It’s a bit more than "just around the bend," but not much. It’s the first right after you leave the city behind on Route 159, which just moments before was Charleston Boulevard. The sign says "Calico Basin." It even sounds like a great place to visit. It is–except if it’s raining.
Less than a quarter mile off Route 159 and you’d never know that the neon lights and buzz of Vegas is just a few miles away, over a small set of hills that are the start of the Spring Mountain Range. Red Spring opens just about the time the sun comes up, around 6, and closes when the sun dips behind the mountains, anywhere from 5 to 8 p.m. depending on the season.
It’s a beautiful place to walk. Come early and bring your favorite easy to eat breakfast food. I didn’t say "fast food," but bring what works for you. Leave the "fancy" coffee in the city, bring an old fashioned thermos of hot coffee, or tea, maybe even hot chocolate, and a friend. Plant yourself at one of the covered picnic areas and enjoy the early morning antics of the birds and maybe even a few bunnies. There may other morning creatures playing in the meadow beneath the walkway. If picnic benches just don’t do it for you, bring your own chairs and sit where you like. Enjoy the quiet, the rustle of the trees and if you’re lucky you might even here the gurgling of Red Spring, if there has been enough rain for it to gurgle. There are over 50 natural springs in the Spring Mountain Range, and you are sitting right at the edge of the range. [img_assist|nid=1094|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=167]
When you’ve finished eating, take a hike. The path is about a mile long, circling around the meadow and going back to where Red Spring bubbles along its way. Birds hang out there and so do a few very small fish. The path is along a wooden walkway that has a railing most of the way. Park benches are located along the way where the views are exceptional. So are information stations. The path winds over a meadow, "in the desert? A meadow?" Yes. Enjoy watching the colors of the rock change as the sun rises higher and higher in the sky.
The "rocks" aren’t really rocks. They are petrified sand dunes. The red ones have iron ore in them and the red is the rust. The white areas are where water flowed through centuries ago and washed the iron out, leaving a beautiful background for us to view, climb or just be amazed by.
The "terra firma" beneath the wooden path used to be the floor of an ancient but shallow sea. Violent earthquakes tipped the earth and the water drained away, leaving shells and other remnants of its having been there. Sea shells and marine fossils are still found, but it’s a real hard hunt now. In many places you can still see the ridges of where the water used to meet the earth.
Red Spring is people and pet friendly with 5 covered picnic areas including tables, benches and grills to cook on. Plus there is a covered group area of 6 tables.
There are large clean restrooms and ample parking, especially for handicapped. Wheelchairs could be pushed along the path but the first part is rather steep to go up and probably a bit dangerous coming back down. (I push my Mom in her wheelchair many places and this one I won’t try just because of the downhill part.) There are no fees to enjoy the area.
This area is a bit higher than "on the strip, or downtown" and the weather can be different, hotter, colder or windier so be prepared. Always carry water and maybe a jacket, depending on the season.
You’ll feel as if you are a long way from the big city, but Red Rock Casino is less than 10 miles away. It is refreshingly different from those on the strip.
Getting back to the strip is easy, make a left back on to Route 159 and follow it to Charleston Boulevard, keep going East until you reach the I 15 and then you can go right to the strip or left to downtown.
Don’t forget to come back and watch the sun go down.
Biography: Linda Wood has lived in Northwest Las Vegas for over 14 years. She has been writing for as long as she can remember, but really began to enjoy it when people offered to pay her for what she loves doing. She feels her writing is a "gift of ability," and will write for free when she believes in the cause. If she writes about it, it is probably outdoors and beautiful, then she will take pictures too.
She loves to travel, long or short trips, usually alone. Sometimes with her Mom, who is 93 and lives with her and their cat, Tisha, a tuxedo milk mouth that is "pure love" and enjoys riding in the car.
Linda is the originator of GreenStuff2 and PainStuff, herbal remedies for itching and muscle pain. Her website is www.GreenStuff2.com. It works on pets too.
She enjoys public speaking in the areas of senior care, her book "Guide to 55 & Better" is available on her website. She also speaks on Child safety-teaching children how to be safe using their own skills. You may contact her at Linda@greenstuff2.com