Visiting Valley of Fire State Park makes you feel like you’ve stepped onto a different planet, but in reality it’s less than an hour away from Las Vegas! There are so many epic things to do in Valley of Fire State Park. With towering red rocks, scenic roads, pink canyons and Bighorn Sheep everywhere you turn – this park should definitely be added to your bucket list! Keep reading and start planning your adventure.
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Valley of Fire State Park: Trip Overview
- Nights: 1
- PTO Days Needed: 0-1
- Cost: $
How to Get to Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is located about 50 minutes from Las Vegas, or about 5.5 hours from Los Angeles. If you are visiting from Las Vegas, I definitely recommend renting a car and going on your own instead of with one of the tours!
Where to Stay at Valley of Fire State Park
There is really only 1 lodging option that is super close to Valley of Fire State Park – The North Shore Inn at Lake Mead. In my opinion, this is the most convenient place to stay (and is where I stayed). The hotel is clean, comfortable and affordable. There are not many places nearby, however there is a good Mexican restaurant right across the street from the hotel.
Another option if you want to stay in the Valley of Fire area is to camp! There are two campgrounds at Valley of Fire State Park: Atlatl Campground and Arch Rock Campground. Both are first-come-first-serve.
Alternatively, you could stay in Las Vegas area and drive 50 minutes to Valley of Fire State Park. One of my favorite hotels to stay at in Las Vegas is The Aria. It’s super nice and is in a great location on The Strip. You could also try a VRBO, like this cute 3-bedroom house with a pool!
How Much Time to Spend at Valley of Fire State Park
All of the sites in Valley of Fire State Park are close together, and for the most part, the best things to do in Valley of Fire State Park are just stop off the side of the road, or a quick stroll through some red rocks. Based on this, you can easily see the best sights in the park in 1 day.
Best Time to Visit Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is open year-round, however temperatures can get SO hot in the summer time that even short 1-mile hikes can be unbearable. I recommend visiting Valley of Fire State Park in the Fall, Winter or Spring to have cooler temps. Visit in the Winter (or on a weekday) to avoid the crowds!
What to Pack for Valley of Fire State Park
- Nano Puff Jacket (packs up small and keeps you warm when it gets chilly at night!)
- The COLDEST Water Bottle (seriously – it stays colder than Hydroflask!)
- Hiking Boots (these are my fave)
- REI Soft Cooler (I have this and love it!)
- Cliff Bar Energy Chews (great to give you a boost of energy on hikes!)
- Sony A6000 (I’m just starting to learn photography, but this is the camera I’ve been using! I love it)
- Day Pack
- SmartWool Hiking Socks
Best Things to Do in Valley of Fire State Park
There are so many epic things to do in Valley of Fire! I’ve listed my favorites below. Note that Valley of Fire State Park is dog-friendly and cost $10 per car to enter.
Mouse’s Tank Road
Valley of Fire is home to some epic road views. The one that is particularly famous is the view from Mouse’s Tank Road, looking back at the mountain peak in the background. To get this shot, I recommend going at sunrise to have softer lighting but mainly because you can avoid the crowds and have the place to yourself with barely any cars on the road! Pull off on the side of the road and climb up on the surrounding rocks to get the best view!
Park in the small lot and hike about 0.3 miles to the Elephant Rock! Supposedly at a certain angle this rock looks like an Elephant… but I have to admit – I didn’t really see it. It’s still a cool natural arch though, and worth the stop!
Walking through Pink Canyon was one of my favorite things to do in Valley of Fire. This one is a bit lesser-known and there are no parking lots or signs leading to it. I was able to put “Pink Canyon” in my offline Maps.Me map (I definitely recommend downloading this app for your travels!). If this doesn’t work for you, just follow Mouse’s Tank Road and right after the 4th “Dip” sign, you will see Wash sign #5. Park right off the road here, and walk along the natural trail. The Pink Canyon is just a quick walk from the road. And yes, the rocks really are this pink! It’s such a cool spot.
The Fire Wave is definitely one of the top things to do in Valley of Fire State Park. To get here, you can either park in the lot at the trailhead (1 mile hike), OR just simply keep walking after you go through Pink Canyon and it will be on your left in about a half-mile.
The Fire Wave looks like a mini-version of The Wave in Arizona, except you don’t need a permit to hike this one! We spent almost an hour here, just hanging out, eating some lunch, and taking pictures! The colors that form the wave-like image on the rocks are simply amazing.
White Domes Trail
Along this 1.1 mile loop trail, you will encounter some cool sandstone rock formations, as well as a super narrow slot canyon! The slot canyon was my favorite part. It’s so cool!
Check out the 1.1-mile Rainbow Vista trail for some magnificent views of the red rocks. The trail is flat and mostly sandy. We even encountered a group of Bighorn Sheep on the very first part of the hike! These sheep seem to be prevalent throughout the park, which was a cool surprise!
This stop is quick but super interesting! At Atlatl Rock, you’ll find a huge boulder with a 250-foot metal staircase leading up to to the top. Climb up here and check out the ancient petroglyphs etched into the side!
Just 5 minutes past Atlatl Rock, you’ll come across Arch Rock. This little natural rock arch reminds me of a smaller version of something you would see at Arches National Park in Utah!
This Post Has 2 Comments
For Pink Canyon- Wash sign #5 isn’t there anymore just FYI. Visited there Jan 2023.
Thank you for your article- it was soooooo helpful in planning this amazing adventure!!
ah, thanks for letting me know! So glad you had a great trip and that my post helped you plan it! 🙂