Valley of Fire Nevada is a true gem filled with red sandstone outcrops that resemble a fire wave on a bright sunny day.
Located just one hour away from Las Vegas, it’s the ultimate getaway from the hustle and bustle of Sin City. The largest state park in Nevada, it is a home to a number of scenic hiking trails and gorgeous vistas.
Besides being one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, it’s also a great place to stop and take in scenic views if you are just driving from Utah to Southern California or the other way around.
Things to know before visiting Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire in Nevada is an incredible place to visit. However, because of its remote location and harsh desert environment, there are a couple of things you need to know before you go.
1. Don't forget to bring water
2. Bring a camera
3. Check your car
Valley of Fire State Park is not a place to have a car breakdown. Besides having a spotty coverage, it’s located in the middle of the desert and takes time to reach. Having to call a tow truck is the last thing you want to do while you are here!
4. Fill up your tank
There are no gas stations inside the Valley of Fire of State Park. Running out of gas in the middle of the desert would really suck, especially if you travel in the middle of the summer when temperatures in the area are between 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Do not rely on your phone
Cell phone service is very spotty throughout the Valley of Fire State Park. DO NOT rely on your cell phone, especially if you hike alone. Use the paper map or a GPS device instead that you can get at the entrance.
6. Stay on designated trails
Here you will find big horn sheep, snakes, various birds and many other animals. When you hike, it’s important to stay on trails because desert ecosystems are incredibly fragile and can take a long time to regenerate.
Valley of Fire directions
To drive from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire, get on Interstate-15 and continue about 50 miles north.
The trip takes approximately one hour. As you get close, you will see a big brown sign on the right side of the highway.
Get off Interstate-15 and turn onto the Valley of Fire Highway. The gas station across the truck stop on your left side is the last place to buy food, water and gas before you get into the Valley of Fire Nevada.
Valley of Fire State Park entrance fee
Valley of Fire State Park entrance fee is $10 per vehicle and it has to be paid at the park’s entrance.
After you pay the fee you get a map with all of the park’s landmarks, hiking trails and points of interest. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, which is important to remember if you are visiting the park during winter, when the sun goes down before 5 p.m.
The Valley of Fire State Park is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Valley of Fire Visitor Center
If you still forgot to bring your water, you might be in luck:
Valley of Fire Nevada actually has a visitor’s center where you can get water from the fountain or purchase it. Here, you can also see several exhibits about geology and the history of the park and the entire region.
In addition, you can also talk to a ranger, and ask questions about the park. The visitor’s center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Valley of Fire Things To Do
Whether you are an avid hiker or not, taking at least one Valley of Fire hikes is an absolute must.
When you are in the Valley of Fire, you will be able to find incredible petroglyphs, rock formations and incredible blue skies. You can get all the information about Valley of Fire hikes when you stop at Valley of Fire Visitor Center.
The Beehives are the quirky sandstone formations that dominate the very first stop of the Valley of Fire State Park. They were created as water and wind eroded the red sandstone, giving it the unique shapes you see today. You can also climb on top of one of these domes to get a good overview of the area.
Continue onto the Scenic Loop Road, the main road that cuts through the Valley of Fire State Park and provides access to most overlooks and hikes in addition to camp sites.
One of the first points of interest is Atlatl Rock, a giant boulder that has stairs leading up to a display of petroglyphs that were left there by the Anastazi Pueblo tribes. Some Valley of Fire petroglyphs are more than 2,000 years old, so this place is definitely worth a stop.
You can also find a campground for an overnight stay near Atlatl Rock, just make sure to arrive early.
If you keep driving along the loop, your next stop is going to be Arch Rock.
When you get closer to Arch Rock, you will see numerous signs asking you not to climb on top of the rock, please heed them as sandstone is actually very fragile substance what it may seem like to a first-time visitor. It might not be as impressive as other famous arches in the southwest United States, but it still looks very unique.
Next, head north on the White Domes Road.
Your first stop on the left is going to be Mouse’s Tank that culminates at the end of the basin in the rock that collects the rainfalls. The round trip hike follows the wash is only 0.75 miles and its main highlight are the petroglyphs on the rocks.
