Nevada North America United States

How to Visit the Stunning Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada

Located just one hour from Las Vegas in Nevada, the Valley of Fire State Park is an “Adventure in Color”, offering unparalleled panoramic vistas, scenic drives, hiking trails, petroglyphs, and more!

It’s a great destination for any Southwest U.S. road trip or a day trip from Las Vegas.

Table of Contents

    Valley of Fire State Park History

    Established in 1935, the Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. It hosts more than 40,000 acres of red Aztec sandstone formations. According to the Nevada State Parks website, “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.” How neat is that?!

    When the sun hits the rocks just right, especially at sunrise and sunset, it looks like they’re on fire, giving the park its name, “the Valley of Fire”. 

    How to Get to Valley of Fire State Park

    Valley of Fire State Park entrance

    We visited Valley of Fire State Park as a part of a larger U.S. Southwest road trip, starting from Las Vegas and visiting all of Utah’s national parks, Lower Calf Creek Falls, the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and Page, Arizona along the way.

    If you’re looking for a direct shot to Valley of Fire, it’s located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas and takes about an hour to get there by car. 

    A Broad Recommendation: due to the lack of cell service throughout this area, you should download Google offline maps and pack extra water, snacks and warm clothes in case of an emergency.   

    Valley of Fire State Park Information

    Valley of Fire is open year-round from sunrise to sunset, and the visitor center is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm. Note that anyone who’s in the park before sunrise or after sunset and is not camping overnight will be fined.

    Two main roads, the Valley of Fire Highway and White Domes Road or Mouse’s Tank Road, will take you through the park. The two entrances to the park are located at either end of the Valley of Fire Highway, and the visitor center is located at the intersection of the two roads.

    a view of the Valley of Fire State Park as we were leaving

    There are restrooms located at Atlatl Rock, Seven Sisters, the Cabins, Mouse’s Tank Trailhead and White Domes. Plan your pitstops accordingly!

    It’s also notable that there’s nowhere to eat onsite. Make sure to bring food with you if you plan on spending a full day or longer in the park.

    Valley of Fire allows dogs, but they must be on leash at all times, and they’re not permitted in the Visitor Center.

    Valley of Fire State Park Fees

    a shot taken along the Rainbow Vista Trail at Valley of Fire State Park

    There’s an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle for in-state residents, $15 per vehicle for out-of-state residents, and $2 if you’re on a bicycle.

    A Broad Recommendation: you can’t use the U.S. Park Pass here, so you’ll need to have some cash on hand. At the time of our visit, there was no one manning the entrance, and we had to pay via a lockbox. Since we only had $20 bills, we ended up paying with one of those – at least we contributed more to the park!

    Valley of Fire State Park Reservations

    a photo of Sara on the Seven Wonders Loop Trail

    A reservation system will be coming to Nevada State Parks in 2023. For now, the park is still first-come, first-served.

    Valley of Fire State Park Lodging

    a view from the Valley of Fire State Park Visitor Center as the sun began to set

    We stayed one night at the Boulder Dam Hotel in Boulder City, Nevada and spent around $125 total.

    A Broad Recommendation: We recommend booking through hotels.com. They offer great deals and give you one free night for every ten nights you complete. I also use Rakuten at the time of my purchase to get cash back!

    Valley of Fire Camping

    Although we didn’t do this ourselves, camping is another great option. The park is especially beautiful during golden hour and at sunrise, and camping gives visitors the opportunity to experience these magical moments!

    There are two campgrounds with a total of 72 campsites inside the park. They’re first-come, first-served, and you can stay up to 14 days during any 30-day period. RV sites with power and water hookups are also available.

    The cost is $20 per vehicle, per night for in-state residents and $25 per vehicle, per night for out-of-state residents. Sites with utility hookups are an additional $10.

    Group-Use Campsites

    There are also three group-use campsites, each accommodating up to 45 people with no minimum person count. These are available by reservation only; reservations for the upcoming year can be made as early as the first Wednesday of November. A reservation fee of $25 per site, per night is required at the time of booking. 

    Valley of Fire State Park Weather

    the perfect lighting late afternoon on the Fire Wave Trail

    Temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, so we’d advise avoiding this time of year if at all possible! Spring and fall are great times to visit, as they offer milder temperatures and long days. Winter is another option, since temperatures are even cooler, but you’ll have less daylight to work with.

    We visited the Valley of Fire in November, and it was still really hot! But, we felt that this was a great time to visit overall.

    Valley of Fire State Park Half-Day Itinerary

    Valley of Fire State Park driving map

    You’ll want to spend at least half a day here to see as much of the park as possible. This is the route we followed. We felt this was the perfect way to see the park, since we arrived late in the afternoon after driving the four hours or so from Page, Arizona.

    We started our afternoon at Atlatl Rock, which only takes a few minutes, then made our way to the Fire Wave to complete that trail, the Seven Wonders Loop and the White Domes Trail. After that, we made our way to Rainbow Vista and Mouse’s Tank before ending our day with another short hike to Elephant Rock.

