Another one of our favorite local outdoor spots can be found just an hour away from the Las Vegas strip. Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. The distance somehow throws people off because it is a bit of a drive from the strip but I’m here to assure you that your effort will be rewarded as it is bigger and has more geological rock formations than Red Rock Canyon. I’ve only been here twice and I enjoyed every minute of it.
- Mouse’s Tank-0.75 miles RT
- Rainbow Vista-1 mile RT
- Fire Wave-1.25 miles RT
- White Domes-1.25 miles RT
- Elephant Rock-0.25 miles RT
arch rock and atlatl rock:
From the West Entrance station, you can access the Arch Rock and the Atlatl Rock by turning left on the Scenic loop road. The Arch Rock is not really a hike but rather a quick stop. It’s not as big as the actual Arches in Utah so don’t expect much. The Atlatl Rock has interesting indian rock art or petrogylphs that can be seen by climbing metal steps. After you’ve gone through the loop, you can head straight for about 4 miles to the Visitor’s Center. From here, the road takes you to several POI, which includes the Mouse’s Tank, Rainbow Vista, Fire Wave and White Domes. I’ve done most of the hikes here except for White Domes.
Mouse’s Tank is a natural basin in the rock where water collects after each rainfall. It is named after an Indian renegade “Little Mouse” who used Valley of Fire as a hideout in the 1890’s. This is a nice, short hike suitable for all ages.
The Rainbow Vista offers a beautiful panoramic view of multicolored rocks. It’s a great contrast from the red sandstones and cliffs that can be seen all throughout the park.
The star attraction and what I consider as the most stunning feature of the park can’t be found in the brochure/map. The Fire Wave is popular to hikers and photographers but sometimes it can be difficult to find. The trailhead can be found about 4 miles from the Visitor Center. You can start by heading towards Mouse’s Tanks and White Domes. Once you pass Rainbow Vista, you will find Parking Lot #3, park your car and cross the road. Here you will find a sign that says “Fire Wave”. The trail is marked with reflective posts and it will lead you straight to your destination.
Per usual, the best time to hike this is in the cooler months, but if you choose to do it during the summer, early morning and late afternoon hikes are a must as this doesn’t have any shade along the trail. What I like most about this hike is that it is a short and easy hike but at the same time it gives you a nice reward at the end. This is definitely a unique sight and a few photos just won’t do it. You can take photos at different angles and still capture the beautiful swirls in the sandstone. It’s one of my absolute favorites!
Elephant Rock is the last POI that is located near the East Entrance station. The rock formation can be seen right next to the road. You can either park at the side of the road or you can access this via the Arrowhead trail at a nearby parking lot.
If the strip is getting too crowded for you, hit the road to your perfect little getaway at Valley of Fire.
Have you been to Valley of Fire?
Did you love the Fire Wave as much as I did?
Let me know in the comments section below.
– Always wear comfortable shoes. Hiking shoes are the obvious choice but running shoes will do.
– Stay hydrated! Summer in Las Vegas is no joke! Bring a small backpack that can hold 2-3 bottles of water or better yet you can purchase a hydration pack. I purchased mine at a nearby REI.
– Protect yourself from the glaring sun at all times. Don’t forget to put sunblock 30 minutes before you head out and reapply every 2 hours.
-Attire: I usually wear a dry fit top and leggings. A hat and sunglasses are must haves too! Just in case, bring a windbreaker jacket.
– Snacks! I know this can be overlooked sometimes but it’s good to have some sort of sustenance. I usually pack protein bars and beef jerky (Please make sure not to leave any trash).
*The best time to hike is around the cooler months but if you find yourself in Vegas during the summer, make sure you do the hikes as early as possible to beat the heat!
Valley of Fire:
29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV 89040
Open year round from dawn to dusk
Private Vehicle- $10.00
(Nevada residents-$2.00 off)
Camping Fee: $20.00 per night plus $10.00 per night for utility hook-ups
(Nevada residents-$2.00 off)
For additional info regarding fees, facilities and park rules and regulation
please visit their website at:
Very nice and interesting post which is different ans is about the other side of Las Vegas. The photos are stunning and I especially liked the Elephant Rock.
Mary Gramley says
Lovely suggestions for an easy ride from Las Vegas. After the Valley of Fire, we went to the town of Overton. Had lunch at a restaurant called “SUGARS” – food delicious, so we were content for the ride back to Vegas.