Where? About an hour outside of Las Vegas in Overton, Nevada. Super easy to find, so I won’t give directions.
Located at 36.46374 -114.52386 29450 Valley of Fire Highway Overton, NV 89040
What’s to see there? Tons of beautiful rock formations, mostly red, but also white, orange, yellow and purple. It’s a desert and a lot of the scenery can start looking the same, but it’s beautiful if you’ve never been.
Cool things to see: Once you approach the park, you’ll take a right and park a hundred yards up on the right and see Elephant rock. You can actually see elephant rock from the road, which was a little disappointing to me. There is a pay box in this parking lot and a frame that you can stand in to take your pic that says “Valley of Fire State Park”.
You can walk around and explore this area as far as you would like, but when you get back into your car, you can continue around a “loop” of sorts that will wind you through the park. Here’s a link to their map which we found to be very helpful. http://parks.nv.gov/forms/Valley_of_Fire_Map_1_SE_HWY_162_NET_otln_reduced_2014-02-10.pdf
We went on the White Domes trail. It’s beautiful and if you go in the late afternoon 4 or later, you will catch the shade for most of the hike. It’s only a 1 mile loop, or you can veer off on some other trails for a more lengthy half or full day hike, but this would have to be started at the beginning of the day. Prospect is the name of one of the 4.6 mile trails on this loop that I can attest to being beautiful. There is a small slot canyon on the 1 mile loop that you don’t want to miss! It takes you through a dry creek bed that fills quickly during a flash flood (check the weather). I could have walked this for days. It winds you through domes and huge rock features and gives way to some exceptional views that you can’t see from the road.
Rainbow vista trail is also a must see. It’s the first time this southern girl had ever seen a purple rock. There’s lot of reds, pinks and oranges, but the purple really stands out and it’s worth seeing if you’ve never seen this before. This is a quick, easy trail, but you’re walking in loose sand the whole time so it’s like you’re walking on the beach, but there’s no water so you better bring your own.
Fire Wave is my favorite and I don’t see it on their map, but you will see a sign for it after Rainbow Vista and before White Domes. Park on the right and the trail is to your left. The trail forks. Stay to the left and you will see it within a mile. The trails are marked with these heavy concrete markers that sit on the ground and part of the trail is marked with a metal marker with 3 feet of rocks piled around it. It’s an interesting site to see when you’re used to seeing blaze markers on trees. There are no trees here, only small, dried out bushes, white lizards and dried up stream beds.
Why go? If you are in or near Vegas, it’s such a nice change or pace. We went during the afternoon on a July day and we saw 3 other people on 1 trail, 2 people on another and zero on the last trail. It’s the craziest thing. I can’t believe this place wasn’t packed. We saw 5-6 cars at Elephant rock, but other than that, nothing was crowded.