A virtual trip through the splendid, awe-inspiring Valley of Fire State Park in Overton, Nevada.

The parkway winds through the valley floor in the Valley of Fire State Park, 2010.

The parkway winds through the valley floor in the Valley of Fire State Park, 2010. 

  • Directions from Las Vegas, Nevada:

Take I-15 North to Exit #75, State Route 40. Make a right onto S.R. 40, Valley of Fire Highway and continue straight. There will be a fork in the road roughly 3 miles from I-15, keep left. Valley of Fire Highway will lead straight into Valley of Fire State Park.

The park offers camping, hiking, cycling and picnicking among the most favorite activities. There are limited areas for over night RV camping. Check out the Valley of Fire State Park official website for more information.

  • The Drive to Valley of Fire State Park

On the way to Valley of Fire this sene was in the rear view mirror, so I had to pull of and snap a pic. January 2010.

On the way to Valley of Fire this scene was in the rear view mirror, so I had to pull off and snap a pic. January 2010.

The drive to the entrance of the park offers excellent views of the surrounding valley. Once you exit I-15, the mountain range that separates I-15 from State Route 93 is in your rearview mirror, it’s worth a five minute stop by the side of the road to see it looming behind you.

 

  • Descent to the Valley of Fire State Park

Close up of the Moon rise in the Valley of Fire State Park, 2010

Close up of the Moon rise in the Valley of Fire State Park, 2010

After the short drive you will come upon a sharp right turn which is really on top of the valley rim. To the left and in front of you is the valley. This perspective is excellent for some photos providing the time of day is correct. The red, iron ore deposits are brilliant in this area. The contrast between a usually deep blue sky and the red of the sandstone is just a preview of what awaits inside the park itself.

There are a few spots to pull off to take a picture, but please think safety first as this is the main entrance to the park and with the winding road, visibility is limited.

  • Baby Elephant rock formation

A rock formation in the Valley of Fire State park that resembles a baby elephant. Elsewhere in the park is a large formation named "Elephant Rock". January 2010.

A rock formation in the Valley of Fire State park that resembles a baby elephant, January 2010.

This is a very unofficial name for this rock formation. There is an official “Elephant Rock” formation further in the park. I was editing my photos when I came across this one and it just looks like a baby elephant, or another “Elephant Rock” formation in the making.

Very near the baby elephant there is a nice rounded out area of the rock where you can hike into. It is really close to the dirt road so it is no problem at all to hike it in there. Outside of the typical loose rock and sand, it is not a hard hike at all.

  • A Perfect Mountain Drive

Sunset on the parkway in the Valley of Fire State Park, 2010.

Sunset on the parkway in the Valley of Fire State Park, 2010.

Possibly the best mountain drive in Nevada. The parkway seems a perfect fit to the surrounding landscape and mountains. From the visitor center to the apex of the mountain there are deep maroon and red colors in the rocks on both sides of you. This road also goes to “Mousetank” rock formation which for whatever reason I have never visited  That is something that is very common I feel, no matter how much time or how many times you visit Valley of Fire, you can never see it all. There are just too many photo ops here.

  • In Conclusion 

At the base of the balancing rock formation in the Valley of Fire State Park, 2010.

At the base of the balancing rock formation in the Valley of Fire State Park, 2010.

Hopefully these little tastes of Valley of Fire State Park photos have sparked your interest. The park is really an amazing place to visit. It is close enough to Las Vegas that you can do it in an easy day trip. If you are coming to the park from I-15 you can take the Northshore Road or Route 169 back to Las Vegas. The route borders Lake Mead and goes through the “Bowl of Fire” which also has many stunning views.

Any time of year is the right time to visit the park. If you are going in the summer be sure to have water on hand just in case. The temperatures in the park spike above 100 degrees during July and August. If you are lucky enough to see a rain storm in Vegas on your trip, I suggest a trip to the park right after. The rain combines with the sandstone to darken the already amazing color found in the park.

The colors seem to flow from the Rainbow Rock over the valley floor. January 2010.

The colors seem to flow from the Rainbow Rock over the valley floor. January 2010.