SUMMER AT RED ROCK CANYON
Las Vegas Travel Blog› entry 1 of 5 › view all entries
July 2nd, 2006 – by: mellemel8
After a few days at the crap and blackjack tables in Las Vegas, it will be time to take a break. Hop into a vehicle and head out to Red Rock Canyon. Red Rock Canyon is less then an hour's drive west of Las Vegas and has many significant geologic features. The area is a good place to kick back and just enjoy nature's wonders.
The most significant geologic feature of Red Rock Canyon is the Keystone Thrust Fault. A thrust fault is a fracture in the earth's crust where one rock plate is thrust horizontally over another.
13-Mile Loop Drive offers sightseeing, vistas and overlooks. If your time is limited, stop at either of the Calico Vista points. Both offer good vantage points for photographs of crossed-bedded Aztec sandstone. For easy walking access to the sandstone, stop at the Sandstone Quarry parking lot. There you can see large blocks of stone and other historic evidence of the quarry activity as it occurred shortly after the turn of the century.
FACTS ON RED ROCK CANYON
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada is a 198,000 acre (801 km²) area managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of its National Landscape Conservation System, and protected as a National Conservation Area. It is located about 15 mi west of Las Vegas, and easily seen from the Las Vegas Strip. The area is visited by over 1 million visitors each year.
The conservation area showcases a set of large red sandstone peaks and walls called the Keystone Thrust. The walls are up to 3,000 ft (1,000 m) high, making them a popular hiking and rock climbing destination. The highest point is La Madre Mountain, at 8,154 ft (2,485 m).
A one-way loop road, 13 miles (21 km) long, provides vehicle access to many of the features in the canyon.
Red Rock Canyon itself is a side-canyon accessible only by four-wheel-drive road off of the scenic loop. The unnamed but often visited valley cut through by Nevada State Route 159 is commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as Red Rock Canyon. The massive wall of rock called the Wilson Cliffs, or Keystone Thrust, can be seen to the west along this highway.
Towards the southern end of the National Conservation Area are Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, the western ghost town replica attraction of Bonnie Springs, and the village of Blue Diamond.
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