Valley of Fire is a rugged and diverse landscape filled with picturesque hiking trails and unmissable photo spots near Las Vegas, Nevada. We’re going to walk you through the 15 best things to do in Valley of Fire State Park, including one of the best hikes in the US and some truly stunning photography opportunities.
We spent two amazing days exploring every inch of the spectacular Valley of Fire landscape and we can’t wait to show you all of the top places so you can start planning your trip today!
Here’s what we will show you in this guide:
- Directions, logistics and maps
- Entrance fees and passes
- List of the 15 best things you can do on a visit to Valley Of Fire
- Best things for families and couples to do in the park
- One day Valley Of Fire itinerary example
Let’s get right into the most fun things you can do in Valley Of Fire State Park in Nevada!
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What Is Valley Of Fire?
Valley of Fire State Park is a 46,000 acre predominantly red sandstone landscape formed millions of years ago by relentlessly moving sand dunes. It is Nevada’s oldest and original State Park.
Located just 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert, Valley of Fire is best known for vibrant, swirling and exceptionally striking rock formations which appear as though on fire under intense sunlight.
Is Valley Of Fire Open?
Valley of Fire State Park is open seven days a week, 365 days a year. Visitors are permitted to hike trails between sunrise and sunset daily.
However, the park temporarily closed in 2022 during the summer months between June 1st and September 30th for safety reasons. Intense heat can cause problems for hikers here in summer.
It is important to note these closures did not occur the year before so it could be a one off due to excessive heat. However, to avoid disappointment we advise against visiting Valley of Fire in summer.
You should have no problems visiting between October and May but it is still vital to carry plenty of water every time you plan to hike.
What Is The Single Best Thing To Do In Valley Of Fire State Park?
If you only have a few hours to spend in the park and just want to know the most unmissable thing to do when you are in Valley of Fire, it is without doubt hiking to the Fire Wave.
The trail is best hiked at dawn in time for sunrise as the colors are most remarkable. However, the Fire Wave hike will still blow you away no matter what time of day you arrive at the alien-like geologic formation.
Don’t forget to read our complete guide to hiking the Fire Wave Trail next.
Our Valley Of Fire Experience
We are all aboard the travel, hiking and photography train, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit the insanely photogenic Valley of Fire State Park during one of our American southwest road trips.
After leaving Death Valley National Park and spending a full day hiking in Red Rock Canyon, we had a few days to relax and enjoy Las Vegas.
On the way to Zion National Park we spent one full day with a sunset, followed by a sunrise and another day exploring the magic and beauty inside Valley of Fire State Park.
We hiked every trail and took far too many photos! But it was worth it and now we have fond memories with a handful of photos we will put on our studio wall one day.
Having traveled the US extensively, we would definitely rate Valley of Fire as one of the best “under the radar” places to visit in the southwest.
How To Get To Valley Of Fire From Las Vegas
Driving from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park is easy and straightforward. The distance is around 50 miles and should take you around 1 hour.
Whether you are staying at the top, middle or bottom of the Las Vegas Strip, all you have to do is get on I-15 north and drive 50 miles to Valley of Fire west entrance kiosk.
You will either take Tropicana Ave, W Flamingo Rd or Spring Mountain Rd to I-15 from the Strip.
Here are the exact directions you need to follow:
- Plug “Beehives” or “Fire Cave” into your Maps App (the two stops closest to west entrance)
- Follow the quickest route to I-15 based on live traffic conditions
- Drive 38 miles on I-15
- Turn onto Valley of Fire Hwy at Crystal and drive a further 15 miles to the entrance kiosk
How To Get To Valley Of Fire From Zion
Driving from Zion to Valley of Fire State Park is longer but even easier because you won’t have to deal with Las Vegas traffic. The distance is 130 miles and that should take you around 2 hours 15 minutes.
From Springdale (Zion), you need to head for I-15 south and drive to Valley of Fire east entrance kiosk. Note that you will be entering from the opposite side of the park near Overton, Nevada.
Here are the exact directions you need to follow:
- Plug “Elephant Rock” into your Maps App (the closest stop to east entrance)
- Follow UT-9 for 32 miles and merge onto I-15 S
- Drive 75 miles on I-15 S
- Turn onto NV-169 / N Moapa Valley Blvd and pass through Overton
- Take a right turn onto Valley of Fire Hwy and 2 miles later arrive at east entrance
How Much Is Entry To Valley Of Fire State Park?
