Red Rock Canyon Landscape by Mark Rekshynskyj
Welcome Sign at Red Rock Canyon NCA Scenic Drive by Joe Pohle Cactus Wren by Joe Pohle Rockclimbing Globe Mallow by Kate Sorom
BLM>Nevada>District Offices>Southern Nevada District Office
Print Page
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area - Historic Cultural Resources


Historic resources belong to recorded history.  This period generally began with the arrival of western civilization in the early 1800s and continues through the present day. 

It is illegal to disturb historic sites or collect artifacts. Each artifact found at a site tells an important story, allowing archaeologists to discover the activities that took place there. Please help us preserve and protect these sites for future generations. 

The remains of early ranches, homesteads, and mining and construction camps are well preserved by the dry environment. Federal laws protect all cultural resources over 50 years old on public lands. This includes buildings and structures as well as trash scatters containing bottles and cans.

Red Rock was visited by the Spanish in 1776, bringing with them cultural changes, and from 1829-30 Antonio Armijo led the first successful round trip trade caravan from Santa Fe to the Pueblo De Los Angeles. Armijo and his scouts mapped the trade route, which became the Old Spanish Trail. Old Spanish Trail kiosks are located at the State Route 159 Overlook and Late Night parking lot along State Route 160. 

In 1844 and 1845, Fremont retraced the path of the Old Spanish Trail in 1844 and 1845 by following the accounts of earlier explorers. Maps of Fremont’s route were distributed in the east and the route became a popular alternative for travelers wishing to avoid the Sierra Nevada during winter or those headed to southern California. Traffic increased after gold was discovered in California in 1848. The route eventually became known as the Mormon Road due to the number of Mormon settlers traveling from Salt Lake City, Utah to San Bernardino, California. 

As the early settlers passed through the area, they also discovered the canyon and finally homesteaded in this meadow.  The items remaining from the early settler’s use of this area are part of the cultural resources you see today.  Settlers, initially few in number, used transportation routes and homesteaded in this area over the years. They brought with them non-native plants and domesticated animals into these areas.

Horace and Glenna Wilson, early homesteaders diverted water from Pine Creek for a large garden. They grew sweet potatoes, beans, melons, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, and peaches – all non-native plants.

By the early 1900s, sandstone was quarried in what is now Sandstone Quarry. During the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corp was active building wildlife guzzlers in Red Rock. The evidence of modern cultural history can be found in the ruins of buildings and quarrying sites at Red Spring, Sandstone Quarry, La Madre Spring and Pine Creek.


           Red Rock Canyon                National Conservation Area

Driving Directions
Planning Your Visit 
Safetyvisitor guidesfeesweatherreservationsFrequently Asked Questions
Accessibilityphotographyweddingspetsspecial regulationshot topics and alerts
Leave No TraceTread Lightly    
Natural and Cultural Resources
plants and flowerswild horse and burrobirdsother mammals reptilesprehistoric cultural resources
historic cultural resourcesgeologyfossil iconwilderness areas  
13-Mile Scenic Driverockclimbinghikingfree programs and hikescommercial programspicnic areas
road bikingmountain bikinghorseback ridingcampgroundbackcountry campingOHV
night skiesgeocaching hunting   
Special Recreation Permits
Visitor Center
For Teachers and Parents
For Kids
Management and Planning
Contact Numbers