If you’re heading to Vegas, Nevada, or driving through, or somewhere within an hour or 2, do yourself a favor and make a stop in this red rock canyon hidden in the hills 45 minutes north of Vegas. It doesn’t take long to make your way through Valley of fire and see some of the main sights if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, but if you do there is plenty to explore.
A plethora of history lives within this state park, and its clearly underrated as Ive been going through this area since I was a kid and it wasnt till our most recent trip this past year to Arizona that I realized this place even existed. You take a 2-lane highway from the main freeway about 20 mins on a winding desert road and the beautiful red rock that lies ahead stays a mystery until you round the last corner through the SP gates where you finally see the mars like landscape in the distance.
Valley of Fire State Park is nearly 46,000 acres of red sandstone formations which the state park derives its name from. The Aztec Sandstone was formed from shifting sand dunes nearly 150 million years ago. These features, which are the centerpiece of the park’s attractions, often appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun’s rays. It is Nevada’s oldest state park, as commemorated with Nevada Historical Marker#150. It was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1968.
As all state and federal parks you must pay a fee to enter the park there is always the opportunity to buy a year pass to the area as well if you plan to visit more than once it is defintley worth it.
We only explored the areas close by the road as we were tight on time and it was already late afternoon in the fall. But if you have the time take a hike, see the sandstone, beehive structures and touch the petriglyphs that line the walls. Stay the night! there was a campground in the park I wish I had stayed the night to explore further.
If your looking for a full day after you drive through Valley of Fire head over to Lake Mead for boating, swimming, fishing etc. and if your heading towards Arizona like I was then visit the iconic Hoover Dam on your way.