Valley of Fire fuels a desire to explore
Valley of Fire state park is one of those rare places that will exceeded your expectations. Located about an hour northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, Valley of Fire is known for its vibrant red sandstone rock formations which illuminate the valley—especially at sunset—making it look appear as though it’s on fire. Entwined among the valley’s red rock wonderland are remnants of prehistoric people along with unparalleled vistas.
Getting to Valley of Fire State Park
There are actually two ways to reach Valley of Fire, one is off I-15 to the west end of the park, which will take just over an hour from Vegas. The other is a more scenic route that brings you in through the east entrance to the park. This route takes you along hwy 167, which provides great views of Lake Mead. This direction will take about 1.5 hours and is 67 miles long.
Valley of Fire is not too large to explore in a few hours, but you’ll likely want to spend a day, or even two because seeing the park in the early morning hours, and during golden hour in the evening, really showcases how the park got its name.
Where to Stay While Visiting Valley of Fire
You can experience these magical moments if you’re lucky enough to snag one of the first-come, first-served campsite. There are two campgrounds in the park, but they fill up fast during peak seasons, which are during the cooler months of the year (October-April). My preference of the two is Arch Rock Campground. The campsites are a bit more private and nestled within the red rocks.
If you can’t find camping within the park, there is an area about 9 miles northeast of the visitor’s center, on the east side of hwy 169 called Poverty Flats (AKA Snowbird Mesa). This is an expansive area with some beautiful views. Due to the rocky terrain, this area is much better suited for RV’ers than tent campers.
Exploring the Park
If you’re a hiker, you’re going to want to explore the depths of the park, which is another reason you’ll want to spent more than just a few hours.
With 44,000 acres of awe-inspiring and diverse landscape, there is a bit of ground to cover. Some of the highlights included:
- Seven Sisters: A fascinating series of red rock formations that are easily accessible from the road.
- Beehives: The sandstone formations in this area have eroded in such a way that they resemble “beehives.”
- Arch Rock: This is very close to one of the campgrounds with the same name. The two-mile scenic loop provides views of some of the valley’s most interesting rock formations.
- Atatl Rock: Here you can climb several flights of stairs to observe petroglyphs and the vista below.
- Mouse’s Tank: This is a half-mile hike, passing several examples of prehistoric petroglyphs. Mouse’s Tank is a natural basin in the rock where water collects after a good rainfall, sometimes remaining for months at a time.
- Rainbow Vista: This is an extraordinary view and clearly a favorite place for folks to stop and take pictures of the multi-colored sandstone.
- Petrified Logs: Here you’ll see logs and stumps that washed into the area from an ancient forest that dates back 225 million years.
If all you do is drive through the park you will be astounded by the remarkable beauty. Be sure to watch the video at the top of this post to see some driving footage through Valley of Fire state park.
Valley of Fire State Park is a place I’ve visited several times and highly recommend. It’s really a magical place to visit. If you’ve ever been to Valley of Fire, please leave a comment below and share your favorite aspects and experiences. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment as well, happy to help.