Entry to Valley of Fire State Park costs $10.00 for in state Nevada residents and $15.00 for out of state visitors for single day use on a per vehicle basis.
If you want to visit on two or more consecutive days, you will have to pay day use fees for entrance every day. Fees are paid upon entry at both the west and east entrance fee stations.
Here’s the full list of prices:
- Day use entrance fee: $10.00 per vehicle (Non-NV Vehicles: $15.00 per vehicle)
- Camping: $20.00 per vehicle, per night (Non-NV Vehicles: $25.00 per vehicle, per night) + $10.00 for sites with utility hook ups
- Bike in: $2.00 per bike
Can You Use Any Passes?
There are annual permits available for Nevada State Parks including Valley of Fire but you have to apply online at a cost of $100 with parks.nv.gov. Purchasing annual permits would only be relevant for locals or those who will return visit frequently.
You cannot use your America the Beautiful Pass at Valley of Fire State Park. This is not a “national” park/monument etc, it is a “state” park so the interagency pass is not accepted.
Important: Nevada State Parks are rolling out a timed reservation system and it appears as though this will be implemented at Valley of Fire in 2023. Keep an eye on this because you will have to pre-book a time slot for the day you wish to visit the park.
Driving Valley Of Fire Highway And Mouse’s Tank Road
When you arrive to the park, you will follow two roads. It is nice and simple.
Running west to east is Valley of Fire Hwy, which includes around half of the top things to do in the park. Running north to south is a dead end road called Mouse’s Tank Rd and this has the other half of top things to do at Valley of Fire.
Both roads are slow, paved and single lane on each side.
The only two short spur roads you will take are the paved Fire Canyon Road and the gravel loop to Arch Rock. All roads are suitable for 2WD vehicles.
Parking At Trailheads
Most trailheads in Valley of Fire have plenty of parking available.
The more popular spots like Fire Wave and White Domes have more parking, whereas the lesser known places have fewer spaces but also fewer cars visiting.
We never struggled to park at any of the things to do listed in this guide but we visited Valley of Fire on a weekday at the end of November. Congestion may be a problem if you visit on a weekend or holiday.
15 Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire is one of our personal top picks for best day trips from Las Vegas and we can’t recommend it highly enough.
Now you know everything about logistics and costs, let’s get into what you should do when you arrive to the park.
Note: Our top things to do in Valley of Fire State Park are listed in no particular order, but we will piece it all together for you later in our example itinerary.
1. Hike The Amazing Fire Wave Trail
What Is The Fire Wave?
Fire Wave is a stunning display of nature, geology and time. Smooth domed rock formations with incredibly photogenic layers of red and white sandstone cover a small area at the end of a short 1.5 miles roundtrip hiking trail with just 250 feet elevation gain to reach the Fire Wave.
Vivid colors in the formations are beautifully dark before sunrise, then they come to life in a breath of fire as the sun rises and illuminates the sandstone. Sunset is another great time to see the Fire Wave, but it isn’t quite as special as sunrise.
Why Is Hiking Fire Wave One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
The hike to Fire Wave is short, easy and crosses varied terrain. It is perfect for the whole family, but it is especially attractive to hobbyist and professional photographers. This is by far the most popular place to visit in the park and we’re sure you will enjoy what you see.
Have you heard of legendary hike The Wave in Arizona? Well, Fire Wave in Valley of Fire has some similarities but on a much smaller scale and with its own special features. If you only do one thing in Valley of Fire, make it this hike!
2. Take The Iconic Photo On Mouse’s Tank Road
What Is The Mouse’s Tank Road Photo?
If you google Valley of Fire and click images, you are going to see two things; Fire Wave and a long narrow road leading through a canyon towards a mountain. That shot is the famous Mouse’s Tank Road photo. We had the photo above published along with several others in a Gestalten book.
Park at Rainbow Vista, cross the road carefully and walk south towards the long road. The photographer stays close to the parking lot (ideally with a zoom lens) and the subject continues down to find a tall rock. Subject stands on the rock, photographer zooms in, lines up the frame and voila.
Why Is The Mouse’s Tank Photo One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
The best photo in the park outside of Fire Wave is an unmissable stop on your Valley of Fire itinerary. It takes no time at all from the parking area to grab this shot, even if you’re in a rush. Just be sure to take care when traversing the uneven rocks as you set up your frames.
