Moon Rocks Field Trip

Entering Moon Rocks

The best part of home schooling is the field trips! A couple of days ago, we met up with a bunch of home school friends and drove out to Moon Rocks, the popular name for the Hungry Valley Recreation Area. It’s a large open area with a variety of roads and trails in the high desert terrain. Moon Rocks gets its name from the large granite formation rising up in the desert. Granite is a common igneous rock that cooled from magma deep underground at a slow enough rate for crystals to form, big enough to be seen without a microscope. This doesn’t feel anything like the granite your kitchen counter is made of. It’s porous and rough, making it easy to climb, and easy to cut and scrape climbers. Long pants, climbing gloves, closed toe shoes, a hat and water are the bare essentials. It’s a popular place to climb, explore and ride all types of off road vehicles. Entrance and camping is free, but there are no services, water or shade so it’s basically, bring your own everything!

Painted Moon Rocks
Painted Moon Rocks

These concentric rings of reddish-brown to yellowish-brown are iron-oxide staining. They are called “liesegang bands” and show the path of water infiltrating the rocks. As it oxidizes the iron contained in the darker minerals makes the rocks look painted.

Driving directions:

From Reno, NV take Pyramid Hwy (445) north through Spanish Springs. You’ll pass the Shoe Tree on the right. According to roadsideamerica.com, shoe trees may be the greatest embodiment of the American Spirit you can find on the highway (free of admission charge, anyway). A shoe tree starts with one dreamer, tossing his or her old footwear into a tree. It usually ends there, unseen and neglected by others. But on rare occasions, that first pair of shoes triggers a shoe tossing cascade. Soon, teens, moms, dads and grandparents are permanently inscribing messages of love, greetings and life accomplishments and tossing their old sneakers into the tree.

Shoe Tree
Shoe Tree

Continue north on 445 8 miles past Spanish Springs to Winnemucca Ranch Rd. You’ll see a sign for the Horse Motel on the left.

Horse Motel
Horse Motel

Turn Left on Winnemucca Ranch Rd. and follow 5 miles until the road becomes a dirt road. Follow one more mile to the entrance on the left.

Sign to Moon Rocks
Entrance Sign to Moon Rocks

Moon Rocks will be 1/2 to 1 mile on your right hand side. Parking is wide open. Just watch out for loose sand.

Exploring Moon Rocks
Exploring Moon Rocks

Moon Rocks is a natural, free play land for all ages. The parents and kids all enjoyed climbing and exploring. My son and I found piles of bullet casings, which was like finding a treasure for him. Yes, Nevada is the wild west so you never know what you’ll find.

Bullet Casings
Bullet Casings

Another parent caught a lizard! One of the kids relentlessly cuddled it and had it tamed in no time. She was hoping to keep the blue bellied lizard as her new pet.

Lizard Belly at Moon Rocks
Western Fence Lizard

Her mom was saying no, but I have a feeling they now are the proud owners of a lizard that can live up to 5 years:)

Moon Rocks Lizard
Tamed Lizard

Those who didn’t wear gloves and long pants suffered cuts and scrapes. Thankfully, one of the parents had a first aid kit.

 

Nurse to the Rescue
Nursing wounds at Moon Rocks

A group of successful climbers conquered this craggy rock formation.

Defeating Moon Rocks
Defeating Moon Rocks

Besides climbing and exploring, we were sure to take a look around at the spectacular views as we made our way through the rocks.

View from Moon Rocks
View from Moon Rocks

If you’re looking for a fun, free place to take your kids, this is the place. You should have seen the looks on these kids’ faces when we pulled up to the parking area. Once out of the car, they all took off running as if the rocks were calling to them. We once went during a holiday weekend last spring and it was even better (if you don’t mind crowds). There were hundreds of campers! As we climbed around the rocks, we watched ATVs, dune buggies and trucks ride all over the rocks. It was like a free show.

Moon Rocks
Rounded Moon Rocks

If you live in the Reno, NV area or are just visiting, be sure to visit Moon Rocks. If you’re heading up to Pyramid Lake, this is a fun stop. The trip back to town has incredible views of Mt. Rose.

Mt. Rose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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