Long story short-a friend and I took advantage of the Fee Free National Park Day and visited Lake Mead National Recreation Area after we went through Valley of Fire State Park. Lake Mead will be found in a different post.
I have lived here more than 20 years and visited both Red Rock and Valley of Fire way back when I first moved here. Now that the photo bug has bitten, I decided to go back to both of those places. Nothing is, as I remember it. I learned that Calico Basin is part of Red Rock and that there is a Red Spring that is on the Calico Basin side also. I learned that I don’t remember Valley of Fire at all like it is today. Well, maybe tiny little bits. I remember the original campground and the petroglyphs. In addition, as we headed back to town along Lake Mead (a trip that I have taken several times even in recent years), that there is place called Redstone on the road. I swear I don’t remember those rock formations, even though they aren’t the sort of thing that would just spring up. The park itself may be new enough, that I didn’t see it before. Boy have my eyes been opened. Of course, there are also much smaller spots where an occasional outgrowth of red rock that is geographically correct, but isn’t large enough to warrant a park designation. So now, a little bit about each of the areas mentioned.
Calico Basin and Red Spring Park appear to be part of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, although they are on the other side of the hill and back up to privately developed land. To get to Red Rock Canyon, Calico Basin and Red Spring Park-head west on Charleston Boulevard, until it turns into both Red Rock Canyon Road and Blue Diamond Road. This is the closest to Las Vegas and is just a couple of miles beyond the developed part of the city. Ironically-whether you are in Calico Basin, Red Spring Park or Red Rock Canyon-you cannot hear the hub bub of the city at all.
Valley of Fire State Park is more of a drive and won’t be done without wheels. It is 49 miles to get out to the park entrance by taking I-15 toward Utah and getting off at the Valley of Fire Hwy located at the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza (also referred to as the Smokeshop). Follow the Valley of Fire Hwy to the entrance to the park. Since we are now having wonderful spring temperatures in the 70s, it was quite busy while we were there on a long weekend. Come summer, when the temperatures soar into the 110s, I suspect it is still very quiet out there. I will share more about the Valley of Fire in another entry.
Redstone Picnic Area looks very new, at least the facilities. It includes a half mile hiking trail, covered picnic tables and a necessity stop in the parking lot. On the day we visited, an older couple was getting married amongst the red stones. Not only is Las Vegas known for weddings in our chapels, but there are a lot of location weddings that take place in Red Rock, Redstone and Valley of Fire. The backgrounds can’t be beat and can’t be faked. If anybody is planning one of these little affairs, then contact me. I want to get into that kind of photography also. Enough rambling though! Redstone Picnic Area is located at mile 27 on the Northshore Road along Lake Mead. Heading back into town from Redstone, turn onto Lake Mead Boulevard to return through North Las Vegas or continue to Lake Mead Parkway to return in through Henderson. There are other options if you want to continue around Lake Mead toward Hoover Dam and the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge.