News

Fall Programs

The  Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association and the Bureau of Land Management have put together a full autumn calendar of interpretive programs. These educational programs are led by Red Rock Canyon Rangers & Naturalists and are free to join (the…

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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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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

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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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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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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Flower Friday

The vibrant and rich cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) grows to up to three feet tall and features bright red lipped flowers during late summer. Cardinal flower is a rare plant and can only be found near wetter areas, such as First Creek, Pine Creek,…

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Wildlife Wednesday

The chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater), or ‘chuck,’ is one of the larger lizards in Southern Nevada. They can grow up to nine inches long and appear to be fat. Don’t be deceived though! Chuckwallas have a good amount of loose skin on the sides of their…

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Looking Up for Meteors & Stars at Red Rock Canyon

Located only miles from Las Vegas, yet set among dark mountains and starry skies, Red Rock Canyon is an excellent place to view the night sky and related astronomical objects. The darkest spots in the Conservation Area are along State Route (SR) 160,…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

I: Iron oxide The same thing that gives the red color to blood is the thing that gives the reddish color to Red Rock Canyon.  It’s the mineral iron.  Millions of years ago, when the area was a dried basin leftover from a once-rich ocean that flowed…

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Flower Friday

Two types of mesquite trees can be found at Red Rock Canyon. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two involves looking at their fruits; honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) features long bean pods in the summer while screwbean mesquite…

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Wildlife Wednesday

The Northern Sagebrush Lizard, Sceloporus graciosus graciosus, can be spotted within Red Rock Canyon in rugged & rocky terrain along desert scrub and pinyon-juniper pockets. This small gray to tan lizard, roughly four to six inches in length, munches…

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Flower Friday

Desert Trumpet (Eriogonum inflatum) features a green to maroon stem that branches off into smaller limbs. From late spring until fall you can find small yellow flowers growing at the end of these branches. You’ll also notice an inflated pocket along…

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Children’s Program: The Canyon Club

Looking for something educational and fun for your kids to do this summer? We just might have the answer! Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association is putting together a season-long children’s program series focused on the natural history of beautiful…

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Flower Friday

Crimson columbine, Aquilegia formosa, can be identified by the beautiful red spurts and yellow petals looking as if the flower is facing down towards the ground. This small summer bloom can be spotted within Red Rock Canyon’s higher elevations along…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

H: Hawks Commonly spotted in the sky at Red Rock Canyon, hawks (Family Accipitridae) make for a splendid wildlife-viewing encounter. Red Rock Canyon is home to at least seven different hawk species. Red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and Cooper’s…

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Flower Friday

California buckwheat (Erigonum fasciculatum), known also as Mojave buckwheat, can be spotted throughout rocky soils and terrain in Red Rock Canyon, especially in Calico Basin. This shrub can get to up to three feet tall and often has gorgeous small white…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Horned lizards (Phrynosoma platyrhinos) are also called horned toad lizards or horny toads, but they’re not toads at all. These odd-looking lizards are actually related to iguanas. Their broad, flattened bodies make them appear like frogs or toads…

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A-Z Red Rock Canyon

G: Gambel’s Quail Do you recognize this bird by its flamboyant head dressing, its rooster-like call, and its little line of followers? It’s the Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii)! This bird gets its name from an early explorer of the Southwest:…

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Flower Friday

The large white blooms of sacred datura (Datura wrightii), ranging from six to ten inches long, can easily catch your attention during summer at Red Rock Canyon. This trumpet shaped flower opens during the evening hours to attract moths and withers during…

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Wildlife Wednesday

A beautiful, medium-sized lizard about six inches long, the Great Basin collared lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores) has two black collars around its neck, separating its head from a white-spotted khaki body.  They are usually seen basking on boulders…

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A-Z Red Rock Canyon

F: Fossils A long time ago, Red Rock Canyon was under water. We know this from the fossilized remains of ocean floor life found throughout many areas of Red Rock Canyon. You can find fossilized remains of corals, crinoids, blue-green bacteria, and sponges…

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Flower Friday

Firecracker penstemon, Penstemon eatonii, displays vibrant red tubular flowers along a stem that can extend up to 40 inches tall. This plant can often be found in canyons and along rocky terrain. You may be able to spot some still in bloom in Red Rock…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Everyone loves hummingbirds – fast-moving little sparkles of light that dart from flower to flower. These members of the Trochilidae family (weak-footed birds) are the smallest birds in the world, ranging from three to five inches and weighing only…

