Julie United States 65 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.

Elephant Rock

Bill45/shutterstock.com

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.

While in the Valley of Fire, please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

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, also called Windstone Arch, another arch that may be worth making the short hike to if you like caves and getting a bit off-the-beaten-path.

Windstone Arch

Edwin Verin/shutterstock.com

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.

If you don’t have plans to rent a car during your visit, there are numerous day trip tours to choose from, like this private tour from Las Vegas or this guide hiking tour from Las Vegas.

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. Beginning April 1, 2021, there will be an additional $5 fee for out of state vehicles.

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.

Tours of the Valley of Fire

 


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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Valley of Fire Nevada

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Comments 65

  1. thank you for such great info! I’ll be renting a car in Las Vegas and headed toward Zion. How long of a detour do you think a quick detour this would take? How long to drive from main highway. I’m most interested to see pink canyon

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      If you are mostly interested in seeing the Pink Canyon, you could zip through the Valley of Fire in 2 hours (including driving time from the highway, which is roughly 30 minutes one way). With a total of four to five hours, you could add in the entire drive through the park, the Fire Wave, and one more short hike. Cheers, Julie

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      Hello Josie. No, unfortunately, there aren’t any wheelchair friendly trails, not that I can recall. The trails are either very sandy or rocky. You can get some nice views from the main road through the park, but unfortunately I think the Valley of Fire is best seen from the short hiking trails. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi, I’m so impressed by all the hikes you’ve done as a family. Thank you for such a comprehensive description and information relating to each place you’ve listed. Would you recommend arriving early at Valley of Fire to avoid the crowds?

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      Absolutely! The Valley of Fire has become a popular spot in recent years so first thing in the morning is your best chance to avoid the crowds. Have a good time! Cheers, Julie

  3. This is such a great guide! We hope to visit this weekend. I am guessing there is no food in the park. We are staying in hotels in the strip, so will be hard to make our own sandwiches (Which we normally do when going to a park). Do you recommend any places on the way from Vegas to there to pick up sandwiches or box lunch? Thanks!

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      Hello Felicia. I’m glad you like our guide! As you drive out of Vegas, you will pass lots of fast food restaurants, Subways, grocery stores, etc. Before leaving your hotel, search for a grocery store along Route 15 and make a quick stop here for food. Have fun!! Cheers, Julie

  4. 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.

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      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.

  5. 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?

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      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

  6. 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!

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

  8. 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

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      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

  9. 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 😉

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  10. Hi Julie. This looks fantastic!
    Question…is the order of sites that you list above the same order in which you experienced them? Could this be used as an itinerary for roughly 4 hours in the park?
    Thank you in advance!

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      Hello Jay. Good question! How I wrote this, it would be a little out of order to visit these sites as I have them listed. Here’s the order of what we did: Beehives, Pink Canyon, Fire Wave, White Domes hike, Rainbow Vista, Mouse’s Tank, Atlatl, and Arch Rock and then you can see the Fire Cave. Once back on Fire Canyon road, you can see the Seven Sisters and Elephant Rock. We first visted the sites that we thought would be the most crowded, and since we were here in the morning, we did get to see several places relatively crowd free. And then midday we visited the “less spectacular” spots. If you are very fast, you can see all of this in 4 hours, but you will have to move fast. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

  11. Hi Julie
    Thank you so much on Grand Canyon hike
    I saved the map S. Kaibab- Bright Angel and following your footnote

    Too bad your family won’t be there while I’m there this Sunday
    You could be my guided

    Will keep you posted when I’m return
    *Zion 50k is my race this Sat.

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  12. I’ll be on my way from Vegas airport to Zion race this wkend (4/12-4/15)
    Stumbled to your website and find out it’s very helpful I’ll checkout Valley of Fire on Monday. I have about 6hrs to explore there hope I can get to hike all the spots you’re recommended

    One more thing… Grand Canyon South rim I’ll be there all day on Sunday..any recommendations to hike in & out Phantom Ranch?
    I plan camp in rental car (I’m frugal)
    Is it safe and allowable inside the park??

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      Hello Mindy. Good luck in your race! I don’t know anything about camping out in a car in the Grand Canyon. You might have to do a little more research on this. 6 hours should be enough time in the Valley of Fire…our favorite 3 spots are Pink Canyon, the Fire Wave, and White Domes. As for hiking to Phantom Ranch and back…make sure you start very early in the morning (at sunrise). I assume that since you are racing in Zion you have a high level of physical fitness. In order to hike to the river and back in one day you need to be in great shape. Go down the South Kaibab and up Bright Angel because you can get water on the Bright Angel Trail. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the link to our article on this hike. Happy hiking! Cheers, Julie

  13. Super excited to try our family vacation in your suggested style. One question about this Valley of Fire and the other nearby Red Rock Canyon hikes: will we have cell signal to be able to access your guidance and suggestions and maps?

    Thank you for your awesome site!

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      For Red Rock Canyon, you might have cell service. Not so sure about the Valley of Fire since it is more remote. However, you can click the star on the map in this article, it gets added to your Google account. Open up the map on your phone in the morning while in Vegas and you will cache the map (just don’t close Google Maps on your phone). All of these sites are on the park map are well labeled (except for Pastel Canyon) so that can be your fall back. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

  14. My sister and I used this article to have an amazing day at Valley of Fire. Your tips were invaluable. Well done & thank you!

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      If you will be driving to Canada, take Route 15 north through Salt Lake City. If you will be flying, the closest airport is in Las Vegas. Cheers, Julie

  15. Hello. I’m planning to visit Valley of Fire in a few weeks, but I have a question – notice I’ve never driven a car in America – when I drive to Valley of Fire (via GPS) will I then automatically come to the starting point like the information center? I get the fee and all that – but when I then start my driving around the park is there signs ect to show where to stop for the different sights and also when you go on the trails, are they starting from the parking spot and is there signs along the trail to make sure im on the right path? more like I definitely dont wanna get lost in a desert haha. AMAZING photos btw!

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      Hello Sandie. Yes, it’s very easy to get around the Valley of Fire. You will first pay your fee at the ticket booth and I believe they give you a map with your entrance fee. There are signs for all of the main viewpoints and hikes along the roads. The only thing in this post that does not have a sign on the road is the Pink (Pastel) Canyon, but I give the coordinates for the parking location in this article. You can also save all of these points on your GPS or on Google Maps like I did on the map in this post. Once you are there, you’ll see how easy it is to get around. Almost everything is located on Mouse’s Tank Road. The hiking trails are well marked and easy to follow. Enjoy…it’s a beautiful spot! Cheers, Julie

  16. Thank you for the tips! I have a conference in Vegas in about a week, and my husband is tagging along. We’re flying in a day early, and we plan to visit Valley of Fire. Your blog has become my travel go-to!

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      1. After reading this post, I also read about your experience at Red Rocks. Did you experience any crowds or traffic at the Valley of Fire like you did at RR? It will probably be noon-ish before we can get there (crossing fingers that our flights are all on schedule!!). Thanks for all your great info!

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          We visited the Valley of Fire on December 26 and Red Rocks on December 27, which was mid-week in 2017. Red Rocks was much more crowded than the Valley of Fire. We were in the Valley of Fire for most of the day and crowd levels were relatively low. I think Red Rocks gets more crowded because it is so close to Vegas and more well-known. But I also think that the word is out and the Valley of Fire is getting to be more popular. Even so, I think you will be OK at the Valley of Fire. Just keep in mind that it will probably be more crowded on a weekend day than a week day. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

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