The Valley of Fire State Park is an easy drive from Las Vegas, Nevada, and features beautiful rock formations and canyons. Here are some tips for visiting!
Valley of Fire!
It's an evocative name. It sounds intense. Hot. Intriguing.
And it is all of those things. But fear not: if you go at the right time of year (more on that later), you're in for a great experience.
Our recent trip out west to Utah's Zion and Bryce Canyon started from the Las Vegas airport. So where else could we visit on the way to our major destinations? Valley of Fire in Nevada!
If you're hoping to check this park out, here are some tips that will help you plan.
Getting to Valley of Fire State Park
This state park is about an hour northeast of Las Vegas. Stock up on whatever supplies you'll need before you leave the city, as there aren't many places to shop on the way.
The park is about two-and-a-half hours southwest of Zion. (If you’re traveling to or from Zion, the parks are in different time zones, so plan accordingly.)
Coming from the Zion direction, you have an opportunity in Mesquite, Nevada, to do a little grocery shopping if you need to.
Fees to Enter
The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and there’s a $10 entry fee, or $15 for non-Nevada vehicles.
If you arrive before the park ranger arrives at the entry station, make sure to use the kiosk to pay for your entry ticket, and place the ticket on your vehicle dash.
Valley of Fire Camping
Valley of Fire has two campgrounds, Atlatl and Arch Rock. Camping is first-come, first-served, with no reservations.
These are gorgeous campsites nestled within the red rocks.
When we visited in May, the park’s peak season was ending and the campgrounds were fairly empty (I presume because of the heat). However, in peak season these spots are popular, so if you’re planning on camping here, arrive early in the afternoon and (ideally) try for a weekday.
There are also Bureau of Land Management free camping spots nearby, and a handful of somewhat nearby hotels/motels.
Best Times to Visit
This is a park that’s considerably more comfortable in late fall through early spring. Temperatures get hot enough that some trails are seasonally closed due to high heat.
In 2023, the Fire Wave, Seven Wonders and Pastel Canyon trails are closed from June 1 until October 1.
When we visited in mid-May, some trails already had a heat advisory warning (but were still open).
The day we visited, the high was supposed to reach 100°F. We still wanted to hike, so we got up early and entered the park at sunrise (around 5:30 a.m.). That gave us about three hours of pleasant hiking weather with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
Hiking at Valley of Fire State Park
This park has some incredible hiking trails! Most of the trails are relatively short and either easy or moderately difficult, although there are a handful of longer ones.
On our visit we hiked to the Fire Wave, a gorgeous rock formation that’s similar to Arizona’s (larger) Wave. We also hiked through the slot canyon on the White Domes Trail and on the Rainbow Vista Trail to see the Fire Canyon overlook.
What Gear Should I Bring for Hiking?
Water! We each carried water in an Osprey water bladder inside a backpack.
I also like to hike in this Sahara shade hoodie to help keep my arms and neck protected from the sun.
What Can I See Without Hiking?
Not up for a hike?
This park is really gorgeous even from the road! The drive through the park is scenic and it reminded me of driving through Arches.
There are also some scenic overlooks, and a few points of interest close to the road, such as the petroglyphs on Atlatl rock, the beehive rock formations, and the Indian marble rocks.
The Beehives are fascinating formations with grooves running in crisscrossing directions.
Atlatl Rock is a huge boulder jutting up vertically, named for a type of throwing stick depicted in the petroglyphs. You can see these carvings if you make the climb up the staircase.
And Indian marbles are little rounded mineral deposits that can be found on rock surfaces, or even on the ground.
All of these things can be seen without straying too far from your vehicle.
How Much Time Should I Spend at Valley of Fire State Park?
There are a lot of neat things to see here, and if you have time, a full day (or several days) would be amazing.
However, this is also a relatively small park, and we felt like we were able to see a good bit of it in one morning.
We bought the Valley of Fire State Park Adventure Guide (a tourist map) ahead of time. I was glad we did, since we got there and started hiking before the visitor center opened.
This state park made for a gorgeous gateway to the rest of our trip! Have you visited? Let us know what landmarks were your favorite.