Nevada Adventures – Red Rock Canyon – Calico Hills

Nevada Adventures – Red Rock Canyon – Calico Hills

DSC_9149-Red-Rock-CanyonAnyone who visits Red Rock Canyon will immediately fall in love with the colorful red sandstone outcropping known as Calico Hills. The Calico Hills were formed 180 million years ago when a very large area of sand dunes much like the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert of today were gradually infiltrated by water carrying calcium carbonate which fused with the sand granules to form the colourful sandstone hills visible today. The smooth lines and the multiple shapes reflect the movement of the sand in these ancient sands and many crossbeds can be seen throughout the sandstone structure reflecting the time when drifting sand being blown from different direction settled on top of older sand beds in the lee of towering hills of sand.


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The trails at the base of the Calico Hills formation are fairly easy and since there are multiple access points from parking spaces along the roadway, the walking distance can easily be adjusted to fit an individual’s ability, weather conditions and available time. Cars can be seen parked along the roadway in the following image.


Even if only a small amount of time is available, it is still worthwhile to take a short walk off of the roadway to stand beneath these tower cliffs of striated red-toned rocks. You never know what little creatures might come out to greet you :-).


I had to lie down on the path to photograph this little jumping spider but a couple of reptiles were easier to see but pretty quick to leave when they had decided that I might be dangerous!

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The flowers that were blooming in the vicinity of the paths at the base of the Calico Hills formation were much easier to photograph since they weren’t going anywhere in a hurry.

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For me, just about all of the leafy vegetation was rather new and unusual since on my previous trips to Nevada, it had been a bit earlier in the year and the vegetation, for the most part had been in its period of winter dormancy. On this occasion, the desert environment was just beginning to show many colours of greens and greys in the newly budding bushes and plants and providing everyone with interesting shades, colors and shapes to photograph..

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When I told someone that I had found a rock that looked like a petrified sea mammal they thought that I was joking or thought maybe that the desert sun was playing tricks with my mind, but then I showed them – and they laughed :-).


In keeping with the saying, “Take only photos, leave only footprints”, that is what I did but not before marveling at the many climbers who were scaling Calico Hills on this beautifully warm April weekend. Like the lady in blue, I think that I could have spent the whole day just watching the climbers in brightly colored outfits scrambling from rock surface to rock surface




Graeme has additional photos of the climbers which he will upload at later date when time permits. After the visit to Calico Hills trails we headed off to one of the other trails in the conservation area.

About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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