The Valley of Fire is a brilliant, colorful spot located in Nevada, just one hour from Las Vegas. Filled with panoramic vistas, hiking trails, petroglyphs, and stunning red and pink rock formations, the Valley of Fire makes an excellent day trip from Vegas.
What is the Valley of Fire?
The Valley of Fire is a state park located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. Its 46,000 acres are filled with red rock formations made from Aztec sandstone. On a sunny day, these rock formations look like they are on fire, giving the park its name, the Valley of Fire.
Several movies were filmed here, including Total Recall, Viva Las Vegas, The Professionals, and Star Trek Generations.
A visit to the Valley of Fire can last just an hour or two (if you drive through the park, only stopping at scenic overlooks and hiking one or two short trails) or all day, if you choose to explore every nook and cranny of this place.
We spent about four hours here, hiking several of the trails and seeing the main highlights.
Things to do in the Valley of Fire
Here is a map with the main attractions and hiking trails in the park.
Enjoy the Landscapes
Driving through the Valley of Fire is the easiest way to enjoy the view. Pink, red, and orange sandstone rocks create amazing vistas that you can see from your car. The main road, Mouse’s Tank Road, curves its way through these rocky formations, creating beautiful views. You don’t even have to get out of your car to enjoy this!
Located next to the east entrance, this arch rock formation resembles an elephant, with a little bit of imagination.
These strange looking sandstone formations can be seen in just a few minutes. Get out of your car, take some photos, or climb up to on top of the highest dome for great views over the park.
The hike to Mouse’s Tank is relatively short (only .75 miles round trip), ending at a natural rock basin where water collects after rainfall. This is an easy but unexciting hike and along the way you can spot petroglyphs on the rocks. If you are short on time, I’d skip this hike and save your time for some of the better trails in the park.
This hike is more worthwhile. Only 1 mile round trip, this hike ends with a climb up onto a large hill for a panoramic view over the Valley of Fire.
You can continue east on the trail past the panoramic point, but I’d skip this too. The best part of Rainbow Vista is the view from on top of the hill.
Pink Canyon, also called Pastel Canyon, is a spot that many people don’t seem to know about. It’s an unmarked spot to visit but it’s one of the prettiest places we saw in the Valley of Fire. Parking is limited to only one or two cars (GPS coordinates: 36°28’47” N 114°31’36” W). From the parking spot, head east into the canyon.
It only takes about 10 minutes to walk through this short, shallow canyon, and with its pink scalloped walls it’s a beauty.
The Fire Wave
This is one of the most gorgeous spots in the Valley of Fire. White and red zebra print sandstone creates a great photo opportunity. It’s a 1.5-mile round trip hike out to the Fire Wave.
This 1.25-mile loop hike was our favorite hike in the park. It’s also the most challenging, with a descent at the beginning and then a climb back up to the parking lot at the end. Even so, it’s not difficult, and it’s a great place to bring kids to let them climb over boulders on the trail and walk through a narrow slot canyon.
The easiest way to do this hike is to go clockwise, starting and ending in the car park. By doing it this way, you walk down the relatively steep, rocky path and later walk up a more gentle incline on a singletrack trail.
Located on the Valley of Fire Highway, this is a quick stop to see a cluster of seven sandstone rock formations.
Climb the staircase at Atlatl Rock to see the best display of petroglyphs in the Valley of Fire.
This large arch in the sandstone can be seen from the Scenic Loop Road near Atlatl Rock.
Also located on the Scenic Loop Road is the Fire Cave and Windstone Arch, two more arches that may be worth making the short hike to if photography is your hobby.
The Valley of Fire is located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. It takes roughly one hour to drive here. Most of the drive is on Interstate 15, a wide highway. Once you turn onto the Valley of Fire Highway, it becomes a two-lane road through a desert landscape.
To enter the park, it costs $10 per vehicle, which you will pay at the fee booth before entering. You will be given a map of the park with suggested spots to visit.
For more information, visit the official Valley of Fire website.
Do you have plans to visit the Valley of Fire? If you have any questions or suggestions, comment below!