It’s not the most scenic hike at Valley of Fire State Park, but has one great feature: The hike runs through the shadowy area, and provides a perfect retreat from the heat during spring, summer and early fall.
White Domes Road
Right between Mouses’s Tank and Rainbow Vista lies the most picturesque stretch of the Valley of Fire State Park called White Domes Road or Mouse’s Tank Road. Make sure to pull over and take a picture as the view of the road surrounded by the red sandstone cliffs is truly magical.
PRO TIP: The best view of White Domes Road opens from the Silica Dome Overlook, a rock that’s perched high above the road. You can find it after a slight turn off from White Domes Road.
This 1-mile roundtrip hike culminates with a panoramic view of the Valley of Fire. The hike is famous fro its multicolored sandstone and is an excellent spot for taking photos.
Besides being pretty scenic, the Rainbow Vista hike is very easy, so you can quickly hike to the end of your trail and back to your car.
Valley of Fire Nevada has a little secret.
… It’s called Pastel Canyon!
This gorgeous site isn’t designated on the map and therefore, doesn’t see many people. In recent years, it has been getting more attention thanks to a slew of online articles and social media posts, so I’m not the first one to divulge this information!
If you want to find Pastel Canyon, you will need to do some work.
This spot is located close to The Fire Wave and White Dome Trail and takes you about 15 minutes to walk through. To get there, find a marker with number 5 in the dip between Parking 1 and Parking 2 and follow the dry wash to the east.
The Fire Wave
No trip to the Valley of Fire is complete without visiting the iconic Fire Wave.
It is one of the most beautiful and popular spots at Valley of Fire Nevada that attracts many visitors. It will take you about one hour to hike this 1.5-mile round trip trail and probably event more to take in all of the views.
The Fire Wave hike begins across from Parking Lot 3.
If you want to get some scenic shots of the Fire Wave, arrive around sunset. The color of the sky combined with the natural features of this make for some really cool photos.
PRO TIP: You can cut down your hike to the Fire Wave if you access it through Pastel Canyon. As you keep walking through Pastel Canyon, you will reach a wash. If you continue walking straight, you will get out on the northern side of the Fire Wave.
The final stop on its namesake road, White Domes hike stretches for 1.25-miles and requires rock scrambling in parts because of boulders along the narrow trail that runs along the canyon’s wall. The best feature of this scenic hike is an iconic slot canyon that offers great opportunities for photography.
I was able to take a lot of photos for this blog post because I carried the lightweight Manfrotto tripod with me. It really worked really well because I was able to carry it on my shoulder all day long.
Elephant Rock is the last stop along the Valley of Fire Road just before the Lake Mead East Entrance.
The spot gets its name from a quirky rock formation resembling an elephant. Here you can also take a cool picture in a photo frame. To access Elepahnt Rock, take a short trail that runs along the road toward the eastern entrance of the the Valley of Fire State Park.
Where To Stay Near Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire camping
Valley of Fire has two campgrounds with 72 campsites that come on the first-come, first-serve basis and have tables, water hook-ups and bathrooms. Campfires are allowed only in designed camp sites.
If you are traveling with RV, Valley of Fire has hookups for water and power.
Campers are limited to 14 days as Valley of Fire gets busy especially during shoulder seasons, when visitors from colder climates come here to catch some sun and enjoy warm temperatures.
Best Time to Visit Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is located in the Mojave Desert, and it can get pretty hot here! The hottest weather at Valley of Fire occurs from May through October.
It’s not uncommon for the temperatures to reach above 110 degrees at the park during this time.
The best time to visit Valley of Fire State Park is either in the fall or spring when temperatures hover between high 60s and mid-70s. From mid-October through the end of April when the park has the most mild temperatures.
If you visit Valley of Fire during late spring or summer, put on plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated, especially if you are new to the dry desert heat. It’s also a good idea to plan your hikes for early morning and be done before noon.
Why visit Valley of Fire
Visiting Valley of Fire State Park is one of the best experiences you can have when visiting Southern Nevada. After seeing Las Vegas, take a day off to spend at Valley of Fire Nevada and explore everything that this gorgeous place has to offer.
I promise you will not be disappointed!
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