Red Rock Canyon

A short drive outside Las Vegas is a beautiful nature conservation area called Red Rock Canyon. Next time you find yourself in Vegas with an appetite for reality, rent a car and venture out there for a day hike. My husband and I did not pack hiking clothes, but we welcomed the adventure. (We loved the restaurants and the Cirque de Soleil show at the Bellagio, but we are not gamblers.) On advice from the visitor’s center, we set out on a 2.5 mile hike called Calico Tanks. My husband carried my smaller camera in his pocket and the water in his hand. I carried the DSLR, so we each had a hand free for rock scrambling. The weather was very hot, but dry. We needed the water!

Here is a panorama of the starting location:

From the trail’s end, looking back to the start, you can admire the “calico” rock colors: The “tanks” refers to the puddles left by rainwater; there is no other source of water.

Here is the prize: the view of Las Vegas in the far distance (near horizon to the left). We made friends instantly with the other hikers at the lookout, so we could all go home with photos of ourselves in the scene.

Here is one last favorite photo. After the hike, we drove around the desert landscape. I was intrigued by these cacti, so we found just the right one to serve as a foreground in my photo.

Author: cathykellyphotography

Independent photographer based in Pittsburgh PA and Naples FL. Nature, landscape and portrait photography. Portfolio includes international work in USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Email to review work in your area of interest. Nature portfolio includes flowers and wildlife. Prints and digital files for sale. See website:

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