News

Spring Hours, Programs, and Safety

HOURS The Scenic Drive is open daily from 6AM until 8PM throughout spring. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8AM until 4:30PM throughout the year. Weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) tend to be particularly busy, with peak visitation hours between 10AM…

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Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive is Under Construction

Crews have begin construction on Phase 2 of improvements to the 13-mile Scenic Drive in Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area. The construction, which is scheduled to proceed into summer 2017, will improve three parking lots and rehabilitate pavement…

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Flower Friday

During the month of April, the vivid pink to magenta flowers of strawberry hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) catch the attention of not only visitors but pollinators too. Bees and flies can be found taking advantage of the abudent pollen. Once…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) are one of the most commonly spotted raptors in Red Rock Canyon. Look for these large birds of prey, with wingspans up to 52 inches long, either flying high in the sky or perched along cliff faces or tall trees. If…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

Z: Zebra-tailed lizard One of the fastest lizards in the Mojave Desert, Western zebra-tailed lizards (Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus) flash in front of your eyes when spooked. These lizards get up to four inches in length and feature a brilliant…

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Flower Friday

Desert marigold, Baileya multiradiata, is one of the most common flowers spotted in Red Rock Canyon. Often you can find it alongside roads and within gravelly open areas. Desert marigold has very showy yellow ray flowers that quickly catch your attention.…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Desert iguanas (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) can be found at Red Rock Canyon during the daytime hustling in between creosote bushes. These lizards reach a length of 6 inches and feature spots on their body, a banded tail, and a line of spiny scales down the…

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Flower Friday

Desert Paintbrush, Castilleja angustifolia, tends to be one of the first plants to bloom in spring. Often you will find this plant growing up or in other plants; it uses those host plants for structural support and steals nutrients with its roots. The…

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Flower Friday

Spotted at the Visitor Center, within rocky slopes in Calico Basin, and near Willow Springs, cliffrose (Purshia stansburiana) puts on a show each spring with many beautiful cream colored flowers. This shrub, growing over 10 feet tall and featuring fibrous…

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Flower Friday

During the majority of the year, blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) looks like a dull shrub with its gray branches and gray-green leaves. However, come spring you’ll see many small button-sized yellow flowers dotted throughout these shrubs that add…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

Y: Yucca schidigera One of the more common plants in Red Rock Canyon, Mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera) dominates the landscape with its long & green pointy leaves, fibrous base, and cream-white flowers. You can find Mojave yuccas from three to 12…

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Flower Friday

The bright yellow flowers of Mojave popcorn flower (Cryptantha confertiflora), also known as yellow/golden cryptantha, guarantee to catch your eye while hiking at Red Rock Canyon. From March through May, you can find these ball-like cluster of small…

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Wildlife Wednesday

While exploring Red Rock Canyon in the spring, you may start to hear the two part “rib-it” or “krek-ek” call of a male Baja California chorus frog (Pseudacris hypochondriaca) in search of a mate. Nestled up against aquatic plants or overhanging…

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Flower Friday

Western redbud (Cercis orbiculata) provides a stunning springtime display of pink & purple flowers. This large shrub, growing up to 20 feet tall, grows hundreds of pea shaped flowers from late March into early May. The leaves will grow in a circular…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

X: Xylorhiza tortifolia From April through June, look for the purple daisy-like petal blooms of the Mojave aster (Xylorhiza tortifolia) at Red Rock Canyon along dry and rocky slopes. Botanists have counted up to 60 ray petals per flower head! The stems…

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Flower Friday

Blooming within canyons and along rocky slopes in early spring, you can find Mexican manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens) with its small whitish to pink bell shaped flowers. After pollination, these flowers turn into small red fruits that remain edible…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Seldom seen at Red Rock Canyon, bobcats (Lynx rufus) quietly patrol desert canyons and rocky outcrops looking for rabbits, rodents, birds, fallen bats, and reptiles to eat. These animals are mostly nocturnal, however you can sometimes catch them wondering…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

