Before 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,
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.
Both side of the sandy trail were lined with huge red rocks, and the boys had a blast climbing as many as they could,
and finding crevices and caves to hide in.
This is known as Petroglyph Canyon because there are multiple examples of ancient writings on the rock walls.
This last one indicates the presence of bighorn sheep in the area . . . we saw some of them ourselves!
We made it all the way to the end of the trail,
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
We made our way down a series of stone steps into the canyon – at least some of us used the steps!
With an active imagination, everywhere you look in the canyon there were shapes that looked like something!
We reached the canyon floor,
and admired the beautiful rocks around us!
The boys are never at a loss for places to climb!
The next section of the trail was a narrow crevice between two rock walls,
and was as beautiful as the other slot canyon we explored in Lake Mead earlier in the week!
These slot canyons are so cool . . . I never get tired of them!
Tom and Bryce like them too, I think!
As we exited the narrows, we came face-to-face with some beautiful scenery!
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.
This was an awesome hike on its own, and we really enjoyed it!
We finished up the hike and made our way back to the picnic area.
Along both hikes we saw lots of beautiful flowers blooming, and I couldn’t resist taking pictures of all of them!
We drove out of the park via the west entrance, and on the way out we stopped at a few more rock formations,
and took a quick drive through the campground loops.
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!