Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

with 24 comments

Two years ago today we spent a couple of morning hours at Red Rock Canyon
National Conservation Area on the west side of Las Vegas.

You’re seeing a few pictures from there.
You’re not seeing the busloads of tourists that also swarmed there.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 25, 2018 at 4:50 AM

24 Responses

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  1. Beautiful.

    Pairodox Farm

    October 25, 2018 at 5:14 AM

    • Having visited the Valley of Fire the day before, we weren’t as impressed by this site. In retrospect, though, I’m warming up to it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 25, 2018 at 7:17 AM

  2. The interplay of the mountains and shadows in the first image makes it especially lively: the forms seem to be moving across the land in waves.

    I’m thinking that the second photo is of a ‘remnant layer.’ It resembles the lightest band in the third photo, and I wonder if it didn’t get dislodged and isolated somehow. The red striations in it are attractive, but the relatively short distance between the bands makes me wonder about the process that formed them.


    October 25, 2018 at 6:27 AM

    • Geology is a big lacuna in my education. (The 1950s could’ve made a 3-D movie of me as the Creature from the Rock Lacuna.) I look at the second photograph, with its many layers, and know that a geologist could tell many a story about those formations, while you and I on our own can only speculate. I suspect geology students from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas get taken out to sites like this one for field work.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 25, 2018 at 7:28 AM

  3. Perhaps not as spectacular as the Valley of Fire, but the banded, eroded mountains are pretty striking. I’ve never been to Vegas, and only think of it as a pinnacle of artificiality, (I was going to use “meretricious” but it’s pretty early in the morning for big words) so seeing these beautiful mountains nearby, really alters my image of the place.

    Robert Parker

    October 25, 2018 at 7:51 AM

    • It’s never too early for fancy words, especially one like meretricious that has a colorful (you might say painted) etymology:


      Las Vegas per se doesn’t hold much appeal for me, either, but it’s a convenient base for exploring natural areas like the two I’ve shown in these two posts. Another plus is that bargain airfares to Las Vegas often pop up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 25, 2018 at 8:28 AM

  4. Beautiful photos!


    October 25, 2018 at 8:19 AM

  5. I love how the clouds really created a softness around the mountains. I guess in many of the more touristy places you visit you must deal with throngs of people. I always feel fortunate to visit grand places and find myself completely alone.


    October 25, 2018 at 8:43 AM

    • It was pretty cloudy when we first arrived but by the time we left the morning clouds were dissipating. Even though they obscured the mountains, that very obscuring made for some dramatic pictures.

      Yes, we had to deal with throngs of tourists in a lot of the nature places we visited on that trip: the Grand Canyon, Zion, Red Rock Canyon, Muir Woods. As China has come up in the world, it’s become common to see buses filled with Chinese tourists at those sites. We found the same thing in Auckland on our trip to New Zealand in 2015.

      You’re fortunate if you’ve managed to be alone at some grand places.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 25, 2018 at 9:00 AM

  6. My most favorite place to climb, so far. LOVE Red Rock.

    Rope & Summit

    October 25, 2018 at 5:41 PM

  7. Colorado Springs has its own Red Rocks, Steve (https://redrockcanyonopenspace.org/). Since you are familiar with Garden of the Gods, the formations of this open space are basically a continuation of GOGs, across highway 24. We were fortunate to have this space preserved, instead of having it turned into a residential area, or worse.


    October 29, 2018 at 9:26 PM

  8. That last pic is a wow! I can only imagine the scores of people ..


    October 30, 2018 at 1:00 PM

    • Yes, that last one is a ruggedly grand sight. Fortunately I left all the people to your imagination.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2018 at 1:20 PM

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