I’ve been meaning to do the Red Rock Canyon scenic drive ever since I got the convertible, and since I’m off work for a couple of days I thought I’d drop the top and check it out. It was quite nice if a bit breezy to start – but then the weather got a bit more ominous and the wind REALLY picked up. Here’s a handy tip – when you’re driving topless at 35 mph and there’s a 40 mph cross-wind, it can be hard to breathe normally! So halfway through the drive the top came up, but the scenery was still amazing.
Anyhow, I took my camera along and stopped at a few of the overlooks along the way. And thanks to the magic of free Microsoft bloat-ware for stitching photos together, I’ve managed to kill a few hours this evening making panoramic images for your viewing pleasure. These are monster-ginormous pictures, so I’m using thumbnails here – click the “little” picture to load the big picture and get ready to scroll around (if you’ve got a monitor big enough to view the largest of these photos at full size without scrolling… I hate you.) ;-)
The scenic drive is about 14 miles of twisty road that snakes through the canyon area (there are several canyons around with a variety of colors and textures to them). It costs $5 per car per day to get into the place (officially it’s called “Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area”). There’s a visitor center when you first enter the area, so the first picture was taken from there, looking towards the signature red rocks:
The visitor center is small but has some interesting displays about the local wildlife, rock formations, and general history of the area.
The drive goes up into the canyons, and at the highest elevation there’s an overlook of the entire area:
From the overlook, I took pictures in all directions – this panoramic image was “stitched together” from 15 separate photos (here’s another handy tip – if you intend to stitch photos together, be sure to turn off the automatic date/time stamp on your camera!!!) The red rocks are in the center of this image, and if you squint real hard and look in the far distance beyond and above the red rocks, you can maybe see some of the Las Vegas skyline (about 20 miles or so away from this point). This is a 360-degree panorama, notice the light-colored pickup truck on both the left and right sides of this image.
After you’re done with the drive, and start to head back to Vegas, there’s an overlook area off of the public highway (no fee required). It’s got nice views of the area but I do think it’s worth the small fee to get up close and personal with the scenery. The best view is of the Southern canyons in the area: