This guide covers all the information you should know about the beautiful Valley of Fire State park. It includes the scenic spots, tips before your visit and a list of the best hikes in the Valley of Fire.
Valley of Fire State Park is not to be missed while visiting Las Vegas. It is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park located an hour drive north of the city, about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Valley of Fire makes the perfect day trip from Las Vegas if you want to enjoy nature while you are in the city of sin. This is a popular place to witness the brightly colored sandstone formations, the iconic fire wave and thousands of years of human history.
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Valley of Fire is a small park but with many hiking trails and interesting rock formations. We recommend to spend the whole day exploring and hiking around the state park. It is best if you come early to avoid the heat and the sun. The majority of the park’s best panoramic views and highlights are along the two main roads that run through the park.
Get your hiking shoes ready for best day trip from Las Vegas at the Valley of Fire State Park.
What to do in Valley of Fire State Park in one day Travel Video:
How to get to Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas?
Valley of Fire State Park is located 50 miles (1 hour) northeast of Las Vegas. The best way to get to Valley of Fire from Las Vegas is by driving on I-15 and entering the park from the west side.
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.
How is the weather in Valley of Fire State Park?
The State Park is in the Mojave Desert. During the Summer temps peak over 100°F (38°C). It can get dangerously hot during the day. While in Winter lows are in the 30s at night and between 50’s – 60’s during daytime. We recommend visiting Valley of Fire between the months of October and April, when the days are in the 70s and 80s. In the Summer is also when the big thunderstorms hit, that is something to have in consideration as well.
Valley of Fire State Park Scenic Drive Map
What to do in Valley of Fire in one day
The Valley of Fire has several hikes of varying lengths throughout the park. Arriving early in the morning, you can easily complete everything the park has to offer in one day. We have added an asterisk (*) on our favorite hikes.
The first thing you need to do at the Valley of Fire State park is drive the Scenic Valley of Fire Road that goes across the park. This 10 miles Nevada Scenic Byway connects the west and the east entrances of the park.
Hiking Through Valley of Fire State Park:
The beehives will be the first thing you will see after entering the West Entrance Gate. This huge orange rocks are an unusual sandstone formation that look like, as you might guess, giant beehives! It needs to be the first stop you make and do not even worry about parking as there is plenty of parking spots. Make sure to spend sometime taking unbelievable photos.
Fire Wave Trail*
We recommend driving straight to the Fire Wave, a unique slickrock with interchanging streaks of beige and red-orange colored sandstone that takes the shape of a wave. This iconic hike is probably the reason you are visiting the park and can get unbearably hot in the middle of the day. Heading there first things means cooler temperatures and fewer people in the photos!
The trail is easy and there are several trail markers along the way.
The Wave is a 1.5 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 180 feet. It can take from 45 to 60 minutes. It is an easy hike.
➳ Trailhead location: From the visitor center, take White Domes Road/Mouse’s Tank Road into the park for 4.7 miles. Park in parking lot #3. The trailhead is across the street from the parking lot.
White Domes Trail*
The White Domes is the second best hike in valley of Fire. The 1 mile hike takes you passed many interesting rock formations with beautiful contrasting colors. You even get to walk through a small slot canyon. The start of the trail takes you between two large rocks and you get an impressive and colorful view of the canyon below you.
➳ Tip: The best time to visit is during sunrise.
The 1.2 mile loop hike with an elevation gain of 150 feet takes between 30 to 45 minutes. It is considered an easy hike.
➳ Trailhead location: From the visitor center, take White Domes Road/Mouse’s Tank Road into the park for 5.6 miles until the road dead-ends at the parking lot for the While Domes Loop.
Rainbow Vista is a panoramic viewpoint that gives you a great photo of the multicolored sandstone across the landscape.The Rainbow Vista is a 1 mile roundtrip hike with a 90 feet elevation gain. It takes between 45-60 minutes and it is considered an easy hike.
➳ Tip: The sunset views at Rainbow Vista are absolutely incredible. If you are trying to get “the” photo of the road that runs through the park, we recommend to take the photo on your way out after passing the Rainbow Vista parking area, the road bends to the right and begins to descend into a canyon and right there is a gravel pull-off that is large enough to pull over.
➳ Trailhead location: From the visitor center, take White Domes Road/ Mouse’s Tank Road into the park for 1.8 miles. The parking lot will be the second parking area you encounter and will be on the right.
(*) Mouse’s Tank
Mouse’s Tank is the most interesting hike in the Valley of Fire. This short trail passes by numerous prehistoric petroglyphs on the surrounding rock faces.
It is a 0.7 miles roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 45 feet. It takes between 20-30 minutes and it is considered an easy hike.
➳ Trailhead location: From the visitor center, take White Domes Road into the park for 1.1 miles. The parking lot will be the first parking area you encounter and will be on the right.
The Seven Sisters rock formation is a fascinating set of seven red rocks seemingly jutting out of the barren ground. There are many shaded picnic tables making this the perfect spot for lunch.
Cabins / Lone Rock
Take a glimpse back to the start of the state park with the original stone cabins built for hikers in the 1930s.
Just a short walk from the parking lot, elephant rock is where you can bring your imagination to life. It is surprising how much a simple rock formation can invoke the image of a giant elephant! You can see the rock formation from the main road, but I highly encourage you to get our of the car and hike for .5 miles to see this stunning masterpiece.
It is a 0.3 miles hike to the elephant rock (roundtrip) or 1.2 miles (loop) with an elevation gain of 50 feet. It takes between 5-10 minutes to the elephant rock viewpoint, and 30-45 minutes for the full loop. It is considered an easy hike.
➳ Trailhead location: Parking lot just inside the East entrance to the park.
Take a photo of the best example of petroglyphs in the park on the massive balancing Atlatl Rock. To get to the petroglyphs you will have to hike up the stairs.
For the last stop of the day, witness a small sandstone arch. As a great photo opportunity it just a quick stop off the road. It might not be the coolest arch in the world, but it is still worth seeing it.
➳ Note: Do not clim to the arch or on top of it. Rock Arches are delicate as they can collapse pretty easily.
Camping at Valley of Fire State Park
While you can do everything in the park in one long day, there is also the option to do it over two days at a more relaxed pace. Valley of Fire offers 72 camping spots on a first come first serve basis. The spots normally fill up by lunchtime, so you have to make a decision when you arrive.
Camping costs $20 per spot with shaded tables, grills, water and restrooms.
See our complete trip with many more photos and behind the scenes videos on our TraveLibro account.
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