W: Wilderness Areas Wilderness areas are special designations of land that preserves scenic & pristine areas in perpetuity. These public lands are open to visitors and allows people to escape their busy urbanized lives. Additionally, this protection…

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Flower Friday

This small and low to the ground plant is one of our first bloomers; you can often see filaree’s (Erodium cicutarium) tiny pink to purple flowers as early as February. After pollination, the flower will develop a long & slim seed pod that looks…

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Flora Friday

During mid to late winter and early spring, look for the large green leaves (up to 12 inches) and reddish stalks of wild rhubarb (Rumex hymenosepalus) growing in sandy soils. In spring you’ll clusters of small pink flowers that turn into red seeds.…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

V: Velvet Ash In the wetter seeps and creeks of Red Rock Canyon, you can often spot tall velvet ash trees (Fraxinus velutina) providing shade and cover for plants and animals. Growing up to nearly 40 feet tall, these ash trees often have fine velvet-like…

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Wildlife Wednesday

The western bluebird (Sialia mexicana) is a winter migrant at Red Rock Canyon. These medium sized birds (6-7”) are very colorful with blue heads, wings, and tails, gray bellies, and orange chests. You can often find western bluebirds feeding on mistletoe…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

U: Utah agave When hiking in rocky areas around Red Rock Canyon, look for this low to the ground yet very spiny Utah agave (Agave utahensis) plant. This heat and drought tolerant plant has toothed leaves to protect itself from other animals & plants…

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Wildlife Wednesday

While hiking in the pinyon-juniper and scrub oak landscapes of Red Rock Canyon, you might spot blue flashes of Woodhouse’s scrub jays (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) flying across the sky. These birds tend to forage on pine nuts, acorns, and other seeds during…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

T: Tortoise The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is brown with a high-domed shell and stocky, scaly limbs. These animals can grow eight to twelve inches long and live up to 80 years old. Desert tortoises are found throughout the Mojave Desert along…

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Flora Friday

The tallest trees in Red Rock Canyon, ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa), can reach heights of over 200 feet. Ponderosa pines can be found within canyons and along spring-fed drainages. These trees feature long pine needles and prickly points on their…

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Wildlife Wednesday

You can spot dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) wintering at Red Rock Canyon in shrubs and thickets. These small birds belong in the sparrow family (Emberizidae) and differ in coloration depending on which subspecies you see. However, they all share white…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

S: Sheep (bighorn) Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) are one of the most majestic of the large animals seen in Red Rock Canyon and are the state animal of Nevada. They prefer steep, rocky terrain, which provides escape from coyotes, bobcats, and mountain…

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Wildlife Wednesday

This colorful bird, the spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus), features beady red eyes and patches of orange under the wings. Males will have a black head and wings while females will be more grayish.  Spotted towhees grow up to eight inches in length and…

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Fee-Free for MLK Day

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, in conjunction with other agencies within the Department of the Interior, will waive the Scenic Drive entrance fees on Monday, January 16 in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  The Scenic Drive…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

R: Rattlesnakes Although commonly talked about and feared, the odds of visitors seeing a rattlesnake at Red Rock Canyon are fairly low. Three species of rattlesnakes can be found here: Northern Mohave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus), Panamint rattlesnake…

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Flora Friday

Scattered throughout the mid and upper elevations of Red Rock Canyon, you can find Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) trees adding greenery to the landscape. These trees grow much wider than they do tall and feature scale-like leaves. Some even feature…

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Winter Holiday Hours

On Christmas Eve (Saturday, December 24) the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Scenic Drive will be open with its regular winter hours from 6AM to 5PM. The Visitor Center will be open from 8AM to 4:30PM. On Christmas Day (Sunday, December 25)…

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Wildlife Wednesday

The rocks are not the only thing that’s red at Red Rock Canyon! Male house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) feature striking red heads and chests in order to attract their gray female counterparts. These small birds primarily hang around our springs,…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

