Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada was one of those places I saw on Instagram over and over. I was curious if it was going to live up to the dreamy photos. And if there would be anything worth checking out since I feel like I had seen it all already on the internet. The Valley of Fire Hikes absolutely blew me away with the views of miles and miles of red sandstone rock, interesting rock formations and incredibly scenic hiking and camping.
I actually loved it so much that I went back again just a couple months later. It’s a place I feel like I could keep going back to and see something different each time. And while Valley of Fire is definitely the most popular Nevada State Park, it is still not nearly as crowded as going to one of the Utah National Parks. So, here are all my tips, recommendations and more for the best views and hikes in Valley of Fire.
- Quick Overview of Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada:
- Where is Valley of Fire State Park?
- 5 Best Valley of Fire Hikes and Views
- 1. Fire Wave Trail
- 2. Mouse Tank Road
- 3. Pastel Pink Canyon Trail
- 4. White Domes Trail
- 5. Elephant Rock
- Other Valley of Fire Hikes:
- Best Time of Year to Visit:
- Safety & Things to Know Before You Go!
- Camping at Valley of Fire State Park:
- Nearby Destinations:
- Conclusion: Valley of Fire Hikes
Land Acknowledgement: Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute) Land. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting! And consider visiting nearby cultural centers and seeking out other ways to financially support Indigenous People.
Quick Overview of Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada:
- Located just over an hour away from Las Vegas International Airport
- Open daily sunrise to sunset
- Open Year Round
- $10 per vehicle with Nevada plates, $15 per vehicle with out of state plates
- Pets allowed on leash
- No cell service. Wifi available for purchase at visitors center
As always with any trail or outdoor space, do your part and leave no trace! Take all of your trash with you! And come prepared with water and food.
Where is Valley of Fire State Park?
Valley of Fire State Park is located in the Southern part of Nevada, close to the Utah and Arizona borders. This popular Nevada State Park is located in Moapa Valley, about an hour away from Las Vegas near Lake Mead National Recreation Area. There are no services in Valley of Fire State Park, so I recommend getting everything you need in Las Vegas before arriving if heading to the South Entrance from Vegas. Or from Moapa Valley or Overton before arriving if you are planning on using the North Entrance from Utah.
As mentioned above, there are two entrances to get into the State Park. Google maps will take you the quickest way, and I recommend routing to the Valley of Fire Visitor Center to start your day. And I recommend downloading google maps for the area, as there is no cell service here. You will receive a map at the entrance, and it is very useful as well!
5 Best Valley of Fire Hikes and Views
1. Fire Wave Trail
The Fire Wave Trail is one of the most popular hikes in this Nevada State Park. Hike in to see the swirling patterns of sandstone that resemble ocean waves and unique rock formations!
- 1.5 miles round trip
- 236 ft elevation gain
- Seasonal Closures June 1-October 1st due to Heat Conditions. Check with Valley of Fire Visitor Center for the most up to date information.
- Dogs allowed on leash
I recommend downloading the AllTrails map for this hike. There are established cairns set up to guide you along the sandy and rocky path, but we had a few moments of confusion and had a hard time spotting the trail.
Safety: This hike is in full sun, so plan accordingly with extra water, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, etc.
Photography: The Fire Wave Hike is best photographed in the early morning or at sunset. I went in the morning (a little later than I wanted to) and had the area to myself for 10-15 minutes.
2. Mouse Tank Road
This isn’t a hike, but is well worth a stop. It’s definitely the view I saw the most on the internet when initially hearing about Valley of Fire. It received this name because at sunset and sunrise it can look like the mountains are on fire in a bright orange/yellow hue. It is truly a stunning place, and an iconic view from here that you shouldn’t miss.
- No designated parking lot, but the view is seen by driving Mouse’s Tank Road. The view is seen when turning around back towards the visitor center.
- There are several unpaved pull offs where people often park to view it.
- I saw this spot at both sunrise and sunset. We had some rain at sunset, but overall I found sunrise to be more pleasant since less people were there!
Tip: If you want to be the first one there, stay overnight at the campground in Valley of Fire. The entrance to the park does not open until sunrise, but if you are already in the park camping, you can be there first.
