Monday

Red Rock Canyon Back Country Byway

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(Fig. 01)
MAP-Red Rock Canyon
(Fig. 02)
Description: Red Rock Canyon Back Country Byway, a.k.a Scenic Drive, is a one-way, 13 mile paved loop road (Fig. 02) that runs through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This area was created by geological forces and fractured faults that occurred over a million years ago. It starts out from the park’s visitor center and heads northwest into the Calico Hills (Figs. 03 & 04) where sandstone hills have been separated by a series of canyons. Looking southeast from the Calico I turnoff provides a good view of the Blue Diamond Hills (Fig. 05). A few miles up the road at the end of the red Calico Hills outcrop is the Sandstone Quarry (Fig. 06), an area of white sandstone and a parking area that has no less than five trailheads leading into the surrounding hills and mountains. Leaving the Sandstone Quarry, still driving in a northwesterly direction, the drive continues to climb passing several pullouts until it reaches what is called High Point Overlook which is just above 4,000 feet of elevation, providing spectacular panoramic views (Figs. 01 & 07) of the canyon, Cottonwood Valley, and its surrounding beauty. Shortly after High Point Overlook the road heads south as it passes the turnoff for the parking area and trailhead for the White Rock trail (Fig. 08). Continuing on for about another two miles, a road branches off to Willow Springs (Fig. 09). Here, the road makes a sharp hairpin turn and begins heading in a southeast direction. A short distance past this turn is a turnoff and trailhead to Ice Box Canyon, which contains a seasonal waterfall. Continuing the loop, the next stop is at the Red Rock Wash Overlook, a spot that provides another scenic perspective of Red Rock Canyon. About a mile past the wash turnoff is the trailhead for Pine Creek Canyon (Fig. 10). When you reach the end of the drive at NV-159, turn left and drive about a mile to the Red Rock Canyon Overlook. This spot provides wonderful views of the Wilson Range to the west (Fig. 11) and back towards the Calico Hills to the north (Fig. 12).
                                               
09/17/2014 Trip Notes: This 13 mile byway provides access to no less than 12 hiking trails within the park’s boundaries. Even though I have driven this loop numerous times over the past ten years, today’s visit was for expressed purpose of picture taking and showing it off to my sisters husband during their recent visit. Half of the pictures shown here were taken on today’s visit and the rest were culled from stops and hikes on some of my prior visits. I think you can see from these shots why this is one of my favorite places and a must stop for taking visitors.
                                 
EFP-P1080023One of the pleasant surprises for the day was the spotting of about six burros on our way home. Just after leaving the park and heading back to highway 160 on Blue Diamond Road, we had two different burro sightings. Check out the following page for more pictures … Wild Burro (Equus asinus) at Red Rock Canyon.
     
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(Fig. 03)
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(Fig. 04)
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(Fig. 05)
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(Fig. 06)
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(Fig. 07)
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(Fig. 08)
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(Fig. 09)
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(Fig. 10)
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(Fig. 11)
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(Fig. 12)