Red Rock Canyon State Park
Narrated by Russ Christoff
Twenty-five miles northeast of the town of Mohave, I found myself surrounded by massive walls of Red Rock Canyon State Park.
Visitors to this park will marvel at the beauty of this piece of unique desert terrain.
If the area looks familiar, which it should, over 100 films have been shot here over the years.
Red Rock Canyon State Park contains 4,000 acres and has been aptly named for the unusual accordion like folds in its immensely colorful rock formations.
The red coloring found within these sedimentary layers, is actual iron oxide or rust staining.
On the day I visited, children were assembling at the Campfire Center to tour the park’s nature trail.
I met here with the park ranger, Mark.
One of the most notable things that I notice, and I’m sure everybody the moment they step into the state park, is the canyon walls.
RANGER MARK: Yes, they are quite beautiful. These are one of the most scenic spots in California with our painted desert canyon walls inside Red Rock Canyon, many with impressive 300 foot high cliffs.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: What kind of stone is that?
RANGER MARK: It’s mostly made up of sandstone. Most of it is sand and gravel washed in by an ancient stream about 7 to 12 million years ago, but there are layers of volcanism here as well, volcanic rock that’s exposed nicely.
Beyond the beauty we have, we find very significant fossils in this area and very significant human history sites as well.
Things like in our fossil heritage from 7 to 12 million years ago, we have a lot of rocks displayed and some from just the last ice age, where we find examples of things like large bison that use to roam these lands.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: We were up at 5 o’clock this morning and watched the sun come up.
RANGER MARK: Yes, that is quite an experience to see it come up over the ridge and those first beams of light hit the campground cliffs, it just gorgeous.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: It was unbelievable.
You have primitive campsites here, what exactly does that mean to the camper?
RANGER MARK: That means that in our campground we have restrooms and water available and picnic tables and fire barbeques in each campsite.
But that our restrooms are vault or pit style, they are not flush toilets.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: How about your interpretative center?
RANGER MARK: We have a wonderful interpretative center. We’re still in the process of developing exhibits for it but we are really happy with what we’ve got and the public has really enjoyed it.
It’s open on weekends for the public in the fall and spring, which are our busy seasons here at Red Rock Canyon.
We also use volunteers to try and keep it open year round right now.
Red Rock Canyon is a package full of different miracles. From the scenic splendor that you see when you enter the canyon up off the flat Mohave desert, to the fossils we find here, also some rare plants that are only found here in the entire world, to the human heritage and use of this landscape.