Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is only a few miles west of Las Vegas, and a short drive with your luxury car rental. It covers 197,000 acres in the Mojave Desert, and it is one of the most interesting areas geologically around the world.
Not Just Rocks
A visit to Red Rock Canyon with your luxury car rental will give you a lesson in geology. The most significant geologic feature is the Keystone Thrust Fault. This is a fracture in the earth’s crust where two plates rub against each other. It is believed that 65 million years ago two plates collided with such force that one plate was forced above the other over the sandstone. This can be seen in the color of the rocks here. There are grey limestone and red limestone in the same area. This fault line extends from the Cottonwood Fault (along Pahrump Highway) north to the La Madre Mountain area 13 miles away. Here it meets a more complex fault.
The first place to go with your luxury car rental is the Red Rock Canyon Visitor’s Center. They can offer some guidance on what to see and do in the area. For example, there is a 13-mile Loop Drive where you can take your luxury car rental on a sightseeing tour of the vistas and overlooks. This gives you great photo opportunities to see the natural environment and the Aztec sandstone. At the Sandstone Quarry parking lot you can see evidence of the historic quarry activity that took place here at the turn of the 20th century. You can climb the sandstone wall or hike into the cannon.
When you feel like a break, pull over your luxury car rental at one of the picnic sites that are available at Red Spring or Willow Spring. After you’ve had a bite to eat, you’ll have some energy to leave your luxury car rental for a hike. There are a number of hikes in the area with many different environments. There is a short trail from the second Calico Vista to the bottom of the canyon. After the rain the hiking trails may be small pools of water where insects lay eggs and fairy shrimp gather.
One of the most popular hiking trails is into Pine Creek Canyon. This is a two-mile round trip hike that leads to the ruins of a historic homestead near a creek with a lot of vegetation. This is a great trail to explore if you are in good condition to hike.
The desert sun can be very draining and make you feel uncomfortable. Be sure that you bring along plenty of water. Most people need a gallon a day while hiking. Also, make sure you have protection against the sun and the cold in the winter. If there are storms that come when you are out hiking, avoid low-lying areas. The rain tends to cause flash floods, which can be extremely dangerous. Also, remember that these areas are protected. Do not disturb, damage, or remove the animals, plants, rocks, or Indian artifacts that you find here. You can only drive on the 13-mile loop, so make sure you bring some comfortable shoes.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a great place to escape from the city and experience some of the natural Nevada habitat.