    Valley of Fire State Park Hikes

    Atlatl Rock

    • Difficulty: easy
    • Round-trip distance: 0.1 miles
    • Average time: 10 minutes

    A short walk and climb up a staircase will give you a view of the best-preserved petroglyphs in the park. These petroglyphs date back more than 2,000 years to when the Basketmaker culture inhabited the area.

    Please do NOT vandalize the petroglyphs! All artifacts and signs of early civilization are protected by state and federal law, and you could receive a hefty fine for messing with these.

    Fire Wave Trail and Seven Wonders Loop

    • Difficulty: moderate
    • Round-trip distance: 1.5 or 1.8 miles
    • Average time: 1 to 2 hours

    According to the trailhead sign, “The Fire Wave is an impressive display of striated sandstone that has eroded over time to create a beautiful wave effect.”

    The out-and-back hike to the Fire Wave is around 1.5 miles, but you can go further and complete the full 1.8-mile Seven Wonders Loop. This part of the trail will take you through the Pink Canyon, i.e. a pastel pink slot canyon.

    Since this is a loop hike, you can go in either direction. We chose to hike in a clockwise direction, visiting the Fire Wave first then continuing onto the Pink Canyon. At the end of the hike, you’ll cross the road and end up back at the parking lot.

    If you’re limited on time during your visit and can only do one or two hikes, this one is a must-do! It’s not too strenuous, and it takes you to some of the most photogenic parts of the park.

    White Domes Trail

    • Difficulty: moderate
    • Round-trip distance: 1 mile
    • Average time: 1-2 hours

    This moderate, fun hike takes you through the Mojave Desert, the White Domes, i.e. white sandstone rock formations that contrast the surrounding red sandstone rock formations, and a cool slot canyon.

    Along the trail, you’ll see a historic movie site where the 1966 film, The Professionals, was shot.

    The Valley of Fire is recognized across the nation for its unique and picturesque geologic formations, making it a popular spot for commercial photography and videography. It’s also been featured in movies like Star Trek Generations and Electric Horseman.

    Rainbow Vista and Fire Canyon Overlook Hike 

    • Difficulty: easy
    • Round-trip distance: 1 mile
    • Average time: 1 hour

    This lovely hike leads you to panoramic views of the Valley of Fire. 150 million years in the making, the canyons, domes, towers, ridges and valleys you’ll see here are carved from sand deposited back when dinosaurs walked the earth. Pretty amazing, right?!

    This was one of my favorite views, especially since the sun was beginning to set when we were here!

    Mouse’s Tank Hike

    • Difficulty: easy
    • Round-trip distance: 0.75 miles
    • Average time: 30 minutes

    This hike takes you to a natural rock basin where rainwater collects. We actually thought it looked like a heart. Do you see it too?

    Mouse’s Tank is named after an outlaw who used the water basin for drinking water, while spending days, and sometimes even months, hiding out in the area.

    Along the way, you’ll also see some more petroglyphs. These were created by Native Americans and date back to 2000-4000 years ago. Again, don’t touch or vandalize the petroglyphs. They’re protected by state and federal law, and you could receive a hefty fine for doing so.

    Elephant Rock Loop

    Elephant Rock at Valley of Fire State Park
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Round-trip distance: 0.2 or 1.2 miles
    • Average time: 10 mins to 1 hour

    Located near the east entrance of the park lies Elephant Rock. As the name alludes, this rock formation looks just like an elephant!

    You can do the 0.2-mile out-and-back hike, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can hike the 1.2-mile loop instead. Either way, you cannot walk back along the road.

    Valley of Fire State Park to Las Vegas

    a view of Las Vegas all lit up from Lake Mead Boulevard

    After the sun has set, make your way back to Las Vegas via Lake Mead Boulevard. Along the way, you’ll see a beautiful, lit-up view of Las Vegas. We stopped at a gas station to fuel up and to grab some snacks and could still see the lights from there.

    Have you ever visited the Valley of Fire State Park? How did you like it? And, what else would you recommend for a visit here? Let us know in the comments!

    XOXO Travel A-Broads

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    Chelsea Messina
    7 days ago

    One of my favorite state parks to date! We didn’t end up getting the frame photos like you guys did and I regret it! haha but I did get a photo of me on the swirls hill like yours 🤗💜

    Shafinah
    Shafinah
    11 days ago

    This Park looks amazing, I can definitely see why you enjoyed yourself so much – could definitely use a good trip here!

    Denise
    12 days ago

    Great photos! I may need a road trip down! But not when it’s 120!

    Yvonne
    12 days ago

    This place looks incredible!! I may have to make a special trip to Las Vegas this fall to check it out. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

    Kat
    Kat
    12 days ago

    This place looks incredible!! I would love to spend time here and hike, all of the hikes look so amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Linda Jane
    12 days ago

    Thanks for introducing me to the Valley of Fire State Park! The desert scenery looks stunning!

