Saturday, February 21, 2009

Echo Canyon / Fossil Ridge - 2/21/09

Twenty-five hikers participated in today's hike at the Red Rock National Conservation Area. It was our first hike in a while that we have done at Red Rock and it appeared that the club members were ready for it.

The trailhead for Echo Canyon and Fossil Ridge is located across the highway from the main Red Rock entrance where the horse corrals are found. We hiked up through the corrals and began hiking into the canyon beyond. There is a little bit of scrambling as you make your way up through the canyon wash. After reaching the end of the canyon, almost, we climbed up to the Fossil Ridge trail on the cliff to the right and made our way to a bike trail called "First Finger."

First Finger makes a loop around a ridge on top of the hill. We snacked here while overlooking the Fossil Trail, shown to the right, that we had just climbed up.

This hike is a great hike for seeing an abundance of red barrel cacti, desert yuccas and joshua trees. Although it is too early for blooming flowers, this trail also offers flowers of many kinds in the spring. Today, the red barrels were still bright red from the rain that we got last week.

At the completion of the First Finger trail, we connected with the "Outer Loop" bike trail. Circling around on the Outer Loop, we saw a lot of gypsum on the ground and many deep holes in the road. These holes were mostly covered with rock so that no one falls in. Watch out for the holes that are not covered! From the Outer Loop, we followed the "Cat-N-Hat" trail then finally reconnected with the "Fossil" trail to return to the cars. All of these bike trails are conveniently signed.

The total hike today was 6.14 miles with an elevation gain of around 800 feet. The sky was overcast but the temperature was quite nice in the upper 50's and lower 60's.

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