Morning at Red Rock Canyon

img_2691If you’re going to Las Vegas, you HAVE to visit the Red Rock Canyon. Only 17 miles West of Las Vegas, it can be seen right from the strip. It’s a perfect way to spend a few hours in the morning enjoying nature! No joke, it’s visited by more than two million people each year! The main attraction, a one-way loop road, 13 miles long, provides vehicle access to many of the features in the area. Here is a map.

img_2742Red Rock has a wide variety of activities for everyone. The most popular are hiking, biking, rock scrambling, and rock climbing. Check out this pic of people rock climbing. You will see them in the first two stops of the 13-mile scenic drive tour. The conservation area showcases a set of large red rock formations: a set of sandstone peaks and walls called the Keystone Thrust. The walls are up to 3,000 feet high, making them a popular hiking and rock climbing destination. The area also has a great history!

img_2949The first humans were attracted to the Red Rock area due to its resources of water, plant, and animal life that could not be easily found in the surrounding desert. Hunters and gatherers such as the historical Southern Paiute and the much older Archaic, or Desert Culture Native Americans, have successively occupied this area. Take some time to relax and take in the beauty. This view can be found towards the end of the scenic drive tour.

img_2957Some 600 species of plants are known in the area. Common types in the valley floor include the Joshua tree, Mojave yucca, banana yucca, creosote, and blackbrush. Higher up the Utah juniper and Sonoran scrub oak (also called scrub live oak) come to dominate. Red Rock has hiking trails and picnic areas. Trails are changed and diverted depending upon the needs of the ecosystem. In early spring, depending upon the precipitation, waterfalls may be seen on the edge of the canyons.

Give yourself a whole morning (3-4 hours) here to properly see the sights and do some hiking. Be prepared with the proper clothes and take snacks and drinks. It can get as low as the 50s in the winter and as high as the 100s in the summer. Leave us a comment below if you’ve been to the Red Rock Canyon before or if you are looking forward to going there.

Photos courtesy of Soumyo Ghosh

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