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Valley of Fire State Park

Las Vegas + Southern Nevada, Nevada

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Valley of Fire State Park
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  • Driving White Mounds Road in Valley of Fire is like visiting another planet!- Valley of Fire State Park
  • The main park road reveals the unreal colors of the landscape.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • The rocks of Valley of Fire rise up out of the green desert like Martian mountains.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • The Cabins were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and were once used by campers.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • Petroglyphs are high on the rocks along the trail to Mouse's Tank.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • Elephant Rock is a popular feature and doesn't require a long hike.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • A bit of rock scrambling reveals a new perspective.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • Wind caves and arches are scattered throughout the park.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • The variety of colors in the landscape is amazing.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • The White Mounds Loop hike has scenery unlike any other in the park.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • The Fire Wave is a unique and popular hike.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • The Fire Wave feature was a secret of the park rangers until 2013.- Valley of Fire State Park
  • For those fortunate enough to camp in Valley of Fire, the reward might be a sunrise like this one.- Valley of Fire State Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Short drive from Las Vegas. Beautiful scenery. Many short hikes. Great campgrounds.
Cons: 
Not open between sunset and sunrise except for campers.
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Region:
Las Vegas + Southern Nevada, NV
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Established in 1935, the 42,000-acre Valley of Fire was Nevada's first state park, and it is still the state's largest. Just an hour's drive from Las Vegas, the park provides outstanding recreational opportunities for campers and day use visitors alike.

Valley of Fire highway winds roughly east from I-15, and as the visitor heads over the last small pass, the startling red rock formations come into view. Pushing up from the green desert floor, these hills of rock dominate the landscape. The park is simple to navigate, fairly compact, and many of the finest features are accessible with short hikes. There are three main areas: the campground area and scenic loop drive, the main park road, and White Mounds Road, which is a 5-mile dead end spur road.

The park's two campgrounds are Atlatl Rock and Arch Rock. Atlatl is best for RVs and those who want a lot of room. Arch Rock has narrow roads and smaller sites but more privacy, especially on the back loop. There are also three group camping areas. Surrounding the campgrounds is a 2-mile scenic drive, which is a great introduction to the rock formations typical of the park. The petroglyphs on Atlatl rock are a highlight of this loop. 

The first stop on the main park road should be the visitor center, which has excellent exhibits on the geology and natural history of the park. Past the visitor center you'll find the Seven Sisters picnic area, the Cabins (built for campers by the CCC in the 1930s and now just a historic relic), and the interesting formation called Elephant Rock. These can all be taken in on a short drive.

The most interesting and varied destinations are on the White Mounds Road. Mouse's Tank is a short canyon walk exhibiting fine petroglyphs on the walls and an interesting history of outlaws in the 1890s. Rainbow Vista is a one-hour walk down another canyon to a view of Fire Canyon. The Fire Canyon side road is a good short drive to view more canyon scenery. The Fire Wave Trailhead is further up the road and is an outstanding short hike to see a very unique and beautiful rock formation. At the end of the road is the White Mounds Trail, which is often crowded and which offers a different type of rock scenery in addition to a terrific slot canyon to explore.

Whether you are here for a day trip or a longer stay in the campground, Valley of Fire is a gem of a park that is little known outside of the Las Vegas area but well-worth the short drive off the interstate.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(15 within a 30 mile radius)

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