Explore the Best of the Southwest at Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, and it’s a wonderful place for hiking, camping, and photography. Make sure you have a full memory card for your camera – the scenery is otherworldly. While visiting Valley of Fire you’ll explore trails marked by ancient petroglyphs while soaking in the sights of the vibrant red rocks and open desert that surround you in all directions.
1. Valley of Fire State Park is a quick trip from Las Vegas
From Las Vegas, you can reach Valley of Fire State Park in approximately one hour. It’s an easy 50 miles from Vegas via Interstate 15, making it a perfect day trip. Be prepared for boiling hot temperatures in the summer, though! Daytime highs can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring and fall offer much milder, and more pleasant, temperatures.
2. The scenery resembles Mars…on Earth
This state park has definitely earned its dramatic name – the red sandstone rock formations look like fire sprouting from the desert sands. This impressive geology was molded over 150 million years ago via erosion, shifting sand dunes, and moving fault lines. There are a number of fun trails to explore that will allow you to get up close and personal with the “fire” of the park. When you arrive, make a quick stop at the Visitors Center. The staff will have tons of information about where to go.
3. Take a walk through history
For an excellent introduction to the petroglyphs of the park (which are over 3,000 years old!), try Mouse’s Trail. It’s an easy 1.4-mile trip that takes hikers to a natural rock aquifer (which holds rainwater to keep the ecosystem functioning through long, dry periods.) This particular trail is one of the best places to spot these markings, so be sure to keep an eye out for the symbols! As you walk, think about the ancient, nomadic groups that once traveled through the area. You’ll, quite literally, be strolling through history.
4. Silence never sounded so wonderful
Valley of Fire State Park tends to be a fairly quiet place. There will be occasional tourist buses coming through, but for the most part, it doesn’t see the hoards of visitors that other nearby attractions bring. There’s something enchanting about being in the middle of the desert, encircled by bright sandstone and scraggly vegetation. Take a deep breath and enjoy the peace and quiet.
5. Getting around Valley of Fire is a breeze
The majority of the park’s most interesting sights are easy to reach, even for children and the elderly. The park rangers will have plenty of information about the trails and can direct you toward paths that your group will love. The trails are all well marked and easy to follow. If hiking doesn’t sound like much fun, driving through the park will still give you access to the best of the park’s scenery.