Las Vegas, Nevada may be a gambling and party destination for many people, but if you’re looking for suggestions on how to spend some time off the strip, keep reading!
Sin City is the jumping off point for several state and National Parks, including Valley of Fire State Park, Death Valley National Park, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Grand Canyon National Park and the Hoover Dam.
This trip, we decided to spend a couple hours in Valley of Fire State Park on our way in to Vegas from Page, Arizona. We hit the park at golden hour and it was not crowded at all. Unfortunately because the sun was setting, we basically just got to do a couple park loop drives and didn’t get to hike to the points that I’d wanted to see, so we’ll definitely be back the next time we’re in the area!
Valley of Fire is just under an hour outside of Las Vegas and costs $10 for out of state visitors. According to the park’s web site, all Nevada state parks will require a reservation to enter beginning in 2023. You can read more about that upcoming change on the Nevada State Parks web site.
Things to see when you visit Valley of Fire:
- Valley of Fire State Park Sign: This fun photo op is close to Elephant Rock just after one of the park entrances. It’s a picturesque view with the gorgeous red rocks behind you.
- Elephant Rock: Right next to the east entrance of the park, this elephant shaped rock formation is a short hike from the parking lot.
- Fire Wave: I am so sad we didn’t get to see this one! This newer hike takes you to some gorgeous striped rocks that look somewhat similar to The Wave in Arizona. This one doesn’t require a lottery drawing to see, so if you’re up for a 1.5 mile hike, it’s well worth it.
- Drive Mouse Tank Road: the main road through the park that you’ll definitely want to drive! Stunning views of the rocks, mountains and the curvy road you just drove from both directions. There are designated parking areas along the road so you can pull off to get pictures – make sure that you only park in these areas to keep you and the other motorists safe. Mouse Tank road is 5.7 miles one way.
We also saw some bighorn sheep while driving through the park, but there wasn’t a good place to pull over to take a picture. Be on the lookout for other wildlife – the park is home to bobcats, snakes, jackrabbits, fox, desert tortoise, and many others.
Things to know before you go:
- Park hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Anyone not camping after 4:30 p.m. can be ticketed for trespassing, so start making your way out of the park before sunset.
- If you want to camp overnight, there is a $20 fee on top of your entrance fee and an additional $10 for sites with hookups.
- There is only one main road through the park, so you should have no problems with navigation.
- GPS likely won’t work out here, but just follow the park road and you will be able to make your way out without a map.
- Weather can be very hot in the summer, so take plenty of water.
- For more park information, check Travel Nevada’s web site for the latest park news.
Valley of Fire State Park is the perfect day trip from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas strip. While it has become more popular over the past few years, it’s still a relatively quiet park with some amazing activities if you enjoy hiking and beautiful scenery.