged stones. | Pictographs (rock paintings) are designs painted onto the surface of the rock. Paints were made by mixing ground-up materials, clays, or charcoal with a liquid binder such as plant juices, saliva, or egg whites. Paint could be applied with fingers, hands, or fiber brushes.

18: There were too many great hikes and pictures to be able to share them all . . . This was a wonderful place. We will miss it here .

19: in our Las Vegas

22: The Visitor Center was a place we came to often...mostly for the great gift shop where we got many awesome books, jewelry, t-shirts, gifts and fun stuff for Noah & Caleb. | There was a lot of educational information about the desert that just amazed us! | The desert canyon is a land of extremes where the elemental forces of Earth, Fire, Air, Water shape the landscape and the lives of those who live here.

23: When most people think desert they think sand & cactus... These are some of the many flowering plants we came across on our many hikes through Red Rock Canyon. | This is a great view of the canyon with pictures and highlights of all the different hiking locations. There was even a hand painted map on the deck. | One crazy adventure after another...

24: Mt. Charleston | Cathedral Rock was right across the street from the Mt. Charleston Lodge and Cabins. At 11,916 feet it is the highest of the Spring Mountains of Southern Nevada and the state's eighth highest mountain peak. Mt. Charleston was about a 35 minute drive from our house in Summerlin and is in located in Kyle Canyon. We hiked the rock three times while we lived in Las Vegas. | Charleston Peak

25: We went up to the Mt. Charleston Lodge about every 4 weeks for breakfast. Because the temperature was 25 to 30 degrees cooler than where in Las Vegas, there were many times that it snowed on our ride up the mountain. There were many times when we started out the trip with the convertible top down, only to have to put it up because the car thermostat was reading "ice." The local Native Indian tribes were always out in front of the lodge selling Native American jewelry and pottery. We got many great gifts from them. We stayed overnight in one of their 24 cabins twice. Once was after a snow storm covered the mountain. It was great! | Mt. Charleston Lodge is at a 7700 foot elevation.

26: Cathedral Rock Trail | The mountain was a beautiful hike through tall pines and flowering paths. We saw deer, coyotes and little ground squirrels (who tried going into our backpacks for food while we were eating lunch).

27: This was a BIG change from the grueling hikes in the heat at Red Rock Canyon. The views from the top were just amazing! We could see the the huge cabin homes near Mary Jane Falls and the Mt. Charleston Lodge where we would have breakfast after our hike.

28: "Raintree," is an enormous old bristlecone pine that is said to be some 3,000 years old. | North Loop Trailhead to "Raintree" | It was a misty and dreary day... This forest was like the "Enchanted Forest" in a fairy tale. The fog and rain rolled in and the scenery became eerily strange. The rain made the grain of the trees just really jump out! I'm glad we got to do this trail on a rainy day. | We went back to hike the trail again 2 weeks later on a very sunny morning, as pictured on the opposite page. What a difference in the way the trees looked today. The views we saw this time were spectacular!

29: "Raintree"

30: Mary Jane Falls Trail | 9200 feet elevation | The Mary Jane Falls Trail is fairly strenuous, climbing almost 1,100 feet in 1.6 miles. It's a short trail with many switchbacks that help you climb up the elevation. The trail starts off wide, but as you ascend up the mountain it narrows and at times gets a little difficult to follow.

31: Fletcher Canyon Trail | The rock chute | This trail is a nice, 1.8-mile hike. The trail runs at a moderately strenuous grade up the canyon to a dry creek bed, then runs steeply into a deep, narrow canyon with walls that are a few feet apart and about 200 feet high. The trail ends at a fork in the canyon where water has carved an interesting chute across the top of a boulder. The pines are HUGE here and the scenery is beautiful. The entire hike is about a 1,000 foot gain.

32: The Carpenter 1 Fire raged for 3 weeks! Mount Charleston residents, including those in Trout, Lee and Kyle canyons, were evacuated on July 4 after the Carpenter 1 Fire, which was sparked by a lightning strike on July 1, 2013 began to threaten their neighborhoods. It had consumed almost 28,000 acres or roughly 43 square miles. The fire was fought by hundreds of firefighters and eight Hotshot crews, as well helicopters, fire engines, water tenders, and a DC-10 tanker plane. The Kyle Canyon Picnic Area suffered damage after debris flows caused by the heavy rain hit the area. Several roads are covered with gravel, and debris up to a foot high has collected around tables at individual picnic sites. The fire has cost more than $13 million to fight. | There were more than 1,100 firefighters working the blaze; some coming from as far away as Maine and Florida. | The DC-10 tanker aircraft carries up to 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in an exterior belly-mounted tank, the contents of which can be released in 8 seconds. A retardant batch plant was set up to facilitate the heavy lift helicopters with retardant drops. Many times they flew right over our house.

33: Scientists said it will take years for the burned areas to look just as green as before. | After the fire came the Flash Flood Warnings! Heavy amounts of rain and the loss of vegetation caused rock, debris and soil flowing down the mountains washing out roads and a bridge. | And we had some "special" visitors that we got to share it with... Noah & Caleb came from Orlando with Christie & Steve in November of 2011. And our best friends Henry & Cherryse, from New Orleans, came in January 2011 and in February 2012. | We made some great memories in Mt. Charleston...

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Deb Iglesias
  • By: Deb I.
  • Joined: almost 8 years ago
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  • Title: Red Rock Canyon
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