Every photographer, instagram pro or social media star visiting the park simply has to take home several iterations of this iconic photo. Enjoy!
3. Hike The Fun White Domes Loop
What Is The White Domes Loop?
White Domes Loop is a thoroughly enjoyable and easy 1 mile roundtrip hiking trail featuring several surprises. This loop is suitable for the whole family and only contains 200 feet of elevation gain.
Hiking clockwise, you will begin by cutting through two canyon walls on a sandy trail before descending through a narrow and rocky path. Surrounded by intriguing rock formations, you will follow the trail into a cool slot canyon and eventually climb slowly back to the parking area.
Why Is The White Domes Loop Hike One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
White Domes is a fun hike with plenty of awesome rock formations to photograph and explore. The razor thin slot canyon is totally unexpected and adds an element of excitement to the trail.
If you have plenty of time to spend in Valley of Fire, you have to include this quick hike to your itinerary. It is arguably the second best hike in the park after Fire Wave.
4. Take Your Camera Into Pink Canyon
What Is The Pink Canyon?
Pink (or Pastel) Canyon is a short, deep and snaking canyon filled with radiant colors spanning the spectrum from pink to blue. The curving formations are smooth, sandy and filled with bright patterns.
You can access Pink Canyon from Fire Wave by continuing beyond the end of Fire Wave hike and heading southwest. Alternatively, there are a handful of roadside parking spaces near the entrance to Pink Canyon. Use “Pastel (Pink) Canyon Trail” on google maps for the parking location.
Why Is Pink Canyon One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
Pink Canyon is probably the most photogenic formation in the park after Fire Wave. You can slalom through the canyon on a narrow sandy path, looking up at stunning patterns on both sides.
Photographers and anyone who enjoys geology or mother nature is going to have a blast in Pink Canyon. You’re going to need spare batteries and a cleared SD card for Nevada’s oldest State Park!
5. Spot The Bighorn Sheep At Arch Rock
What Is Arch Rock?
Arch Rock is a naturally formed arch close to the Valley of Fire west entrance and campground. Wind and rain over millions of years have carved the photogenic arch, which is sat atop a rocky mound. You can access the arch via a gravel and narrow road, with roadside gravel parking.
The best photos of Arch Rock are not taken from below, but from getting high up on surrounding rocks and using a telephoto lens to shoot the arch from afar. As a bonus, close to Arch Rock and the campground you stand a good chance of seeing bighorn sheep climbing around the rocks.
Why Is Arch Rock One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
Arch Rock isn’t the most exciting thing to do in Valley of Fire, but it is an easy and quick stop that requires no hiking at all. You can drive right up to the rock, jump out, grab a photo and crack on.
No climbing is allowed on Arch Rock, but it is still worth a quick visit as the only real arch shaped formation in the park. Just don’t be expecting arches like Delicate Arch in Arches or Mesa Arch in Canyonlands!
6. Climb Around The Beehives
What Are The Beehives?
The Beehives are unique sandstone formations featuring various layers, holes, patterns, grooved lines and giant cone shaped tops that look just like beehives. This is the first area you will reach after entering the west entrance to Valley of Fire from Las Vegas.
There are no designated trails to follow in the Beehives, it is more of a free-for-all and you can roam through or across any of the stunning rock formations.
Why Are The Beehives One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
Beehives is always busy because it is the first place you can park after entering the park. Ignore the crowds, get out and explore the entire area. There are hidden gems all over the Beehives, including smoothly eroded holes within rocks and elevated vistas.
This is another super photogenic part of the park so don’t forget your camera. Find some secluded spots between formations and spend time admiring the gorgeous landscape around you.
7. Hike Petroglyph Canyon To Mouse’s Tank
What Is Petroglyph Canyon?
Petroglyph Canyon is the easiest place to see ancient rock art in Valley of Fire State Park. The easy hike to Mouse’s Tank and back is filled with petroglyphs and clocks in at under 1 mile with barely any elevation change.
The trail follows a sandy path through walls of red sandstone rock and passes by several different sites featuring petroglyphs. Eventually you will reach a dead end which is surrounded entirely by tall rocks. Hike later in the day for more shade as the sun heads west.
