What Can You Do At The Valley Of Fire
There are a number of outdoor activities including hiking, camping, and wildlife sightseeing . There are red sandstone formations, petrified trees, and petroglyphs dating back over 2,000 years. The Visitor Center includes exhibits on geology and the history of the park. There’s also an annual Atlatl Competition if you happen to be around when it’s going on.
Valley Of Fire Weather
While winter temperatures range from freezing to 75 degrees,Valley of Fire State Park weatherover the summer often has highs exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer temperatures may vary from hot during the day to cool at night, so check the forecast and be prepared for the degree range. Annual rainfall averages four inches.
Valley Of Fire Entrance Fee
Valley of Fire is open from sunrise to sunset daily, and the entrance fee is $10 per car per day. This is often self-pay with envelopes if no one is staffed at the front gate, so make sure you have the exact amount in cash. If youre camping, its $20. This includes the $10 entrance fee to the park. Make sure you first drive into the campground and get the camping self-pay envelopes, otherwise youll end up double paying.
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History Of Valley Of Fire State Park Established In 1935
Valley of Fire consists of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone mountains. The sandstone is from the Jurassic period and is the remnant of the sand left behind by the wind after inland seas subsided and the land rose. Early man moved into southern Nevada as far back as 11,000 years ago. The most obvious evidence of occupation is the petroglyphs carved into the rocks by the Basketmaker culture about 2,500 years ago, followed later by the Early Pueblo culture. Paiutes were living in this area in 1865 when Mormons settled at nearby St. Thomas at the south end of the Moapa Valley. Farming, ranching and mining occurred in the region along a narrow stretch of water.
Valley Of Fire State Park History
Ancient petroglyphs were carved into red sandstone rock formations at Valley of Fire State Parka remnant from the Ancestral Puebloans living in and around the modern-day Moapa Valley area 2,500 years ago. By the mid-1860s, Mormon missionaries settled St. Thomas, where they began ranching, farming, and mining in the region. Interestingly enough, St. Thomas was flooded by the waters of Lake Mead during Hoover Dam construction in the early 1930s.
In 1931, a transfer of 8,760 acres of federal land to the state of Nevada began the creation of Valley of Fire State Park. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the park from 1933 through the early 1940s, making campgrounds, stone cabins, trails, and roads. The park opened in 1934 and was officially designated Valley of Fire State Park in 1935, becoming Nevadas first state park.
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Valley Of Fire State Park
write a reviewReviews
This Nevada State Park is definitely worth checking out. There is a $10 daily entry fee / $10 camping fee/ $10 water& electric for a limited number of sites. A dump site is available. Bathrooms were very clean. Showers cost $0.25 for five minutes. The park has great rock formations, with some fun hikes, both short and longer. Even if you don’t hike, it is worth the drive and overnight. There is an informative visitor’s center. If you have a dog and tag team your entrance to the visitor’s center, there is a shaded area in the back of the building. Leashed dogs are allowed on the hiking trails.Stayed here in a 25′ motor home, 30 amp electrical. We plan to visit again.
Incredibly gorgeous campgrounds. First come, first served, no reservations. There are two, Arch Rock & Atlatl. There are 72 sites. There are some E/W sites in Atlatl but I’m not sure how many. Some of the sites are really nestled back into the rocks. If you need cell phone service, AT& T did not work for me in most of the CG. And T-Mobile was a no-go as well. Friends reported Verizon did work. If the campgrounds are full as happens often, there is good boondocking approx 3 miles north of the intersection of Valley of Fire Rd & Northshore Drive. It’s a huge mesa on the right as you’re heading north to Overton and is referred to as “Poverty Flats” or “Snowbird Mesa”. Great AT& T service there.
|Worth the Stop
Valley Of Fire Wildlife
Because of the areas warm summer temperatures and its rock and desert topography, most of the animals that live in and around Valley of Fire are nocturnal. Snakes, lizards, coyotes, bobcats, badgers, fox, jackrabbits, skunks, and antelope ground squirrels all reside in Valley of Fire State Park. Its rare to see a desert tortoise, as they burrow underground for protection from the sun and cold. If youre lucky, youll see Nevadas state animal, the Desert Bighorn Sheep!
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Important Information To Plan Your Visit:
- The Valley of Fire State Park is open from sunrise to sunset: So arrive early to take advantage of all the light. Just an hour drive north of Las Vegas, get your day started before the sun to get there when the park opens.