    Jaz
    Jaz
    13 days ago

    Wow – so many incredible rock formations to see on the trails shared. I’m yet to visit Vegas but I’m definitely intrigued by the landscape of Nevada. Thanks for sharing!

    Bea
    Bea
    13 days ago

    Such beautiful scenery! Nevada has such amazing beauty. I’ve been several times but it’s obvious after reading this article that I need to return.

    Belle
    13 days ago

    I go to Las Vegas several times a year so I will definitely check this place out next time I am in town! Great post! 🙂

    A Capone Connection
    13 days ago

    These pictures are so beautiful! I visited Red Rock in Nevada but it was so hot that I couldn’t go hiking that day. This State Park has some similarities and I’d love to see it. Thank you so much for sharing. I will save this for a future visit.

    sammi swinton
    13 days ago

    What an amazing place to visit?! The elephant rock is stunning, love your photos!

    Josy A
    13 days ago

    Oooh Sara this looks soooo fun! I sort of love the idea of visiting in November when it is cold and rainy here in Canada…and being too warm! The rock formations and colours from each of the trails are just glorious!

    The fire wave trail formations are fabulous aren’t they!?

    Melissa
    Melissa
    13 days ago

    This looks so amazing! I’ve been here once, but my timing was off – we visited after Vegas had a big thunderstorm roll through the previous night, so lots of the roads were closed as they were washed out. Sure enough, after we left, a few days later everything was open again.

    Erin
    13 days ago

    Wow, I literally want to try each hike. These look amazing, and you did a great job explaining the difficulty and other details. I think I would start first with Fire Wave Trail and Seven Wonders Loop – It just looks so beautiful.

    Pam
    Pam
    13 days ago

    Such a cool place to visit! Your pics are beautiful. Sounds like it was quite the road trip!

    Timpani
    13 days ago

    The next time I’m in Vegas I want to visit Valley of Fire! I’ve been to Vegas so many times but have never ventured out to there.

    Maggie
    13 days ago

    Ahh I LOVE Valley Of Fire! I only got to spend a few hours there last time I was in Nevada because it started raining, but I definitely want to go back and hike more of the trails. It’s so beautiful!

    Valentina
    Valentina
    13 days ago

    Than you very much for this article.. it’s so helpful. I also love your pictures! It really make me wish to catch the first flight and go there exploring 😊

    Lasma
    Lasma
    13 days ago

    The Valley is absolutely stunning! I would love to visit and taking all the photos! Also I wouldn’t mind a stop in Vegas since I am there! Thanks for sharing this guide!!

    Leah Tierney
    13 days ago

    We’ve always wanted to do a road trip to the USA and will definitely be using this as a guide; really informative article!

    Lisa | Waves and Cobblestones

    Amazing geology in this region. Elephant Rock is unique!

    Jenn | By Land and Sea
    Jenn | By Land and Sea
    14 days ago

    We go to Vegas annually, but have yet to make it to this park. We will add it to our list for our next visit. It looks awesome!

    Kate Toll
    14 days ago

    I really want to visit Valley of Fire State Park! I’ve only ever been in Nevada in the summer, and it was like 115 degrees so we didn’t get to visit Valley of Fire – but it’s definitely on the list! I especially love to check out Elephant Rock Loop, I love that it’s a short walk but so beautiful!

    simplyjolayne
    14 days ago

    I hadn’t heard of this park before, but it is beautiful with some great hikes.

    Linda (LD Holland)
    14 days ago

    It was great to read about the Fire State Park in Nevada. I am sure it would take several visits to really enjoy the 40,000 acres of Aztec sandstone formations. Some of your pics are simply amazing. Mother Nature sure is a great artist. Good to know that the rules are changing in 2023 for reservations. 

    Marianne
    Marianne
    15 days ago

    Your photos are absolutely incredible! Valley of the Fire has been on my list for some time now! Hopefully soon. The White Domes Trail looks awesome!

    Michele
    16 days ago

    Your pictures in the Valley of Fire State Park are beautiful. I love the Fire Wave, and I did see the heart in the water basin of the Mouse Tank hike after reading about it in your post.

    Venaugh
    16 days ago

    Valley of Fire State Park looks absolutely beautiful. I love that there are so many different hiking options, especially not too difficult ones! Thanks for such a great guide, I’m pinning this.

    Brittany
    17 days ago

    The next time I go to Las Vegas, I really want to take a day trip to the Valley of Fire State Park! It looks beautiful and the scenery reminds me a lot of Sedona, which I visit often. Thanks for sharing this helpful guide for when I get the chance to visit the Valley of Fire!

    Lanie
    17 days ago

    I knew that I wanted to visit more of the west coast, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Thanks for the itinerary and awesome ideas. Your pictures make me want to visit ASAP.