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Flower Friday

One of the more common summertime flowers in Red Rock Canyon is also one of the thorniest flowers: thistle! Red Rock Canyon is home to two species of thistle: Mojave thistle (Cirsium mohavense) and desert thistle (Cirsium neomexicanum). These tall plants,…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Red Rock Canyon is home to 17 species of bats. All are insect-eaters. These are the only mammal capable of true, although somewhat jittery, flight. While some folks think that bats are a close relative to rodents, these little flyers are actually more…

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Flower Friday

California barrel cactus, Ferocactus cylindraceus, can be spotted along rocky hills here at Red Rock Canyon. This cactus, varying from 2-9 feet tall, is remarkably spiky with many red to yellow spines covering the exterior of the plant. Often you’ll…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Coyotes are very common in the desert southwest, although they occur throughout the United States.  Canis latrans, also called the American wild dog, are in the Canid family with dogs and foxes.  You’ve probably heard of canine teeth, which these…

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Flower Friday

Animals and plants love to take advantage of the various springs and seeps of water throughout Red Rock Canyon. One flowering plant that certainly does that is yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica). In fact, you won’t see yerba mansa outside of wetter…

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Red Rock Canyon is Hot & Dry!

With the warm summer temperatures in Southern Nevada, visitors to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area should keep the following safety tips in mind: ∗ Be aware of the forecast. Summer can be very hot in the Mojave Desert. Average highs at Red…

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A-Z Red Rock Canyon

E: Ephedra Many of Red Rock Canyon’s plants served as important foods and medicines for natives and pioneers. Ephedra plants (Ephedraceae family) certainly had their useful purposes. You can spot Nevada jointfir (Ephedra nevadensis) along the desert…

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Flower Friday

If you’ve been hiking during the cooler sunset hours lately, you might have noticed large 2-3” white & light pink petals along the side of the trail. These beautiful evening primrose (Oenothera spp.) plants use the late afternoon and evening…

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Wildlife Wednesday

The banded Gila monster (Heloderma suspectm cinctum) is a large lizard, anywhere from 9 – 20 inches long, that lives in Red Rock Canyon. Gila (pronounced hee’-lah) monsters spend 95 – 99 percent of their lives underground. Their food sources include…

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A-Z Red Rock Canyon

D: Desert Willow As you drive or hike through Red Rock Canyon during the late spring, you may notice these large tree-like shrubs along washes with showy white, pink, and purple flowers. Next time you encounter desert willow, Chilopsis linearis, take…

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Flower Friday

Creosote bush, Larrea tridentata, is one of the more widespread desert plant species and can be seen all throughout the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts. This bush can get up to 12 feet tall and currently in Red Rock Canyon features showy little…

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Wildlife Wednesday

If you see and hear movement in the shrubs during sunrise or sunlight hours at Red Rock Canyon, more than likely you’ve surprised a black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus). These animals tend to feed during dawn and dusk, looking for grasses,…

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Spring Hiking Tips

With the arrival of spring in Southern Nevada, visitors to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area should keep the following seasonal safety tips in mind: ∗ Be aware of the forecast. While most spring days in the Mojave Desert are sunny and warm,…

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A-Z Red Rock Canyon

C: Cholla Be aware of spiky cholla cacti, Cylindropuntia spp., while hiking! These plants easily attach themselves to wildlife and hikers with their barbed spines. This is how they spread their seeds and populate the desert! If you do find yourself stuck…

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Wildlife Wednesday

What makes the gray fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus, stand out from other canine species? Its ability to climb trees! Gray foxes have been spotted in Red Rock Canyon not only on the ground near rocky terrain and shrubs, but also resting high up in trees.…

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Flower Friday

Indigo bush, Psorothamnus fremontii, is currently exploding in bloom throughout Red Rock Canyon. You will see brilliant dark blue to purple flowers growing on the tops of this 2 to 6 foot gray-green shrub alongside SR-159 and the Scenic Drive. If you…

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Wildlife Wednesday

Enjoy saying the name of this animal: fay-no-pehp-lah. Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens, means ‘shining robe,’ an appropriate name for this medium-sized bird with gleaming black features and a fine crest atop its head. This bird lives on mistletoe…

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Flower Friday

Desert globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua, is one of our favorite and most abundant flowers in the Mojave Desert. You can identify the globemallow by orange petals that make quite a splash of color throughout spring and summer. This shrub can be found…

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Red Rock Canyon A to Z

B: Burros One of the bigger animals seen in Red Rock Canyon are burros (Equus asinus). These donkeys were first introduced to the area by explorers, ranchers, and miners to help carry heavy cargo. Some escaped or were let go and became feral/wild animals.…

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