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Red Rock Canyon

posted Nov 12, 2017, 4:22 PM by Justin P   [ updated Nov 12, 2017, 4:22 PM ]
Friday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and checked out.  We drove back towards Las Vegas and went to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  After paying admission, we stopped at the visitor center.  We walked around the outdoor viewpoints - the views of the canyon and colorful rocks were beautiful.  I was hoping to see the park's most famous resident - Mohave Max, a desert tortoise, but he has gone underground for the winter.  I spoke with a ranger and she suggested we hike the White Rocks Loop Trail after making a couple scenic stops.  So we continued on the one-way scenic drive around the canyon.  We first stopped at Calico I with nice views of the colorful rocks.  Our next stop was Sandstone Quarry.  Here there was a nice view of the distinctive Turtlehead Peak.  Finally, we made one more short stop at High Point Overlook, the highest point on the scenic drive.  This overlook had great views of the entire canyon.  Continuing on a short ways, we turned right on the road for Willow Spring Picnic Area and parked here.  After getting our stuff together, we first did the very short Petroglyph Wall Trail.  This short trail led to a wall where some ancient petroglyphs were visible.  We got a couple pictures and headed back.  Following Rocky Gap Road past the picnic area, we went just over a half-mile and turned right on a trail that entered La Madre Mountains Wilderness.  In about another half-mile there was a split.  First, we went left on La Madre Springs Trail.  In about a mile, we made it to the namesake spring.  The water level was low and the area had not had rain in months, but there was still some water flowing.  The area immediately around the spring was very green - a stark contrast to the desert landscape.  We then headed back to the main trail and continued on.  The trail got moderately steep and headed up to a ridge before turning right and leading over a gap.  It then descended gradually towards the White Rock Parking Area.  Just past here, we made a quick detour to White Rock Spring.  The trail then looped around, passing Lost Creek Trail and leading back to Willow Spring Picnic Area.  At the parking lot, we got our stuff arranged and then headed back to Vegas to return the car.  From the rental car center, we took a cab to our hotel - the MGM Signature.  We had a room on the 36th floor, so the evening view over the strip was great.  After checking in, we walked around the Strip for a while, checking out the fountains at Bellagio.  Then we headed back for the evening.