- The entrance fee is $10 per car per day. If you are planning on camping then it will be $20, this includes the $10 entrance fee and the spot on the campground. If you have a National Park Pass, it does NOT apply to any state parks.
- Valley of Fire is dog friendly: All hikes allow dogs on a 6-foot leash.
- Dress Appropriately for the Weather: Several of the hikes, especially the Fire Wave offer little to no shade at all. At the same time, some of the hikes with shade can be quite cool, especially in the non-summer months. We would recommend wearing a breathable long sleeve shirt to protect from the sun with a light sweater during the cooler months.
- Bring sunglasses, hats, comfortable shoes and sunscreen.
- Start Early To Beat The Sun: Do as much hiking early in the day or later in the afternoon to avoid the hot sun. We visited in October and around lunch time the heat was too much for us to hike more than 10 minutes at a time.
- Stay Hydrated and Bring Snacks: With the warm sun and a full day ahead of you, it is important to bring along plenty of water and snacks. Even though each hike might sound short and easy, the warm sun and sandy air will keep you looking for water the entire time.
The Highlights If You Only Have A Few Hours In Valley Of Fire State Park
We spent the better part of two days and camped overnight in the park, but heres a quick itinerary if youre passing through and only have a few hours.
If you enter on the west side of the park , start with the Beehive Rocks , and then enter the Campground Road loop. Just off the road you can stop at Atlatl Rock which is covered with the most well-preserved petroglyphs Ive ever seen, see the Arch Rock , and then search around for the Fire Cave if youre up for some exploring.
Many of the hikes in Valley of Fire are only about a mile or two and pretty easy, so Id squeeze in at least two if you have the time and its not scorching outside. Drive up Mouses Tank Road where practically every view could be called scenic, including a shot of the road itself. Some of the best hikes are along this road, including trails to the Fire Wave, the White Domes trail, and the short walk through the Pink Canyon.
If you want more details on these scenic spots and hikes, keep reading below this map of Valley of Fire State Park.
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Campground Regulations At A Glance
Seasonal Closures: Atlatl Rock campground is open year-round. Arch Rock campground closes in the slower season which is typically from mid-June to September.
Reservations: All of the campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. You cannot make reservations.
Fees: There is a $10 park entrance fee to visit Valley of Fire and an additional $20 camping fee. Campsites with electric hookups are $30.
Water: Both campsites have potable water.
Bathrooms: Atlatl Rock Campground has flush toilets and showers. Arch Rock campground has vault toilets and no showers.
RV Camping: Atlatl Rock Campground is designed to accommodate large RV campers. Some pull-through sites can fit campers up to 35 feet! 25 of the sites have electric hookups. There are also dump stations at both campgrounds.
Cell Phone Service: Cell coverage is spotty throughout the park. You can purchase WiFi plans by the hour by the day through the park visitor center but it is expensive.
Pets: Leashed pets are allowed in Valley of Fire campgrounds and on the hiking trails throughout the park. Keep in mind the sand can get very hot in the summer months so youll want to cover your pets paws and bring plenty of water for both you and the dog.
What To Do On Your Visit To Valley Of Fire State Park
The two itineraries listed below are packed full. The park is not too large, so you can tackle a good amount in a half or full day. If you have the time, spending a night or two will let you slow down and really explore all this amazing park has to offer.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE ½ DAY
1) Drive Valley of Fire Highway and White Domes Road in their entirety
The scenery from these two roads is phenomenal. Valley of Fire Highway is the road you will be on when entering the park from either entrance. The highway is 7 miles between the west and east gates. In the middle of the park White Domes Road makes a T intersection with the Valley of Fire Highway and the Visitor Center is situated there. White Domes Road is 5.7 miles long and comes to a dead-end at the White Domes Trailhead.
2) Visit the Silica Dome / Fire Canyon viewpoint
To get to this viewpoint turn onto White Domes Road and travel 2 miles. Turn right onto Fire Canyon Road and the viewpoint is at the end of the road.
3) Hike EITHER the Fire Wave Trail or the White Domes trail
The Fire Wave is 1.5 miles and White Domes is 1.2 miles. Plan to hike earlier in the morning when it is cooler and when there are fewer people. See my full post on the best hikes in Valley of Fire for details.
The Fire Wave
The slot canyon in the White Domes Loop
4) View petroglyphs along the Mouses Tank hike
Along this short and flat 0.7-mile hike you can search the canyon walls for petroglyphs over 4,000 years old.
