Las Vegas Travel Blog

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It was my bf's first time here and vegas. i was my first summer in vegas. it was not hot yet. it was tolarable weather about 70 degrees and sunny. we just did the scenic drive route. it was a 11 miles drive to "points of interests".

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.
About 65 million years ago, it is believed that two of the earth's crustal plates collided with such force that part of one plate was shoved up and over younger sandstones. This thrust contact is clearly defined by the sharp contrast between the grey limestones and the red sandstones. The Keystone Thrust Fault extends from the Cottonwoood Fault (along the Pahrump Highway) 13 miles northward to the vicinity of La Madre Mountain, where it is obscured by more complex faulting.

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.


Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada is a 198,000 acre (801 kmĀ²) 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.
Several side roads and parking areas allow access to many of the trails located in the canyon. A visitor center is located at the start of the loop road. The loop road is very popular for bicycle touring; it begins with a moderate climb, then is mostly downhill or flat.

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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highest point of the scenic drive
highest point of the scenic drive
Las Vegas
photo by: maka77