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At the visitor center, the ranger looked at us and recommended the Calico Tanks trail. The trailhead is about 3-4 miles from the visitor center located near a sandstone quarry.

As you can see, the sky was grey. We had blue cloudless sky every day except the day we chose to visit the canyon.  So all the photos look a bit dull. The upside was that we were not sun burnt. Apparently, temperatures in the area exceed 105 °F (41 °C)  routinely in the summer. Nevertheless, we were urged by the ranger to bring water. So we bought ice cold bottled water from a vending machine in the desert.

The rocks are layered and very weathered.

After we passed the sandstone quarry and the washbed which is filled with gravels, we started climbing. Looking back towards the washbed.

It is fascinating to see how abruptly the rock color changes from red to yellow and vice versa.

We remarked that since we left LA, the palette of everything along the way is overwhelmingly yellowish brown – the desert and even the homes in the area, they are all in shades of yellow, brown, and reddish brown.

There must have been water in the geologic past.

This is the first time I have seen a group of cactus in nature. Usually I see them planted individually in a small red plastic pot in a supermarket.

The trail is rated medium, as you have to scramble, and hop from rock to rock.

On the smooth surface of the flat rock, there was a fine layer of sand making it slippery – and to prove it, I slipped and fell.

Look! Water in the desert. These seasonal pools are called Tinaja or Tanks – we were told these are the places to watch animals (bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, rabbit) as they come for a drink. Not this one though, since it is frequented by humans.

Sue climbed into one of the larger dried-up tanks. To her left is the bottom where you can see a brown layer of vegetation.

At the end of the trail, we were rewarded by a view of Las Vegas. There are some homes just below the canyon – Calico Springs. What a place to live!

In the picture below, our hotel – Red Rock Station is standing prominently in the foreground (left, just above the rock). In a distance, the Stratosphere (white tower) and the Wynn towers (two bronze colored buildings on the right) are clearly visible. This second picture was taken with zoom from the same spot – I just want to point out that the strip and even our hotel is not as close as it looks.

The view of Vegas from here at dusk must be phenomenal and a vantage points (4930 ft) for taking night pictures of the city for the tourist brochures.

The whole walk took 2-3 hours round trip (2.5 miles) and gained 450 ft (140 m) – not strenuous, a must-see for any hikers visiting Vegas. At the end, we each drank a liter of water.


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