12 Feb
2017
Posted in: photography, travel
By    Comments Off on Different Side of Las Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park

Different Side of Las Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park

road into valley of fire state park

Valley of Fire State Park Nevada red rocks

Quite a few people in our circle of friends will be spending Spring Break in Las Vegas. I’ve replied to a few inquiries about family-friendly ideas in Vegas on the cheap and outdoor activities that don’t include sitting poolside. We’ve been through Las Vegas numerous times one our way to and from other adventures like Disneyland, Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park. My go-to suggestion for people staying in Vegas who want an outdoor adventure is Valley of Fire State Park.

White Dome Trail - Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Red sandstone formations at Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

The park is located about one hour northeast of Las Vegas and its eastern edge is six miles from Lake Mead. As we neared the entrance to the park last spring, I couldn’t believe we had driven on Interstate 15 countless times and had no idea the magnificent red sandstone formations of Valley of Fire were hidden a short distance from the busy highway. Ancient people lived in the area from 300 B.C.E. to 1150 C.E. and left many petroglyphs in the region from their occupation.

Valley of Fire State Park petroglyphs

The weather in the spring was perfect for Wyomingites who deal with bitter wind and snow until May some years. The temperatures were in the high 60s during our day visit. We are rock people. We happily wander for hours through rock landscapes with unique formations. Valley of Fire did not disappoint. A bonus for us is the presence of petrified wood logs and stumps from an ancient forest.

White Dome hiking trail - Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park slot canyon

The fire red sandstone gives way to contrasting colors of pink, white, tan and purple. The colors are layered in a rock rainbow in various parts of the park. The White Domes Trail is a relatively easy trek of 1¼ miles through sandstone in various and beautifully varying colors. The trail also contains a short slot canyon, and we hold a true love for all things slot canyon. Keep your eyes open for smalls caves and indentations in the rocks around you.  There has been serious upheaval and erosion over thousands of year in this part of Nevada.

White Dome hiking trail - Valley of Fire State Park

Fire Wave in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Fire Wave Trail takes you through barren rock landscape dotted with barrel cactus and ending in the spectacular Fire Wave formation. We lingered in the area with several serious photographers enjoying a Nevada sunset. The setting sun intensified the colors of the wave before mellowing the vibrancy of the area as dusk settled in. It was beautiful and the reason why we travel and hike. Finding that place that’s like no other. Discovering yet another unique wonderful landscape is what keeps me traveling. Valley of Fire met that criteria and rates much higher on my list of things to do in the Las Vegas area over casinos and shows.

 

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