Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley

It’s hard to describe the scenery that we have been going through the last couple of days. It is big sky country but different than Montana, it’s mountains but different than the Green Mountains, it’s desert but not like west Texas and it’s sand but not like Hampton Beach. As we traveled through Death Valley today, we crossed two sets of mountains over 4000 feet, going up and down long straight stretches and the windy, twisty roads where you don’t want to look down. We were below sea level and above 5000 feet all within a couple of hours.

Yesterday, we drove out of Las Vegas north and west to Red Rock Canyon. The views were amazing as we entered park land.


We chose what looked like a moderate hike that turned out to be much longer, harder and steeper than we had originally planned but I think we were both happy that it turned out that way. The temps were in the 90’s as we headed uphill on a gravel road into the canyon. We hiked through some scrub until we reached the top where we had great views.



We ended up hiking over 6 miles all around White Rock (which is distinguished from all the red rock around the area). Near the end, we passed some ancient petroglyphs of hand prints on the red rock walls. Our feet were tired but our spirits were high as we got back into our car for the drive to Death Valley..

Our drive through the southern part of the park to our destination of Beatty,Nevada was at the end of the day. We lucked out with our timing, driving past Zubriskie Point just as the sun was setting. The light over the Badlands lit up the contrasting black and white colors (borax was mined here with the 20 mule teams pulling it out) and the light on the mountains behind us was magical.



The last 30 miles or so, we had only the dim light for us to see the jagged peaks we were passing. The colors in the night sky ranged from pink to blues and yellows.


This morning we headed back across the park to our destination here in Ridgecrest, California. We stopped at Rhyolite, a ghost town first and then headed across the flats which are below sea level. We hiked in the sand dunes, finding tracks of the sidewinder rattlesnakes.


Leave a comment


  1. Phyllis Biegun

     /  October 15, 2011


  2. Looks lovely! So great to be able to follow your road trip.


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