For anyone planning a trip to Las Vegas, I have a new bucket list item to add to your list: a day trip to Valley of Fire!
Most visitors looking for a taste of Nevada’s outdoors choose Red Rock Canyon which is a short 30-minute drive from the Vegas Strip, but if you’re willing to drive just an hour outside of Las Vegas, you’ll reach Valley of Fire State Park, which without exaggeration, is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen!
Located in the Mojave Desert, this park is home to red sandstone boulders and landscapes in warm shades of tan, sienna, and firebrick. The views are sprinkled with bushes that stubbornly defy the temperatures, and winding roads allow you to leisurely enjoy the scenery that rises up before you.
Valley of Fire is a desert dreamscape and here are a few photos to show you just that!
One of the giant boulders that makes up the Seven Sisters.
A wall of red sandstone rising up before the road.
Valley of Fire stamp: check!
The views looking back from Rainbow Vista.
Sam photographing the boulders.
Natural cave formations at Valley of Fire.
Red on red on red.
Hikers scrambling up to the lookout point at Rainbow Vista.
Warm desert shades as far as the eye can see.
Soaking in that desert sunshine because it was still winter back home.
We kept pulling over for photos every few meters.
Enjoying the views from one of the many lookout points.
The winding roads are perfect for a day of cruising.
Suffice it to say we didn’t want to leave!
Places to visit in Valley of Fire
There are quite a few points of interest in Valley of Fire ranging from natural rock formations to panoramic lookout points. We tried to hit as many as we could, but here’s a full list in case you’re looking to tick them all off:
- Arch Rock – a rock arch formed by millennia of strong winds and rain
- Atlatl Rock – this is where you can see petroglyphs
- Beehives – shaped like round hives with grooved lines all around
- Balanced Rock – the top rock looks like it’s barely holding on
- Elephant Rock – looks like an elephant with a huge trunk
- Fire Canyon/Silica Dome – you can see the rock change from white to red
- Mouse’s Tank – basin in the rock where rainwater collects
- Petrified Logs – logs from ancient pine trees
- Rainbow Vista – beautiful lookout point with views of coloured rocks
- White Domes – scenic loop with paler colours
- Seven Sisters – a group of seven tall, red boulders
- The Cabins – a series of historic cabins built for travellers in the 1930s
A few tips for your visit
- Have proper footwear. Some of the trails are quite sandy while others are rocky with loose gravel, so you’ll need some grip. I wore my new pair of Tevas and they were great.
- Bring water and snacks. There are plenty of picnic spots scattered around the park complete with benches and shade awnings, so it’s very easy to have a meal there. If you forget to bring supplies, you can stop at the Visitor Center where they sell sandwiches, pasta salads, snacks and beverages.
- Get your passport stamped. Outside the Visitor Center there is a grey box, where you can get a Valley of Fire stamp in your passport. This was my fourth non-country stamp – I’ve also collected stamps at Machu Picchu, Rapa Nui and Checkpoint Charlie!
- Bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Needless to say, it gets hot in the desert and it’s easy to burn so make sure you protect your skin.
- Check the temperatures before you visit. I visited in early spring and it was already getting really hot by midday. If you visit during the summer months, you may want to plan your visit for the early morning or late afternoon when the midday heat is starting to subside.
This post is a result of the Nevada blog trip created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Expedia and TravelNevada. As always, I maintain full editorial control of the content published here.