5) Drive the Scenic Loop Road
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Getting To Valley Of Firefrom Las Vegas In Nevada
Southern Nevada visitors will find Valley of Fire State Park about 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas and about 20 minutes from Lake Mead via I-15 and State Route 169.. Once in the park, visitors will have no trouble navigating because theres only one main road . The road is also called the Valley of Fire Scenic Byway, and at just under 11 miles, it connects both the east and west entrances of Valley of Fire State Park.
Weather In Valley Of Fire State Park: The Highs And Lows Of The Desert
Valley of Fire is in the Mojave Desert, which means it comes with all the weather extremes associated with a desert climate. If youre in Vegas during the middle of the summer for all the pool parties, you might want to opt for an early morning or evening visit. Summer temps peak over 100°F in the summers, while winter lows are in the 30s. The best times to visit are spring and fall when the days are in the 70s and 80s.
Since Valley of Fire is a desert, it doesnt receive a lot of rain over the year but can get some pretty big storms. Summer is when big thunderstorms usually hit, but we camped overnight in October during a huge thunder and rainstorm. We practically had a river running underneath our tent and the storm washed out some of the road resulting in part of the park being closed down the next day for repairs.
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How Do You Get To The Fire Wave
You get to Fire Wave in Valley of Fire by Fire Wave Trail, which is near the end of Mouse’s Tank / White Domes Road, after Pastel Canyon Trail but before the White Domes Trail. Park in Parking Lot #3 on the left the trail will be across the road to the right. Fire Wave trail is 1.5 miles round trip and includes about 200 ft of elevation change.
Valley Of Fire Rv Camping
RV camping at Valley of Fire is available at the Atlatl Rock Campground. Sites 23-44 can fit RVs, trailers, and motorhomes up to 35 feet long, so you should be fine. These sites have electric hookups, and youll find a dump station at the campsites entrance.
Valley of Fire RV camping
Be aware that there is a $10 nightly charge for using the utility hookups.
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See The Valley Of Fires Petroglyph Hikes
Atlatl Rock Hike
Atlatl Rock is another ultra-accessible and wondrous site in Valley of Fire that features amazing examples of prehistoric petroglyphs. Atlatl is a tool used to launch a spear, and ancient Indians carved symbols of the atlatl in the sandstone located at Atlatl Rock.
Distance: 0.1 miles round tripDifficulty: Beginner
Mouses Tank Hike
If youre interested in seeing more petroglyphs in Valley of Fire, dont miss a hike to Mouses Tank, which is a natural rock basin in a canyon where rainwater collects. You can hike from the trailhead to Mouses Tank and back and see prehistoric petroglyphs along the trail.
Distance: 0.7 miles round tripDifficulty: Beginner
Pastel Canyon Aka Pink Canyon
Classifying this as a hike is a bit of a stretch since its only a 10-minute walk, but this small canyon with pastel pink walls is one of the prettiest spots in the park. Theres a spot for two cars to pull off the road and park thats right in front of this unmarked trail . After walking through the canyon, scramble up some of the walls to get a view from above.
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Driving Through The Valley Of Fire
Driving through Valley of Fire State Park is simple enough as the main road, Valley of Fire Road, cuts right through the park from the west entrance to the east entrance. Mouse’s Tank / White Domes Road juts north from the main road about halfway through and ends at White Domes Trail. There are parking lots at all the major sites and a Visitors Center just off of the beginning of Mouse’s Tank / White Domes Road. Entrance fee is $10 per vehicle. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash when outside the vehicle.
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Valley Of Fire Campground Map
Thats it for this Valley of Fire State Park camping guide! To make planning easier, I have a Valley of Fire campground map, which includes the Atlatl Rock and Arch Rock campsites, as well as the backcountry sites I mentioned.
Now you should be ready to plan your Valley of Fire camping trip! I hope you found this guide helpful and that you enjoy your time in this beautiful area. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below. Have a safe trip!
Getting To Valley Of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is located 1 hour from the North end of Las Vegas. If you are in Las Vegas and can get away for at least half a day it is worth it!
The most direct route is to travel north on I-15 from Las Vegas and enter the park from the west side. For a more scenic option, you can drive through Lake Mead National Recreation Area and enter the park from the east side. Entering through Lake Mead adds 30 minutes to the drive and there is a $20 fee to enter the National Recreation Area , but the scenery and drive itself is far more interesting than I-15. I would recommend entering the park from one side and exiting from the other for the best of both worlds.
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