About an hour’s drive northeast from Las Vegas, NV is this picturesque park. After seeing pictures on the internet, we decided we needed to see this for ourselves.
At the gate, I asked for an easy hike about a mile or two. The ranger recommended two possibilities for us – White Domes and Rainbow Vista. The contrast at Rainbow Vista was striking and we marvelled at the forces that created it.
Primroses were blooming all over the place. The whiter ones had opened recently and the pink ones were a little older and already wilting in the heat.
This white one was the healthiest of the bunch, but we knew it would only last for one day. We counted ourselves lucky to see these.
We decided to hike the White Domes trail. It started in loose sand in the shade of a wide slot near the parking lot.
Just a few hundred feet down the slot was part of an old movie set from a 1965 production of “The Professionals”. This had been part of a hacienda in that movie. The sign said they had started filming westerns here in the 1920’s.
A look back toward the trailhead in case we had to return the same way.
The trail was veering around one of the pinnacles, following a gravelly, dry stream bed.
The gravel path led toward this tall slot and was very shaded and cool.
It must have taken eons for the water, wind and sand to carve these walls. Some of the shapes seemed a little grotesque and I was hesitant to enter.
Emerging out the other end was welcomed.
Different layers of sandstone erode at different rates depending on their hardness. The mid-afternoon sun gave it nice contrast.
I caught movement ahead on the trail as this lizard climbed on this rock to get out of my way. (I was on alert for snakes since the temperature was 85F or 30C)
We skirted the base of the pinnacle fairly quickly on the sunny side enjoying the views as we went.
This arch caught my eye as we reached the end of a rock formation.
The back side of the same arch seemed to have a cave eroded out so that a couple of people could fit in there.
The different colours in the rock were quite enjoyable.
We sure liked this example of nature’s weathering of the fins on this yellow sandstone.
I finally found one of the prickly pear cactus blooming. Thankfully, I wasn’t looking out the car window at 80mph like I was just hours earlier.
I couldn’t resist a close up.
The trail emerged between the rocks just below the parking lot.
A little fuzzy at 300mm handheld, but I managed to catch these two daredevils, red shirt on the right and black shirt on the left, who had climbed straight up this pinnacle.
This is that same pinnacle they were climbing – the one on the left. And you can see cars in the parking lot lower to the left of it. Crazy kids!
This was an interesting feature near the visitor center.
On our way out of the park, we came across this desert tortoise slowly trying to cross the asphalt highway. Realizing the danger, we pulled off the road and I moved it safely to the ditch. Each time a car whizzed past, it knowingly pulled its head and feet back under cover.
The tortoise was about a foot long from head to tail. Before long, it headed further from the road and I headed back to the car. It was the first time I had ever seen or touched one of these creatures in the wild. We had some hand sanitizer in the car and that had to do until I could wash properly at our hotel.