Q: Quarry (Sandstone Quarry) From 1905 to 1912, Sandstone Quarry within Red Rock Canyon was used by various owners & companies to extract large pieces of high quality beige & orange sandstone to use for buildings in Los Angeles & San Francisco.…

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Flora Friday

In the wetter seeps and creeks of Red Rock Canyon, you can often spot tall single-leaf ash (Fraxinus anomala) and velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina) trees providing shade and cover for plants and animals. These ash trees bring wonderful fall colors to the…

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Wildlife Wednesday

When exploring Red Rock Canyon during the winter, keep your eyes peeled for the stunning white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) throughout the area. The bodies of these birds are mostly brown and gray, but distinguishing features include orange-yellowish…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

P: Pricklypear Cacti The flat & rounded spiky pads of pricklypear cacti (Opuntia spp.) can be found throughout Red Rock Canyon. During late spring, you can catch vibrant peach, pink, and purple colored flowers in bloom on top of their pads. When…

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Flora Friday

You can spot one of the few evergreen trees within the Mojave Desert, singleleaf pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla), dotting the foothills, mouths of canyons, and high elevation mountains within Red Rock Canyon. These trees can grow up to 35 feet tall and…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Spend time at Red Rock Canyon in the evening hours and you just might encounter the great-horned owl (Bubo virginiaus) perched high up in the cliffs & trees. These large birds, with an average wingspan of 48 inches (wingtip to wingtip) and height…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

O: Old Spanish Trail Around 1829-30, New Mexican Antonio Armijo led the first successful trade caravan from Santa Fe, New Mexico to the Pueblo De Los Angeles, California (now simply known as the City of Los Angeles). This new route skirted the edge of…

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Flower Friday

In Red Rock Canyon, you can often find desert baccharis (Baccharis sergiloides) and mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia) in bloom with small white flowerhead tips during fall. These large green skinny-stemmed shrubs (up to 12 feet tall) look very similar…

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Wildlife Wednesday

One of the most painful stings is delivered by this wasp found buzzing around at Red Rock Canyon: tarantula hawk (Pepsis spp.), also known as tarantula wasps and pepsis wasps. Ranging in size up to two inches, this velvety black-blue wasp has reddish…

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Flower Friday

The vibrant red blooms of narrow-leaf paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia) easily catch your eyes when hiking at Red Rock Canyon from spring through fall. This perennial plant can grow up to two feet tall and features small wiry stems. Narrow-leaf paintbrush…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

M: Mule deer Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) live at higher elevations during the summer in Red Rock Canyon and move to lower elevations in the winter. Mulies, as they are called, especially prefer rocky hillsides and munch on new plant growth &…

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Fee-Free Day on Veterans Day

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area will waive the Scenic Drive entrance fee on Friday, November 11 in honor of Veterans Day.  Other fees such as overnight camping, group day use and use of special areas will remain in effect. The Scenic Drive…

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Flower Friday

Common throughout the Great Basin and higher elevations of the Mojave Desert, big sagebrush (Ericameria nauseosa) adds wonderful aromas into the air. Walk by this large, blue-gray to green shrub and touch its leaves to sample the minty smell. During…

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Wildlife Wednesday

The largest spider at Red Rock Canyon also tends to be one of the more docile invertebrates as well: the desert tarantula (Aphonopelma iodius). These spiders size up at two to four inches across and often avoid contact with people. When spotted by visitors,…

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Flower Friday

Hoary aster (Dieteria canescens) is a small, skeleton-like plant that produces tiny purple flowers. The stems feature many small leaves and hairs and led botanists to naming it “canescens” (Latin for “becoming gray”). You can often find…

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Flower Friday

Alkali crucifer (Thelypodium integrifolium), also known as entire-leaved thelypody or foxtail thelypodium, stands out at five feet tall and grows well within moist, salty, and sandy soils. The blooms are small white flower clusters that can be found…

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