Picture of me (brunette woman) in a red dress, in the desert at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada watching the sunrise. There is a big yellow bush in the foreground.

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Discover Valley of Fire Nevada

So you’re in Nevada… likely Las Vegas… and you’ve drank all the drinks, saw all the shows, gorged at all the buffets. You sunned by the pool, did lots of shopping and lost your shirt in not one but multiple casinos. Or maybe you’re headed to Lake Mead (which is 5 miles from the park) and want to go on a nice hike before you hit the water. When the reveling is over, a visit to Valley of Fire Nevada is a great way to round out your trip.

Valley of Fire State Park has seemed to gain the favor of both locals and tourists, alike.

And understandably so, considering it is only a nominal $10 entrance fee per vehicle, has several pleasant trails to explore and is even worth seeing by car. Valley of Fire park is teeming with photo opportunities, so there is truly a little something for everyone. The nature lover, the would-be Geologist (or Geologist by trade), the hiking enthusiast, the photographer, or the instagrammer in the wild. The kids seem to love it too!

Valley of Fire State Park Sign, at the entrance of the park during sunrise. There is a winding street road, surrounded by dirt and mountains. Located in Valley of Fire Nevada.
The entrance of Valley of Fire Nevada State Park during sunrise

What is this place?

Early inhabitants of Valley of Fire include the Anasazi tribe of Native Americans. The land is comprised of “fantastic forms,” caused by fracturing, rock layers and erosion. You’ll notice many enthralling color variations on the different rock formations as well.

Clear, bright blue sky, bright red rock formations. There is a large rock mass, with a smaller rock mass that appears to be "balancing" on top of it. Located in Valley of Fire Nevada.
Valley of Fire Nevada, State Park has so many of these “fantastic forms” throughout!
This is one of the “Beehive” formations near the entrance of the park.

How Much Time is Required?

The nice part is the flexibility of this excursion. You can take a trip to Valley of Fire and spend two hours; mostly by car and lookout points, and still feel like you saw a satisfying general overview of the place. If you want to incorporate a few hiking trails, you can make it a half day trip. Or maybe you want to explore every nook and cranny, take every photo opportunity and walk down every trail? Make it a full day trip! You can customize this experience to meet you or your groups needs based on time, interest and stamina.

Beautiful blue skies, large red rock formations, cactus, wild plants and desert. There is a moonscape silhouette of in the distance. Located in Valley of Fire Nevada.
Views as we’re exiting the park; it was a gorgeous spring time day -but beware that
even during the Spring temps can soar well over 100 degrees farenheight

How Much is it?

The park is open from sunrise to sunset. It is $10 per vehicle for Nevada residents, $15 per vehicle for non Nevada residents or $2 per person, whichever is greater. Additionally, you can not use America the Great passes here or any other federal passes.

If you arrive at the park before 9am, you will have to self pay in cash in an envelope provided by the park and hold onto your receipt for exiting. Make sure you have exact change.

Myself (brunette woman) in a bright red dress running through slot canyon which is a narrow trail within the canyons
At the bottom of the White Dome Trail is “Slot Canyon.” This is my personal favorite part of the whole park.
It’s also the coolest part of the park, a nice reprieve from the sun.

What is the Best Time to Get There?

One of the most important suggestions I can make is to arrive at the park as early as you can. We went on a Sunday morning in mid June and arrived right at sunrise around 5:15am. There were many perks to this:

* Beautiful Sunrise

* Cool, pleasant weather & serene environment

* No crowds anywhere for ease of mobility

* Awesome photos

The sunrise, alone, was worth getting up at 3:00am for.

Not an early riser? Scheduling conflicts won’t allow for you to be there that early? Don’t sweat it. But keep in mind that Nevada can get very hot which will make for very unpleasant walking conditions along trails, and can even be dangerous.

We had beautiful weather until we left the park at about 10:30am. By this time, the park was filling up fast! By 2:00pm that day it was 108°F. We drove through the park and saw a general overview. We also stopped at most all the lookouts and took tons of photos and did the complete White Domes Trail to see Slot Canyon. We took our time, viewing everything at leisure, and spent about 5 hours total at the park.

What is the Food Situation?

There are no food and drinks sold in the park, so bring water and snacks.

We packed a cooler with some drinks and snacks, as we knew we were likely only going to do a half day. But if you’re making a full day of it, I encourage you to pack a lunch or bring a spread. They have picnic tables!

Good news: There are bathrooms everywhere. At the entrance of the park and at almost every trail or lookout. The one at the entrance was squeaky clean!

Points of Interest in the Park

Beehive

By the Beehives, there is a trail and lots of interesting formations of deep, rich, red rocks that are a sight to behold. It is also commonplace to see tripods out everywhere with enthusiastic photographers capturing the landscape. You may see other photoshoots going on too; it’s popular for all its scenic backdrops.

Clear, bright blue skies and the popular "Beehive" rock formations.
The famed “Beehive” rock formations near the entrance of Valley of Fire State Park

Rainbow Vista

Rainbow Vista has picnic tables, a restroom and a nice shaded photo op area all before the trailhead entrance. We did not do this hiking trail, but it provides little shade as far as we saw, and is not recommended in extreme heat. This is regarded as an ‘easy’ hike.

Myself (brunette woman) in a bright red dress, twirling in front of a giant red rock formation at Valley of Fire Nevada by the Rainbow Vista trail
The area near the “Rainbow Vista” Trailhead. Great little area for photos, with a restroom and lunch benches

Fire Wave & Fire Canyon

We explored a bit around the beginning area of of Fire Wave and watched the sunrise from there. We also went to the Fire Canyon lookout. We did not do the Fire View full trail, although, we hear its very popular. This is where you see the rocks with the colorful swirls and bright striations. I would recommend doing this one early in the day as this trail has no shade throughout it.

White Domes

This is my current favorite, and I suggest not leaving this one out. It’s a moderate hike, with a steep decline on the way down and incline on the way up. You will walk through soft sand, on rock stairs and dirt. The nice part is: If you go early in the day, the majority of this hike is in the shade! And it also leads you to Slot Canyon, so it is so worth it. This is a fun trail to visit, but also a cool place to take some pics!

Clear blue skies and the rock step formations that lead you down the White Dome trail to Slot Canyon. Located in Valley of Fire Nevada.
The inclined “rock stairs” that you walk up and down on to get to Slot Canyon
The red rock formations after you complete the White Dome trail and venture through slot canyon.
The end of the “White Domes” trail, after Slot Canyon

So Many Beautiful Photo Ops

Of course, everyone tries to get THE picture – the winding road near Mouse’s Tank. It’s the iconic shot of the winding street with the park behind you. We did not attempt this photo. However, there are several areas you can pull over on this road, and several rocks you can choose to climb to get this, or similar shots. And I know it goes without saying, but only pull over in designated areas and be careful climbing the rocks for photos.

This should be enough to ensure you have a smooth, safe and efficient trip to Valley of Fire Nevada and still leave plenty for you to explore on your own.

I do plan to return to this Park and visit the Lost City Museum (Free for kids under age 17 and $5 for adults and seniors), and to walk a few more trails. Have you been to Valley of Fire State Park? What did you think of it?

Check out another beautiful desert destination, here.

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