Monday, May 11, 2015

Red Rock Canyon Drive

During my latest holiday in Las Vegas, I drove all the way up Charleston Boulevard to take in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The day pass is a small $7 entrance fee that's good for 24 hours and includes the Red Rock Visitor's Center, which I skipped because I've already been there in May 2012.

To see pictures of the Visitor's Center, go here:

This time, I went on the 13-mile scenic drive, which took me a little longer than two hours to complete (starting at 11:30 a.m., according to the time printed on my receipt, and ending at 1:46 p.m., when I pulled back onto West Charleston Boulevard, aka State Route 159). The drive included stops at various lookout points that provided magnificent views of the earth-colored rocks and multi-colored shrubbery and sand valleys.

When I first began the drive, I was the only one on the well-paved, smooth-riding road, so I took my time, feeling no pressure behind me. However, when I reached the first overlook (Calico 1), there were about 75 cars parked at the overlook and alongside the road.

Taking a chance, I drove into the parking lot, and as luck may have it, a car pulled out of a prime spot right at the edge of the overlook. I must say that the vistas are magnificent. Not as magnificent as say the Grand Canyon, which in my experience is unequalled, or Zion Canyon, which is jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring.

But the canyon is so beautiful, with so many geologic layers ranging from gray stone to Hawaii plantation dirt red, and every color in between.

At every overlook, there were cars, cars, and more cars. Many of those on the drive tour brought out hiking backpacks (there are 18 hiking trails in the conservation area, ranging from easy walks at strenuous ascents up the mountainsides), and I could see many of them below, looking as tiny as ants on the rocks.

Speaking of living creatures, I did spot a jackrabbit, but in the few seconds it took to whip my camera around and boot it up, it disappeared over a small rise. Also, there were signs saying "Tortoise Crossing," but I had no luck seeing any that day.

I took so many pictures that my battery ran out. Good timing, as I'd just taken a panorama shot and would be heading back afterwards. I did replace the battery when I got back to my room at the Luxor and was delighted to see that I didn't lose the last panorama.

Of special interest is the outhouse. It looks nice and well-kept from the outside, but it’s just a glorified hole in the ground. There is a porcelain toilet seat inside, but when you look down the hole, well you just don’t want to breathe in while you’re doing it.

But enough talk ... Here are a few of the pictures I shot that day:

Click on Picture for a Larger Image

Click on Picture for a Larger Image
The pictures just don't give a true sense of the magnificence because they're flat and two-dimensional. You have to be there to truly appreciate the canyon experience.

1 comment:

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