Valley of Fire State Park

 

This is a 42,000 acre state park that sits just 55 miles outside Las Vegas on I-15 north towards Zion National Park and it was our first stop on our spring break road trip to Supai.  It was Nevada’s first state park and gets its name from the red sandstone formations that evolved over 150 million years ago from sand dunes.  There are hiking trails, roadside stops, campgrounds and picnic areas, in addition to a visitor’s center.

 

It was a $10 fee to get into the park and well worth it, even if you only have time for a hike or two.  We explored the visitor center and two hikes within the park.  We weren’t going to have time to put in for the Wave this trip and this area satisfied our desire to see some of the striated rock popular in the southwest.

If you stop by the visitor center (open 8:30-4:30pm), you can ask a ranger about hikes in the park and find one that is best for you.  We saw and heard multiple people starting out on the ones that we had picked without any clue as to the length or difficulty of where they were headed.  You can also see a balancing rock formation up close just a short path up from the center!  There are bathrooms and a place to fill you water bottle, as well.

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The first hike we did is up 5.5 miles at the end of the road: White Domes.  It is a 1.25 mile loop through a slot canyon and sandstone formations that offers a few places to climb up for better views. 

There is also a bathroom and shaded picnic area.  You do hike DOWN in the beginning, so be prepared for steeper, uneven rocky steps in the sand that need careful footfall so as not to slip. 

The ground is fairly level for the rest of the hike and the climb back around to the car more gradual.  Although there is a bit of shade to start off with, do not expect it for most of the walk.

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Our second hike was the Fire Wave Trail.  The parking lot is first one down from White Dome and the trail begins on the opposite side across the road.  This 1.2 mile round trip trail was exposed the whole time, so plan for sun protection and water. 

You start out on sand but eventually the rest of the hike is on sandstone.  There are a few park markers to direct you, so look for those to get you to the wave formation at the end of the path. 

I could not get enough of the different ways the rock swirls and the colors changed as the sun lowered in the sky.  We had fun taking pictures of our shadows! 

We explored a little more past the end of the trail, doing our best to stay on durable surfaces (rock) so as not to disturb the environment.  Overall we were at the park about 4 hours, including several bathroom stops and sitting to eat lunch.

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So, the next time you are headed out of Las Vegas towards Zion or Bryce, make a stop at Valley of Fire.  The park is open sunrise to sunset; go early to avoid being out in higher temperatures or later to get those great sunset pictures.  Whether to picnic or get out and stretch those legs on a hike, it will be worth your time!

I wrote more about our experience at the park in my post, Spring Break Road Trip: Day 1, Fire Wave, 4 Wheeling In A Subcompact and My First Night Ever Cowboy Camping.

Valley of Fire State Park is located at:              

29450 Valley of Fire Road

Overton, NV 89040                            

(702) 397-2088

Take exit 75 off I-15 from Las Vegas

They are also on Facebook

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