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Valley of Fire, Nevada

Red Rock Canyon

   First stop in the desert is Red Rock Canyon; then it's on to the Valley of Fire.
   If your in Las Vegas and your wondering what to do for a day trips --- I've got just the thing for you. First head West out of town on Rt. 160 and watch for the signs for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. It's just a short distance from  I - 15 and it's got some reallty nice scenery.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon
   The first thing you'll notice is the color differences in the rock strata here. And as you can see in this photo there are numerous hiking trails for those that like to hike or climb on the rock.
   Here's another example of the pretty color variables that you'll find in the Canyon. Also a lot of yuccas and other plant life is here as well. When we were there no less than 12 people were climbing up and over these megaliths, and probably more that we didn't see. I'd bet that they were all staying in Las Vegas.
Red Rock Canyon
   Here's an example of the roads in the Canyon. Narrow in some places, but graded nicely. A 2 wheel drive should have no trouble navigating the Canyon, if you don't mind a little dust. I'm sure Red Rock Canyon has a large number of  visitors every year and is a popular place here in the desert.
Red Rock Canyon
   A few nice parking areas to allow visitors to get out and hike some of the trails are available here. Some of the trails are marked, some are not. But this is a really neat place to see and is only a short drive from anywhere in Las Vegas.
   After you leave here -- see below! One of the few day trips where you can see both parks in one day.
Red Rock Canyon

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire
   After going back to the Interstate you can head North toward Utah for a short 1 1/2 hour drive to get to the Valley of Fire. Here is the entrance road winding down off the mountains to the Entrance of the Park. This looks like any other mountain geology in Nevada -- nothing spectacular -- wait till you get into the Park!
   Everything changes quickly here, some of the roads are paved and some are gravel. The gravel roads are well maintained. And the scenery is worth seeing. The red rock almost hurts your eyes it's so red and the caves are every where.
Valley of Fire
   Just to give you an idea of the size of things; I'm 6 ft 1 inches tall. Exploring here is a blast. The way the wind has eroded the rock here in the desert is amazing. Water must have also been at work here in the desert. If your looking for day trips out of Las Vegas then you should make sure you get to the Valley of Fire, even if you don't make it to Red Rock Canyon.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
   If you like to get out and investigate the holes in the rocky hills here then plan on spending some time. The Park is pretty big and the caves are endless! Some are so unique -- well you'll just have to go see for yourself.
Red Navajo Sandstone
   Here's one I've included here just to show how unique some of them are. This one looked like a house with windows and large opening in the front corner. Completely hollow inside. And a water proof roof is included!
   Now while we're standing on a ledge looking at all the caves I noticed that a baby Chuckwalla had taken refuge from the sun in my shadow! It was almost 100 degrees that day and I guess he just wanted to cool off.
Baby Chuckwalla
Chuckwalla
   Then right next to us we spotted the Mother Chuckwalla taking refuge under a rock. She squeezed so far into this crack in the rock that you couldn't see her at all. Actually we saw 5 Chuckwallas in the desert while there.
   This is Atlatl Rock. The Park service has built a set of steel stairs up to the face of the rock that is loaded with Petroglyphs. Some of them are so high it makes you wonder how native people could have gotten up there to scribe them in the cliff face.
Atatl Rock pertroglyphs
Sandstone Arch,Valley of Fire
   Here's a really nice sized rock arch. The colors of this are oustanding. You can hike right up to the arch and in fact it's only about 200 ft. off the edge of the road. This is next to Atlatl Rock.
   This is another area of the Park called Fire Canyon. The different layers or bands of red and white run for over a mile here. This is up behind the visitor center on a mostly paved road.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
   We took this photo in the parking area at the end of the road behind the visitors center. The white peaks here are outstanding enough, but then you'll see where the red runs up the hill into the white. This is one of our nicest day trips and is certainly worth seeing. Next time you're in Vegas ask about it and then take a road trip in the desert!
                        Have fun...........

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   It's not surprising that the Valley of Fire is one of our most popular daytrips. It is a very popular destination because it's so close to Las Vegas which is a big draw for tourists. It's also one of the prettiest areas in the desert with the unique rock formations in the red Navajo Sandstone. Being close to Lake Mead helps also. Spend some time here. Each time we go we find something different and unique.  Have fun.
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