3. Pastel Pink Canyon Trail
This trail really surprised me. I had not heard of it before visiting and was so curious to check it out! We stumbled onto this section by continuing on the trail from Fire Wave.
There are a couple different ways to access Pastel Pink Canyon. If you are lucky enough to grab one of the couple street parking spots, it is only a 0.4 mile hike in to explore this canyon. However, it can be accessed as part of the Seven Wonders Loop Trail that continues past Fire Wave.
- 0.7 miles past Fire Wave Trail (2.2 round trip)
- AllTrails Downloaded map recommended (we got lost a few times and luckily had a downloaded map)
- This can be done as part of the whole Seven Wonders Loop Trail that features: Fire Wave, White Domes Slot Canyon, Crazy Hill, Fire Cave, Striped Rock, and Thunderstorm Arch.
- Not very crowded! Because this part of the trail is lesser known, we had it completely to ourselves mid morning on a Friday!
4. White Domes Trail
White Domes Trail has incredible views and variety! I did not do the entire trail, but even just a short distance into this trail gives you such a good view and feel of Valley of Fire hikes and views.
- 1.1 mile loop trail
- 177 ft elevation gain
- Views of white, pink and orange rocks
- This trail has lots of room to spread out and snag a viewpoint for lunch or a snack!
- We went just prior to golden hour and it was lovely!
- Can be done as part of the Seven Wonders Loop Trail as it connects (I recommend using AllTrails maps if you do this!
White Domes Trail is the furthest North you can go in this park on White Domes Road. Enjoy the drive back down Mouse’s tank road and take in those views.
5. Elephant Rock
Elephant Rock Trail is a very easy trail that leads to a unique rock formation that resembles and elephant. A lot of people will come here to take astro photography! It is very close to the entrance and definitely worth a quick stop!
- 0.3 mile out and back trail
- 52 ft elevation gain
- Open year round
Other Valley of Fire Hikes:
If you don’t want to stop at 5, consider these scenic trails as well:
- Fire Canyon Overlook
- Rainbow Vista Trail
- Petroglyph Canyon
- Atlatl Rock (climb stairs to see petroglphys
The Petroglyphs date back 4,000 years ago and were inhabited by the Basket Maker people and the Anasazi Pueblo farmers.
Best Time of Year to Visit:
When I visited Valley of Fire State Park I went in January and then again in March. The state park advises visiting between the months of October through May due to the extreme heat this place gets! Some hikes even close down June 1st – September 30th because of the heat risk. July has average temperatures of a high of 106°F and low of 81. YIKES!
This makes for a wonderful Fall, Winter and Spring destination. In the winter, you’re more likely to experience rain, but also have the least amount of crowds.
Safety & Things to Know Before You Go!
As mentioned above, heat is a big concern here. Come prepared with:
- Sun protection: Hat, UV protected clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Extra Water: Make sure you have plenty of water. I use a water bladder to bring 2 liters (the recommendation per person when hiking in the heat)
- Navigation: Come prepared with downloaded maps from AllTrails as well as downloaded maps on google maps. There is VERY little cell service here!
- Wear footwear with good traction. A lot of the hikes have sections on sandy rock. I was happy to have good boots with grip like these and these!
Camping at Valley of Fire State Park:
Valley of Fire State Park has 72 campsites that are all first come first served for $25 a night. Pull up to Atlatl or Arch Rock campground, find a site that is not reserved with a tag and then go back to the entrance of the campground to fill out a reservation and pay. I believe it is cash or check only.
Atlatl campround is geared more towards RVs and offers hook ups and showers. Arch rock campground has more scenic camping in my opinion, but lacks showers and has pit toilets. Both campgrounds have a covered picnic area, water access and fire pit.
If you’re interested in making this a road trip, check out these other guides:
Conclusion: Valley of Fire Hikes
Valley of Fire State Park is a red rock canyon that has a lot to offer and in my opinion – shouldn’t be missed! Even if you only have time for a quick drive through this State Park, it is absolutely stunning and worth it. But if you have the time, I highly recommend camping for 2 nights here. We stayed one night and I was really regretting not being able to stay longer!
Is this on your list? Let me know in the comments below if you think you’re going to plan a trip here!
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