A visit to Red Rock Canyon

Monday 11/10 was yet another day with blue skies and warm temperatures. Just another great day to be alive!!

After our normal morning rituals along with the added waffle breakfast, that hasn’t been a norm until we got here to the Wine Ridge Rv Resort LOL, we decided to take a drive to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. So we loaded up the Jeep and headed out.

From our campground it’s a 41 mile drive on east on highway 160 before reaching the turn off on highway 159 and then another 8 miles to reach Red Rock Canyon.

It sure seems that 50 miles in the desert is a whole bunch farther than 50 miles in say Oregon. I guess it’s the long straight roads with the same mountain or hill in sight for what seems to be forever.

Red Rock Canyon is a Federal Park and there is a $7 per car fee to get in but with our old fart pass entry was free.

This was taken from the visitor's center. Pictures just don't do the area justice.

This was taken from the visitor’s center. Pictures just don’t do the area justice.

Once we pulled in we noticed how many cars were there. The place was busy busy busy. So after parking we of course headed to the welcome center for a look around. Once inside the impact of just how many people there were really sunk in, why is everyone here, why aren’t all these kids in school we wondered. Then we hit, Even though Veterans Day was Tuesday it was being observed that Monday. Hmm, didn’t take that into consideration LOL!! (Thank you Veterans for what you do and have done for our country).

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We didn’t wonder around the packed visitor’s center long before we decided to head out to the canyon. There is a 13-Mile Scenic Drive that doubles as a back country byway. It is a 13-mile, paved, one-way scenic drive that passes through the red and buff colored rock formations of beautiful sandstone and limestone cliffs that reach elevations of 7,000 feet.

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There are many pull outs that provide parking so you can explore the desert on one of the many trails Red Rock has to offer. The trail heads are pretty well marked and range from easy to extreme.

There were a few places along the scenic route where we saw climbers.

There were a few places along the scenic route where we saw climbers.

See the rock climbers?

See the rock climbers?

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It didn’t take us long to reach a trail that caught Diane’s attention and we pulled off and were on our way. The trail was marked moderate and for the first ¾ mile or so we were rating it an easy but that changed when we found ourselves looking for the actual trail and scurrying up sandstone ledges.

Don't fall off Diane!!! I'll come help you as soon as I get this picture!!!

Don’t fall off Diane!!! I’ll come help you as soon as I get this picture!!!

Part of the Moderate trail. This is actually some of the easier part.

Part of the Moderate trail. This is actually some of the easier part.

We started the trail about 1/2 mile back around behind the big boulder to the left at the opening.

We started the trail about 1/2 mile back around behind the big boulder to the left at the opening.

Slow down ya ol Billy Goat!! Let me catch up.

Slow down ya ol Billy Goat!! Let me catch up.

We have admitted before that we are far from the true hardy hikers and found that he trail marked moderate was plenty challenging for us that day anyway. But we did enjoy it.

Once we finished the first trail we agreed we wanted to do another but also agreed we would find one marked Easy/Mod to conquer LOL!! And we did just that. But before doing so we found a nice spot in the shade and ate our apple’s and cheese lunch.

This was part of the easy trail we took later in the day.

This was part of the easy trail we took later in the day.

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The down side to hiking the easy trail was it was popular for the kids as well. And they were having a good time, it was obvious from all the yelling and screeching that filled the canyon in that area.

In fact at one point the trail was so full it was like fighting big city traffic at quitting time, we actually came to a halt. I imagine the view from the air would have been similar to one like you see as you walk down a sidewalk and see hundreds of ant’s crossing. You know the look.

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Ok, I might be exaggerating a little, but not much. Lucky for us as we came to “halt” there was another trail that took off to our right and we took it and avoided the bottleneck in the trail and continued on with a little extra spring in our step in hope of getting clear of the fingernail’s on a chalkboard effects coming from the screaming kids behind us LOL!!

I shouldn’t talk that way. Everyone will start thinking we don’t like kids and that’s not it at all. But we normally don’t go tour or hike popular areas on weekends on purpose so we can enjoy a less crowded experience on weekdays while kids are in school and most are working. So when we don’t think things out and get surprised I like to joke about it.

We ran across these after leaving Red Rock Canyon on our drive home.

We ran across these after leaving Red Rock Canyon on our drive home.

Anyway, we finished our hike, jumped back in the jeep and continued on around the scenic loop until we reached the highway and headed back home where we enjoyed another evening around the fire with a little wine.

Another great day and one we would recommend if you are aver in the area. I would also suggest an early start, especially if you plan to hike a few trails. A person could spend a week walking the different ones and still not see them all I’m thinking.

The scenic drive opens at 6 a.m. every day of the year unless Mother Nature provides a flash flood from seasonal rainstorms or the occasional snow storm. The scenic drive closes around sunset – 5 p.m. November through February; 7 p.m. March and October and 8 p.m. April through September 30.

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3 Responses to A visit to Red Rock Canyon

  1. Ingrid says:

    We lived on the far west end of Las Vegas in the early nineties and I used to take the kids to Red Rocks hiking regularly. At that time, there was no entrance fee or visitor center. Thanks for taking me back – very fond memories for me. And we too try to avoid those holidays for the same reasons 😉

  2. Sandie Dixon says:

    We loved Red Rock even though we don’t hike. The drive through was beautiful. And I’m with you on the kiddos – we do try to avoid them if at all possible. Doesn’t mean we don’t love them – just don’t want to share our adventures with hundreds of them.

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