News

Winter Hours, Programs, and Safety

Happy Wintertime! While the winter season may freeze out activities in much of the country, we here at Red Rock Canyon are blessed with the warm Mojave Desert sun to make it quite a pleasant season for outdoor activities. HOURS The Scenic Drive is open…

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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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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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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

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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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

N: Native American History In the Mojave Desert, the key to survival is usable water. The springs and many natural catch basins at Red Rock Canyon sustain an abundances of plants and animals, which attracted Southern Paiute Indians, Virgin Anasazi Indians,…

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Make a Difference Day 2016

Come out on Saturday, October 22 and join the Bureau of Land Management, Friends of Red Rock Canyon and the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association to assist us with trail maintenance and restoration, canyon cleanup, plus other general maintenance projects…

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Flower Friday

In fall, you can catch the outstanding yellow blooms of Mojave rabbitbrush (Ericameria paniculata) along the Scenic Drive. This large green shrub, about three to four feet tall, sprouts small flowers at the end of the stems and provide nectar in autumn…

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Wildlife Wednesday

The striking Arizona sister (Adelpha eulalia) will definitely stop you in your tracks with its beauty while you’re hiking at Red Rock Canyon. This butterfly features black wings with white spots and orange tips. Look closely and you’ll find some…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

L: Lichens Have you come across these colorful yet bizarre growths on desert rocks? You are seeing lichens: a combination of fungus and algae (and sometimes cynobacteria). They live together in a symbiotic relationship that is beneficial to all; the…

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Flower Friday

Threadleaf ragwort (Senecio flaccidus) blooms in the summer and again in the fall following summer rains. These three to four foot shrubs sprout small yellow daisy-like flowers. Threadleaf ragwort’s leaves look small and linear, and often the entire…

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Wildlife Wednesday

When walking on a trail, in gravel, or along a wash in Red Rock Canyon, keep your eyes out for darkling beetles (family Tenebrionidae, genus Eleodes). You’ll often find these small one to two inch insects walking around looking for decaying material…

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September Hours & Safety

HOURS The Scenic Drive is open daily from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. To beat the heat, think about visiting either in the early morning (before 10AM) or in the early evening (after 6PM) to avoid excessive UV exposure & warmth. The Visitor Center is open…

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Flower Friday

During the late summer and early fall, you can easily spot snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) along the Scenic Drive. This small shrub, roughly one to two feet tall, turns an autumn-esque golden yellow color topped off with many small flowers. Snakeweed…

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Every Kid in a Park 2016-2017 Kick-Off!

September 1, 2016 marks the second year of Every Kid in a Park program! The program provides fourth graders and their family access to federally managed lands and waters with a free pass. This includes national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine…

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National Public Lands Day 2016

Saturday, September 24th is National Public Lands Day, a day to give back to our public lands across the country. Come out and join the Bureau of Land Management, Friends of Red Rock Canyon and the Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association and assist…

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Flower Friday

As an indicator that fall is coming soon, Nevada goldenrod (Solidago spectabilis) blooms tiny golden yellow flowers at the end of summer. This plant, growing up to six feet tall, can be found on moist sites like Red Spring, Pine Creek, La Madre Spring,…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

K: Keystone Thrust Keystone Thrust is the name for a prominent geologic fault in Red Rock Canyon.  Faults are fractures in the Earth’s crust that occur from the movement of rock layers. The Keystone Thrust is one of a series of faults that formed…

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Flower Friday

One of the late summer/fall blooms that you can see out a Red Rock Canyon includes golden aster (Heterotheca villosa). Small yet numerous bright yellow flowers cover this two to three foot high shrub. The stems and leaves of golden aster have small hairs…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Coming across greater roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus) is always a treat at Red Rock Canyon. These large ground dwelling birds can be seen hunting down lizards, snakes, and large invertebrates and can run at top speeds near 20 miles per hour. Roadrunners…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

J: Joshua trees Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) might be the most familiar and iconic plant species within the Mojave Desert. These plants are part of the agave family (Agavaceae) and are not trees, all though they can grow up to 30 feet tall. From March…

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Flower Friday

Hooker’s evening primrose (Oenothera elata hirsutissima) is tall leafy plant (up to six feet tall) that flashes color late in the summer. From late July and onward you can often find yellow flowers with heart shaped petals at the very top of this plant.…

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