Why Is Petroglyph Canyon One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
Petroglyph Canyon is a great place to see prehistoric petroglyphs, but it is also a natural basin in Valley of Fire, where water drains following rainfall. As a result there are water holes in the rocks. The name isn’t anything to do with a mouse, but the walls look a bit like a cheese block after a mouse has been at it!
Beware the trail is very sandy underfoot. It is a good idea to wear shoes and not flip flops, especially on a hot day. This is another bighorn sheep hotspot in the park so bring your telephoto lens if you have one.
8. Climb The Steps To Atlatl Rock
What Is Atlatl Rock?
Atlatl Rock is a single isolated tall rock formation featuring perfectly preserved 4,000 year old Native American petroglyphs and rock art. The name Atlatl refers to a spear being thrown or a spear-thrower, a drawing which is clearly depicted at the top of Atlatl Rock in Valley of Fire State Park.
A multi-level metal staircase has been installed to allow visitors easier access to the outstanding example of rock art, all of which is located near the top of the rock formation. Climbing on the rocks and touching the petroglyphs is strictly prohibited here.
Why Is Atlatl Rock One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
The petroglyphs at the top of Atlatl Rock are among some of the clearest and most well-preserved examples we have personally seen. This is another lightening quick stop, simply park up, climb the steps and enjoy the carvings.
The staircase is narrow and can become busy, particularly in the morning when the rush arrives from Las Vegas. It is better to see the rock art later in the day once the sun is round to the west and the drawings are in shadow.
9. Stand Inside Fire Cave
What Is Fire Cave?
Fire Cave is a small series of eroded cave-like formations that can be entered to reveal an incredibly photogenic scene. The cave is located at the very first left turn after entering Valley of Fire west entrance, close to the campground and before Beehives.
Until 2021, a standout feature inside Fire Cave called Windstone Arch was the centerpiece of the photo, but that collapsed and can unfortunately no longer be seen. However, the remains of Fire Cave are still more than worth a stop on your visit to the park.
Why Is Fire Cave One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
Fire Cave looks a bit like a masquerade mask from the outside which is a cool photo to take, but from the inside the cave is wonderfully aesthetic. Photos are best taken here early in the day before shadows cause issues with contrast.
This is a top photography stop in the park and not everyone knows about it. Even without Windstone Arch, Fire Cave is still a quick and easy pitstop to take home a unique image from Valley of Fire. This Fire Cave is not to be confused with another Fire Cave on the 7 Wonders Loop which we will discuss later.
10. Soak Up The Views At Fire Canyon + Silica Dome
What Is Fire Canyon + Silica Dome?
Fire Canyon and Silica Dome are a rugged red and white colored rocky area within Valley of Fire State Park. The colors suddenly change from white (more like cream) to red as iron stains the rock. Sand grains making up this spectacular landscape are almost pure silica.
The white silica dome here is one of the best examples of a silica dump as weathering has occurred over time. Hikers can walk a short easy trail into the canyon and dome, or you can simply enjoy the view from your car in the parking lot.
Why Is Fire Canyon + Silica Dome One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
The Fire Canyon and Silica Dome area is seldom visited inside the park and we had the entire place to ourselves during our visit. The hike is easy, photographs are excellent and you can learn a bit about the local geology with information boards.
Photos are best taken over Fire Canyon either early in the morning or later in the day as the view faces directly south and into the sun. This is not one of the more exciting stops, but at least it will be quiet!
11. See The Seven Sisters
What Are The Seven Sisters?
Seven Sisters are a series of 7 tall red boulders in a line that have been relentlessly eroded over time. They were once a part of the surrounding red rocks but weathering has reduced the area to just seven boulders filled with holes.
The holes are indicative of how much time each boulder has left before it also crumbles into rubble. How long until it is renamed The Six Sisters?
Why Are The Seven Sisters One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
Seven Sisters is another super quick and easy stop to make in Valley of Fire State Park, but it isn’t hugely exciting so only include this if you have plenty of time.
If you photograph the sisters from an acute angle you can take home one of the most eye catching images from the park. Just be sure to move away from the parking area to appreciate the size of the boulders.
12. Visit The Historic Cabins
What Are The Historic Cabins?
The historic cabins in Valley of Fire State Park were built back in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to accommodate travelers visiting the park.
All sandstone materials used to build the cabins were recycled from the immediate area inside the park. Today the cabins are part of a larger picnic area which is perfect for larger groups to fire up a lunch spread and crack open the cooler.
