When traveling to Las Vegas, visitors have the opportunity to take in a show, shop, visit the slot machines, and eat at a number of different restaurants. The next time you travel to the southern Nevada desert, however, I encourage you to not only take in the bright lights of the strip and downtown Las Vegas, but also find some time to take in the natural beauty of the desert. Nothing exemplifies this beauty more than Valley of Fire State Park, located just a short 45 minute drive north of Las Vegas on Interstate 15.
Valley of Fire boasts some of the most impressive scenery in southern Nevada, complete with expansive mountain ranges, geological formations, and deep, rustic red rocks which give the park it’s name. There is a $6 fee per automobile to enter the park, but once inside, visitors are able to follow the scenic loop to each of the prominent formations Valley of Fire has to offer. Along the way, there are several places to pull off to the side of the road and take pictures if you are inclined to do so. About halfway through the park, visitors will encounter the visitor’s center with a wide assortment of exhibits, as well as a gift shop, restrooms, and water fountains.
If beautiful and colorful scenery is your thing, be sure to stop off at Fire Canyon and Rainbow Vista, which feature some of the most beautiful views in the park. If you prefer interesting rock formations, be sure to stop and see The Beehives, The Seven Sisters, and especially Elephant Rock. If you enjoy hiking, there are several trails to tackle, including the White Dome Trail, which takes hikers past the old abandoned movie set of the 1960s movie, The Professionals, that starred Burt Lancaster. Other movies that were at least partly filmed at Valley of Fire include Star Trek: Generations, Total Recall, Iron Eagle, and Transformers.
To reach Valley of Fire State Park, simply drive north on Interstate 15 until you reach Highway 169. Head east on 169 until you run into the park’s western entrance. A trip to Valley of Fire is the perfect way to escape the intensity of the Las Vegas Strip for at least part of a day. It is an opportunity to simply relax and enjoy the scenery the southern Nevada desert has to offer.
Here are some resources we have at the library that talk about Las Vegas and specifically Valley of Fire State Park:
Off the Beaten Path: Nevada by Heidi Knapp Rinella- This book introduces readers to several interesting, but lesser known places to visit in Nevada. It also features a small section on Valley of Fire, complete with information about the visitor’s center, entrances and exits to the park, fees, and highlights of the park.
Pauline Frommer’s Las Vegas - If you want to know something about Las Vegas, you’ll probably find it here. Not only does this book have a section on Valley of Fire, it also provides a small map of the park showing where the hiking spots and popular stopping points are throughout the park.