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One reason we did not stay at the strip in Las Vegas is because we want to be closer to nature. Our hotel Red Rock Station (earlier post) takes it name from the Red Rock Canyon national conservation area, which is a small corner of the Mojave Desert. There is a very modern visitor center at 3720 ft (1127m).

The conservation area has one highway (Nevada state 159) and only one other paved road, and it is aptly named, the Scenic Drive – a one-way loop of 13-mile at a max speed of 35 mph.

You can drive right up to the red rocks and see the banding. The red coloration is oxidized iron minerals in a layer of rock- rust essentially.

It is a very popular place for rock climbing. Can you see the curve in the road in the photo below ?

The sky was grey. I thought it was going to rain (in the desert !) – but it did not happen.

Tortoise is a native here in the desert – it is somehow hard to imagine. We did not see any as it was winter and they were hibernating.

The openness of the space was breathtaking, especially for us city-dwellers.

I wonder how old is this tree. Apparently, due to the dryness, plants grow very slowly in the desert.

Here is a video I borrowed from the official Red Rock Canyon web site. Doesn’t the music reminds you of U2 from their Joshua Tree album ?

We stopped at one of several parking areas and went for a hike to Calico Tanks – see next post.

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