When I went to Las Vegas this past month, exploring some of Nevada’s natural beauty was on my itinerary.
Located in the Mojave Desert, Valley of Fire is considered Nevada’s oldest state park. The park covers an area of almost 36,000 acres and its formations are a result of fossilized sandstone and sand dunes that formed more than 150 million years ago.
Its elevation varies between 2,000 and 2,6000 feet.
If you’re looking to take a break from the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip, Valley of Fire State Park makes the perfect half-day excursion.
Whether you prefer to hike or just drive through the park to admire its beautiful rock formations, a visit to Valley of Fire is one of the highlights of any trip to Nevada.
If you need to rent a car, I recommend using RentalCars.com to find the best price. We used this website to find a great deal on our car rental.
29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, Nevada
Open year round from dawn to dusk
How to get there
Valley of Fire is about 58 miles from the Las Vegas Strip and takes just over an hour to drive there.
Directions from the Las Vegas Strip: Take the I-15 North approximately 35-40 miles. Take Exit 75 and head East toward Valley of Fire/Lake Mead. Drive approximately 17 miles on Valley of Fire to the West Entrance Station.
$10/vehicle ($8/vehicle Nevada resident) at fee station or self-pay booth
Visitor center (gift shop), camping, RV camping, picnicking, group areas (accommodating up to 45 people) and hiking.
Winters tend to be mild here with temperatures ranging from freezing to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Daily summer highs however usually exceed 100 degrees and it’s not uncommon to reach 120 degrees.
While spring and fall are the preferred seasons for visiting the park, we went on an overcast morning in June which worked out great for us.
The area is home to a variety of different wildlife, including many species of lizards and snakes, coyote, spotted skunk, kit fox and black tailed jackrabbit. The park is also home to the desert tortoise which is a rare species and protected by state law.
While most of the wildlife in the area are nocturnal creatures, I still recommend taking precautions since the park is home to rattle snakes which are poisonous.
Fortunately I didn’t run into any snakes, but I managed to see a black tailed jackrabbit and several lizards!
The park was not busy when we went on a weekday morning which made it great for taking photos.
What to pack / wear
I highly recommend wearing a comfortable pair of shoes if you plan on doing any hiking. Hiking however, is not recommended when there is an excessive heat warning — there are warning signs posted around the park.
I suggest bringing a backpack with plenty of water available and to wear sunscreen. It’s also important to wear a hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun.
There are many things to see and do at Valley of Fire so plan to spend at least 3-4 hours here. I suggest grabbing a map at the visitor center (if you didn’t receive one at the entrance) to get an idea of what you want to explore during your visit.
We drove from sight to sight, stopping along the way at different vista points throughout the park. These were some of my favourite sights:
These sandstone formations are an excellent representation of geologic cross bedding. Each layer of bed represents the different layers of silt that were deposited at different times.
Over time, the rock has weakened which allows for the natural arch that you see today. Eventually it will grow too large to support itself and collapse.
This is one of the most popular spots for photos in the park. I recommend getting here early as several tour buses were already lined up when we arrived.
This was the only hike we had time for during our visit. It’s a moderate loop that takes around 30-45 minutes to complete.
One of the great aspects about this hike is the diversity of the scenery. You’ll be treated to sweeping desert vistas, beautifully colored rocks, canyons, caves and the remains of the set for the 1966 movie, The Professionals.
Fire Canyon / Silica Dome
One of the most beautiful spots in the park, the change from white to red at the base of the dome is a result of small quantities of iron in the rock producing a rust-like stain.
If you look closely, you’ll see an arch in the shape of an elephant.
I took this photo from the road, but it’s best to stop in the parking lot nearby and a hike a short distance to reach the formation.
Over to you — have you been to Valley of Fire State Park before?
My must-have Valley of Fire accessories:
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