Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Calico Basin & The Red Rock Overlook

A few weeks ago, I was out looking for desert wildflowers. I went to Calico Basin and the Red Rock Overlook, where visitors don't have to pay an entrance fee. The entry into Red Rock Canyon NCA is only $7.00 per vehicle, but not only was I on a budget, I didn't have enough time to drive the 13-mile, one-way loop through Red Rock.

When I was a kid, my family picnicked at Calico Basin. In those days, there was no boardwalk—no one knew how fragile the marshy meadow and springs were. That was also before about a million people moved to Las Vegas, increasing the visitation to Red Rock and the number of people tromping all over the meadow. Now there's a big picnic area and an elevated walkway around the meadow. The squirrels seem to be pretty happy with the changes. They've learned that picnic area = suckers people with food.
Only a few flowers were blooming at Calico Basin, so my son and I headed to the Overlook.

Surprisingly, the areas outside of the Red Rock Loop have the most picnic areas. The Overlook is right off Highway 159, and it's stocked with tables, a really big outhouse, and a roughly paved path that leads up a little hill.

The wind was acting up, but that didn't seem to deter the insects from doing their jobs. After all, even with so few wildflowers out, there was pollinating to be done.

Where's your favorite place at Red Rock?

Photographs by Terrisa Meeks


Jill Paige Homes said...

What is autumn like at Calico Basin? Looking for trees with fall color.

TH Meeks said...

Hi Jill! Calico Basin has some trees with seasonal color, although there aren't that many. Mt. Charleston is the better choice for nearby fall color.

If you don't mind a drive, I'm partial to Utah State Highway 14 right outside Cedar City--it runs through Cedar Canyon, up into the Cedar Breaks/Brianhead/Panguitch area--though you do still have plenty of evergreens, so it's more pockets of color than full displays like you see back East.

For a weekend trip, Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona is utterly gorgeous, has plenty of fall color, & dovetails nicely with a stay in Sedona and/or a trip up to Jerome. Beautiful color there, although the secret is out on that one & it tends to get a bit crowded.

Jacque said...

We are looking to get married in September at either the overlook or Calico Basin. Which did you like better? Also what time is the best to be out there?

TH Meeks said...

Jacque, congrats!

Both Calico Basin and the Overlook have good points as the place to take your vows. Personally, I would go with Calico Basin because I think you've got better places for photographs (lots of greenery and you're really close to the sandstone) and you have a big covered picnic area if you want to have any kind of a reception or gathering.

The Overlook's backdrop might be more dramatic, but if you have anyone with walking problems in your party, the uphill stretch to the flat area where you'd probably want to do the ceremony might be difficult. You also have a covered picnic area, but it's right in the parking lot.

If's it's possible, I suggest that when you take all your pictures that you take shots at both places, no matter which place you do the ceremony. The pics will be beautiful!

As far as time, in September it can still be very warm out (avg. that time of year is 95F). I'd wait until later in the afternoon, when the sun is going down and you can be out of the direct sunlight.

Jacque said...

Thanks! You absolutely confirmed my thoughts! :-)