Valley of Fire

12 Best Things to do in the Valley of Fire, Nevada

Julie United States 32 Comments

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.

Best Things to do in the Valley of Fire

Here is a map with the main attractions and hiking trails in the park.

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Enjoy the Landscapes

Valley of Fire Drive

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!

Elephant Rock

Located next to the east entrance, this arch rock formation resembles an elephant, with a little bit of imagination.

The Beehives

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.

Beehives Valley of Fire

Beehives View

Tim and Kara VOF

Mouse’s Tank

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.

Mouses Tank Trail

Petroglyphs Valley of Fire

Rainbow Vista

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.

Panoramic View

Tim 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

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.

Pink Canyon

Pastel Canyon

Valley of Fire 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.

Fire Wave

Fire Wave Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire Wave

White Domes

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.

White Domes Hike

The Professionals Valley of Fire

Hiking Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire Slot Canyon

Slot Canyon Nevada

Valley of Fire Hiking Trail

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.

Seven Sisters

Located on the Valley of Fire Highway, this is a quick stop to see a cluster of seven sandstone rock formations.

Atlatl Rock

Climb the staircase at Atlatl Rock to see the best display of petroglyphs in the Valley of Fire.

Atlatl Rock

Arch Rock

This large arch in the sandstone can be seen from the Scenic Loop Road near Atlatl Rock.

Fire Cave

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.

Top 5 Favorite Experiences

If you are short on time and want to see the best of the Valley of Fire, here are our five favorite spots:

  • Fire Wave: This 1.5 mile hike takes you out to one of the most photogenic parts of the Valley of Fire.
  • Mouse’s Tank Road: The main road through the park. There’s an amazing view around every turn.
  • Pink Canyon (Pastel Canyon): A short but very pretty walk through a pastel pink slot canyon.
  • The Beehives:  Scramble up to the top of the Beehives for a panoramic view over the Valley of Fire.
  • White Domes Hike:  Another short hike that’s fun for all ages. 

Getting Here

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.

Important Information about the Valley of Fire

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. 

If you plan to camp at the Valley of Fire, the cost is $20 per night.

The Valley of Fire is open year round from sunrise to sunset. The visitor center is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. 

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!

More Information for Your Trip to Las Vegas:

Are you planning a trip through the United States? Read all of our articles about the USA in our United States Travel Guide.

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Comments 32

  1. I have one day to hike near Las Vegas. I am staying in Las Vegas on the strip. If you had one day to hike, would you pick Red Rock or Valley of Fire. I know Valley of Fire is a little farther but not that far. We are recreational hikers and usually hike at the most 3-4 hours at a time.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Deena. I would pick the Valley of Fire. It’s a spectacular place, with the Fire Wave and Mouse Tank Road and all of the rock formations. Red Rock Canyon is great too, but it just doesn’t have the same “wow” factor as the Valley of Fire. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

    2. Either would be great, but I agree that Valley of Fire offers more amazing scenery. Whichever you choose, go early! They tend to get busy after 11:00am-ish, when the tourist buses start coming; specially at Red Rock.

  2. Hello! Thanks for sharing your adventure and recommendations. Loved the pictures that you took. And wondered what time during the day you went to get such good light? Probably early in the morning?

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes, it was first thing in the morning. We probably got to the Valley of Fire no later than 9 am. Plus, it was a cloudy day, which makes photography easier. Cheers, Julie

  3. Dude! Awesome stuff. Please keep writing more things like this. I really like the fact you went so in depth on this and really explored the topic as much as you did. I read a lot of blogs but usually, it’s pretty shallow content. Thanks for upping the game here!

  4. Thanks for the tips. Really enjoyed our visit and hike due to your information. Very detailed and spot on. Loved pastel canyon

  5. Hello!
    Can you recommend a great spot to go star gazing in or near the park? We are planning a visit next May, and hope to see as many stars, etc as possible!

    Thank you,
    Cheryl

    1. Post
      Author

      I honestly don’t know much about stargazing from the Valley of Fire. You are not that far from Las Vegas so I wonder how dark the sky will be. But on a quick search, there are companies that will take you from Vegas to the Valley of Fire, so it must be pretty good. The park is open sunrise to sunset, so if you are stargazing, you will be here past sunset. I recommend emailing the park directly to see what they recommend and if you can be in the park past sunset for stargazing. Cheers, Julie

  6. Hi Julie and family!

    You do such a great job, thank you!

    I was in Cinque Terre in February and studied your hikes. Alas most of the inter village trails were closed…but I was SUPER excited when I saw your posting my search results.

    You are starting to be the best travel friend I’ve never met 😉

    1. Post
      Author

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