Valley of Fire is a State Park roughly 1-hour NE of Las Vegas and should be on every nature-lovers list. While there are many incredible views, we’ll only cover a few key points that we were able to visit. My goal is to inspire you to visit this geological marvel even if you don’t think you have enough time. You can easily see a lot of amazing views within a couple of hours.
What To Know About Valley Of Fire State Park
But first, let’s talk about what you need to know about Valley of Fire State Park.
The park was founded in 1935 to preserve the bold red sandstone landscapes and formations. Covering over 42,000 acres in the desert roughly 1 hour northeast of Las Vegas near Lake Mead.
Hours: The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset with 24-hour access to campgrounds. If you are in the park past sunset outside of the designated camping area it will be considered trespassing.
Park Fees: If you are from Nevada your fee is $10.00. Out-of-state visitors pay $15.00
Directions: From Las Vegas take 1-15 North for about 33 miles. Take exit 75 and follow the Valley of Fire highway for another 14 miles till the park entrance.
Visit the official park website for more information.
The Beehives are one of the first jaw-dropping views you’ll get to see once entering the park. These sandstone formations full of geological cross-bedding (the lines through the rock) are a sight to see.
Once you pay to enter the park, continue on Valley of Fire Highway as it leads you right to this viewpoint.
Just a short drive from The Beehives is a turn-off on your left named Campground Road. Here you’ll see Atlatl Rock which has a collection of petroglyphs on a boulder of red sandstone. The petroglyphs are roughly 50 feet above ground, a metal staircase was installed to help view. We skipped this due to time and make our way directly to Arch Rock, the next viewpoint on Campground Road.
This arch was created over millennia of strong winds and rains eroding away at the material holding the rock together. This was a quick stop with beautiful views. You can return the way you came, or continue on the 2-mile scenic loop past Arch Rock. We decided to return the way we came to save time. Having not been here before, we weren’t sure how much time we needed so played it safe.
Some other viewpoints that were on my list in this area that we didn’t see: Fire Cave/ Windstone Arch, Petrified Logs
This park appears in my post Las Vegas When You Don’t Like Las Vegas. Check out the post if you’re looking for more things to do in Las Vegas when it’s not really your place.
Mouse’s Tank Road in Valley of Fire State Park
After you get back to Valley of Fire Highway, you’ll head East for roughly 2-miles before you see the entrance to Mouse’s Tank Road on your left. This is the scenic desert view of your dreams. This almost 6-mile drive has several turn-offs for multiple viewpoints. If you’re short on time, however, you’ll need to be more selective of which viewpoints you stop at.
Several of the viewpoints require a small hike to the destination, and unfortunately, with our short timeline we had to limit our stops to points that were close to the parking areas. The views were so beautiful along Mouse’s Tank Road that you won’t feel too bad about missing out on multiple hikes. We were able to make a few more stops on this road before we got close to sunset and had to make our way home.
Keep your eyes open as you may see some animals along the route. We came across some bighorn sheep climbing the rocks along Mouse’s Tank Road. You’ll also see so many incredible photo-ops of the dreamy desert roads on the horizon photos.
Some other viewpoints that were on my list in this area that we didn’t see: Visitor Center, Balanced Rock, Pastel Pink Canyon Trail, Fire Wave, White Domes Trail
Fire Canyon / Silica Dome
When you only have half a day to visit, one view you should definitely see is Fire Canyon/ Silica Dome. With such vivid layers of color, this was one of our favorite stops. The views were close to the parking lot making this easily accessible to most. Perfect for when you are short on time. These stunning colors are from layers of sandstone that have sand grains that are almost pure silica. The bold red coloring comes from small quantities of iron in the rock producing rust-like stains.
The next stop on our drive through Mouse’s Tank Road is Crazy Hill. This was another relatively short walk away from the parking area that yielded colorful views. Layers of pinks, oranges, and a creamy white fill the views.
Love beautiful desert landscapes? Check out my post on A November Day in Joshua Tree for more beautiful scenes.
Across the street from the parking lot, we used to visit Crazy Hill is a trail to the Fire Wave. It was getting late in our trip and I still had one more view I wanted to see before sunset. We walked maybe 15 minutes in and made it to the top of the hill Fire Wave sat below. We decided to not walk all the way down to the views. There wasn’t much time until sunset, and we still had the view to find.
Rainbow Valley in Valley of Fire State Park
This was our last stop on Mouse’s Tank Road and it was the view that I’ve seen everywhere and really wanted to witness. We found a hill near the road in Rainbow Valley that had a parking lot nearby. This is definitely one of the most spectacular views in the park and was the perfect way to end our drive-through.
Want to see even more spectacular rocky desert views? See more on my post about Seeing The Grand Canyon South Rim In One Day.
Valley of Fire State Park is the perfect destination for those needing a break from Las Vegas. At only roughly 1-hour away from the city, it’s an easy drive with memorable views. I highly recommend this park, even if you only have a couple of hours.