Red Canyon Overlook
The long, grass-covered slopes on the west side of the canyon are part of the Permian Phosphoria formation, a marine deposit composed of limestone, sandstone, dolomite, siltstone, bedded chert and phosphorite. The less-resistant rocks above the chert were eroded.
The bottom of the canyon and the lower 300 feet of the east side are eroded into the Triassic Chugwater formation. This consists of brick red sandstone, shale, and siltstone, and being less resistant to erosion, was removed from the underlying Phosphoria chert. The bright red color of the Chugwater is due to a great amount of oxidized iron between and on the grains of the rock. It is this coloration that gives Red Canyon its name.
Red Canyon Rim, which forms the east side of the valley, is comprised of salmon-colored Jurassic Nugget sandstone. This sandstone was deposited during regression of ancient seas. It represents tidal flat and beach sedimentation and was cross-stratified during deposition on ancient back-beach sand dunes.