I was able to squeeze this one in over the weekend as well, thanks to a bit of hustle at Death Valley on Saturday. I wasn’t even aware that this place existed, which is crazy considering it is only a short 4 hour drive the Central Valley!
I drove late Saturday night to Cantil, CA just outside of Red Rock Canyon State Park. I’d pulled right off of Highway 14 onto some BLM land and car camped with the dog, another night of awkward car sleeping in slightly less than warm temperatures. Thankful for wine 🙂
I didn’t really know what to expect, although the name alluded to some Red Rocks, obviously, but by 7am on Sunday morning, I was up and ready to explore. What I found was absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous!
I ended up hiking Nightmare Gulch an 8.8 mile loop trail through a Canyon with walls of rock formations on both sides of the gulch. Not sure if it was because it was early, or because of the time of the year, but I didn’t see another person the entire hike.
Turns out that Nightmare Gulch trail closes from February through July, and I was just a week shy of February and there had been lots of rain, and so the information board had actually said that the trail was closed… something that I didn’t find out until after I’d completed the hike. Whatever the reason, I absolutely loved having this wonderland all to myself!
There wasn’t much wildlife to be see, and very scarce shrubbery and a cactus or Joshua Tree every now and again, but the rocks are by far the main attraction. Paired with a gorgeous blue sky, and this was far far from a nightmare, as the name suggested.
This is definitely on my short-list for return hiking, camping, and exploring venues!