Thursday, May 1, 2014

Valley of Fire State Park


Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State ParkBefore we left Las Vegas, there was one more place we had to see.  I had read about the Valley of Fire State Park in several RV blogs, and seen pictures of this amazing place that we drawing us in!  We had considered staying there, but were unsure of the accessibility of the sites for our big rig.  Driving through the campground, we did see a few sites that we could have fit on, but were glad we chose a location a little closer to civilization for our 3-week stay!



We entered through the self-pay station at the east end of the park, where it borders the Lake Mead Recreation Area, and felt that $10/car was a pretty good deal.  Good thing we were honest, too, because on the way out of the park on the Las Vegas side, the gate guard was checking for receipts!

Our first stop was at the Visitor Center,

Visitor Center

where we picked up a map and information about the trails. 

We continued along the scenic drive until we reached the parking area for Mouse’s Tank and Petroglyph Canyon.  This was an easy 1 mile hike through the base of the canyon, ending at a basin in the rocks that holds water after a rain.

Hiking in Petroglyth Canyon

Both side of the sandy trail were lined with huge red rocks, and the boys had a blast climbing as many as they could,

Climbing on the rocks!

Daredevil Bryce










How'd Bryce get way up there!?!

and finding crevices and caves to hide in.

Nicolas found a cave!

Nicolas found lots of hiding places!











This is known as Petroglyph Canyon because there are multiple examples of ancient writings on the rock walls.



More petroglyths

More petroglyths



This last one indicates the presence of bighorn sheep in the area . . . we saw some of them ourselves!

Bighorn Sheep

Looks like a young one!


They're posing for us!

We made it all the way to the end of the trail,

Valley of Fire State Park

Mouse's Tank

and found Mouse’s Tank.  It doesn’t look like much from here, but Nicolas said there were a lot bigger pools visible from up above.

Looking down at Mouse's Tank

This was a spectacular canyon, with amazing rock formations and beautiful views.     Red sand











DSC_0980It was a great hike on a beautiful morning, and the boys had a great time climbing and exploring on the rocks.

Amazing rock formations!

We continued along the scenic drive,


stopping at just a few locations along the way.











The road ends at the White Domes Picnic Area and trailhead, and that was our destination for lunch.

Almost back to the picnic area

The sky was starting to look a little threatening, but we thought we had enough time for lunch before heading out on the 1.25 mile loop.  We had company during our lunch!

Begging for lunch

Getting brave!


Tom wanted to throw him little scraps of food, but we didn’t want an army of chipmunks coming after us, so we didn’t let him!




White Domes HikeAs we started into the canyon we felt a few drizzles of rain, but nothing more . . . just clouds!

Into the canyon

There were some really cool rocks in this area – pink and purple and orange!     The rock is being eroded away









A lot of these rocks reminded me of the boxwork we saw in Wind Cave in South Dakota last summer.  Cracks get filled in by harder sedimentary material, and then when the soft sandstone erodes away, the webbing is left behind.

I told Bryce it looked fake!


This rock looked like one of those fake rocks you put in your yard to hide a key under . . .

but Bryce couldn’t budge it, so I guess it was real!

So cool!

Pretty steps


We made our way down a series of stone steps into the canyon – at least some of us used the steps!


As we made our way to the bottom of the canyon, we found an old movie set from “The Professionals”, just one of many movies that were filmed in the Valley of Fire.     From the set of "The Professionals"








With an active imagination, everywhere you look in the canyon there were shapes that looked like something!

Two turtles

Watch out for that lizard, Bryce!










We reached the canyon floor,

In the canyon

and admired the beautiful rocks around us!

This canyon is so beautiful!

The boys are never at a loss for places to climb!

Nicolas found another crevice!


Bryce found another chair!

The next section of the trail was a narrow crevice between two rock walls,

The narrow section of the canyon

and was as beautiful as the other slot canyon we explored in Lake Mead earlier in the week!

Another slot canyon


These slot canyons are so cool . . . I never get tired of them!

Slot Canyon

Tom and Bryce like them too, I think!

So can Tom!

Bryce can touch both walls at once!



As we exited the narrows, we came face-to-face with some beautiful scenery!

So beautiful!

Really cool rocks!










There is an area in Valley of Fire called the “Fire Wave” that is supposed to be really spectacular – with this type of striped rock.  I thought about going in search of it, but we decided we had done enough hiking, and it wasn’t sunny enough to really appreciate it.

Enjoying a great hike!

This was an awesome hike on its own, and we really enjoyed it!

Nicolas enjoys this type of hike!


Even Bryce!


We finished up the hike and made our way back to the picnic area.

Lone hiker

Looks like a red river










Swiss cheese rock

Along both hikes we saw lots of beautiful flowers blooming, and I couldn’t resist taking pictures of all of them!

042614_Valley of Fire

We drove out of the park via the west entrance, and on the way out we stopped at a few more rock formations,

Arch Rock

Arch Rock

The Beehives


and took a quick drive through the campground loops.

No, don't worry about that rock falling on you!

Yeah . . . don’t think we’ll be camping there!!

It was a great day in a beautiful park, and definitely something you shouldn’t miss if you’re in the Las Vegas area . . . even if there aren’t any slot machines to be found!



  1. What a great day and such beautiful scenery!! Love your desert flower collage:o)

  2. thanks for taking us on a tour of Valley of Fire! looks like you all had a great day!!

  3. Such a beautiful area. Last time we were there a Star Wars movie was being filmed, it's been a long time. Becki


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