Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hiking Red Rock Canyon's Keystone Thrust Trail - Part 1


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The Keystone Thrust trail in Nevada's Red Rock Canyon conservation area, just outside Las Vegas, is shown on maps as short hike (around 2 hours) of moderate difficulty. The elevation change is shown as 500 feet, but add some feet if you hike from the first parking lot to the second one at the trail head, about a mile up a gravel road. The elevation change is surprisingly challenging, but the trip is well worth it for the views, and for the geology lesson.

The Keystone Thrust is a fault formed by tectonic plate movement - the older gray granite plate has gotten shoved overtop the younger yellow and red sandstone rock layers. Weather has done the rest of the work to make these fascinating formations.





Up the 0.8 mile road to the trailhead.


Vegas is always lurking in the background.


Upper right is a Native American agave roasting pit, used to cook food.



The trail crosses a wash. You don't want to be here when the rains come.
Can you spot the trail winding up, and the person on the trail?


Lots of caves around boulders and on the sides of the mountains.


Little fellas eke out a living in the desert.



Lots more photos in Part 2.

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