The red rock of southern Nevada, known as Aztec sandstone, was born of the same sand dunes that gave birth to the red rock exposed in the Colorado Plateau further east. Those dunes spread in a vast desert during the age of the dinosaurs and covered much of what is now Utah, southern Idaho, eastern Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
The Aztec sandstone is visible throughout much of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area as well as the Valley Of Fire state park to the north and the Red Rock National Conservation Area north of Las Vegas. In all three areas, much older 500 million year old limestone rises in peaks above the red rock. Thrust faulting has lifted the older rock above the younger.