Originally established by miners chasing silver and gold in the surrounding mountains, Ouray is a hiker’s paradise. Miles of trails take one to mountain ridges, lush forests, deep gorges, waterfalls, and old mining sites. Although we had only a few hours, thanks to David’s knowledge of the area, we hiked to some of those beautiful places.
PS. Hot spring is another big attraction to this quaint tourist town. 🙂
Located in western New Mexico, El Morro National Monument features a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base. For centuries, travelers have left their mark upon the rock face. The top of the mesa is my favorite.
Coal Mine Canyon is located about 15 miles east of Tuba City in northeastern Arizona. It’s remote and little-visited. One can drive to the rim of the canyon, but there is no official trail going down except an unofficial path which is very steep and crumbly. But the hike (more like slide) is well worth the trouble if you can overcome the fear. I’m glad that Libby and her husband were there; I wouldn’t go down without them. We were the only ones among the multi-colored and strangely-formed sandstones.
Valley of Fire is my favorite state park. I’ve been there a number of times, and it never failed to take my breath away. The park has not only red rocks but also rocks of rainbow colors. And it’s less than an hour away from Las Vegas, very easy to reach.
The trail to Turtlehead Peak isn’t long (5 miles rt), but it is relative steep and exposed, not a trail to hike in the hot days. The view from up is rewarding—you can see red rocks and Las Vegas down below and snow-capped mountains in the distance. The pictures from the top are not too great—we arrived in the middle of a sunny day with harsh light.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is very close to the city. I’ve been there several times, but I loved going back with a good friend. Libby and I hiked there four days in a row; half of time we had cold, windy, and cloudy days. The pictures I posted here are from Calico Basin. It’s on the eastside of the park.
Pay attention to this trail. There are no clear markers. We’re good hikers, and we paid attention. Yet we missed a turn and ended bushwhacking up a steep hill with two other girls, who apparently also had trouble following the trail. Luckily Libby and I had common sense to turn back and found our way. There was a pile of rocks in the middle of a wash as a sign to turn. It’s easy to miss a pile of rocks in the land of rocks.