Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Vegas baby! Since we don’t enjoy gambling and aren’t really into shows; our idea of doing Vegas is hiking and climbing in the desert. Red Rock Canyon is the perfect place for both of those activities. The vivid colors show off amazingly intricate striations within the massive rock formations. The climbing is world class and very popular, even though we’re just beginners. It was great to see such a vast amount of natural climbing walls accessible to everyone. Plus, the views from the top of the rocks were so incredible!

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area

The unfortunately named Alabama Hills are another sunny desert spot with curiously wonderful rock outcroppings that are great for climbing. It got its name from Confederate sympathizers who named many of their mining claims after the Confederate warship, the CSS Alabama, and the name stuck for the entire range. The native Paiute people of the area call this valley Payahuunadu, meaning “land of flowing water.” Given that there are many creeks and washes winding through the rocks on their way to Owens Lake, the local Paiute name seems more appropriate.

The hills lie in a picturesque valley that spans the area between the tallest peak in the continental U.S., Mount Whitney, and the lowest spot on North American land, Badwater Basin. The strange rocks are amazing to hike around and thrilling to climb on.


The Alabama Hills from our anchor atop Paul’s Backyard.