Why Are The Historic Cabins One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
The historic cabins are not going to blow you away, but you can explore the inside of each 90 year old stone building and look back out of the window, which frames part of the landscape nicely.
Think back to the 1930’s when the CCC were building things to help others during the great depression. The workmen will have had Valley of Fire to themselves before the internet, photos and social media made it so popular.
13. Photograph Elephant Rock
What Is Elephant Rock?
Elephant Rock is a unique rock formation shaped like an elephant with its trunk extended down on a slight angle. It is located right at the east entrance to Valley of Fire so it could be either the first or last thing you see in the park.
Park in the parking area, take a photo of yourself in the polaroid picture frame and then hike up the hill to see the elephant shaped formation.
Why Is Elephant Rock One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
Elephant Rock is a great stop for the kids to see what looks like a huge elephant made of red sandstone rocks. It’s also a good photo op for those either just arriving or leaving the park.
We took the photo from below the formation (on the downslope) but the best photo of Elephant Rock is from the other side on the upslope. If you have the energy left and it isn’t too hot, go beyond the formation to get the better shot.
14. Walk To Balanced Rock
What Is Balanced Rock?
Balanced Rock is a very easy, short and flat hike leading to a tall narrow rock formation with a boulder balancing precariously on top.
It is located right next to the Valley of Fire visitor center and the trailhead is from the same parking lot. The trail passes through some desert vegetation and follows a clear path.
Why Is Balanced Rock One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
Balanced Rock is another excellent trail to take the younger kids. It’s really easy and the formation is a great example of how weathering can leave such a random formation completely isolated.
This is one of the more famous rock formations in Valley of Fire and it is one of the easiest to access. Again, it won’t blow you away but Balanced Rock is definitely a worthwhile stop in the park.
15. Hike The Sandy Trail To Rainbow Vista
What Is Rainbow Vista?
Rainbow Vista is a sandy and rocky out-and-back hiking trail in Valley of Fire State Park leading to an overlook with views over smooth domes, sharp ridges, rising towers and rugged valleys. The best view of ‘rainbow’ colored rocks is from the trailhead.
The end of trail sign is marked at a point with immense views of Fire Canyon and Silica Dome. Hiking to the vista is on deep sand and uneven rocks with some light scrambling required at times.
Why Is Rainbow Vista One Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire?
The hike to Rainbow Vista is short and fun with some sections requiring a little scrambling. Deep sand makes the start and end quite challenging, particularly on hotter days. Make sure to take plenty of water on this trail and hike it earlier in the day if possible.
At the end you are treated to a great vantage over the most jagged part of the Valley of Fire landscape. However, if the weather is unbearably hot or you’re short on time, we would suggest seeing the colorful rocks at the trailhead but skipping the hike.
Bonus – Hike The 7 Wonders Loop Trail
If you love hiking, you are going to love Valley of Fire State Park. If you have plenty of time and don’t mind a bit of path finding, you should hike the unofficial 2.5 mile seven wonders loop trail which includes Fire Wave and Pink Canyon along with several other natural attractions.
Hiking clockwise you will pass by Fire Wave, Pink Canyon, Striped Rock, Kaolin Wash, Crazy Hill, Thunderstorm Arch and Fire Cave. This is a different Fire Cave to the formation with the same name (where Windstone Arch used to be) near the west entrance.
If you decide to hike the unmarked 7 Wonders Loop Trail, it would be beneficial to use one of the best hiking apps on the market to help with navigation. This trail isn’t easy to follow.
We use AllTrails for recent comments and we use Gaia GPS for downloading offline maps before hiking trails we know are unmarked or hard to follow in areas with no internet connection.
You can sign up for a Gaia GPS Premium account using our exclusive 20% discount link to get the top hiking app at a great price.
Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire With Kids
Are you visiting Valley of Fire State Park with the kids? Let’s take a look at the most fun things you can do as a family:
- See the Balanced Rock
- Walk up to Elephant Rock
- Stop to see the Petrified Log (which we haven’t covered but is pictured above)
- Spot bighorn sheep around the park
- See the petroglyphs on Atlatl Rock
Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire For Couples
Taking a couples trip to Valley of Fire? Let’s take a look at the top things you can do as a dynamic duo:
- Hike to the amazing Fire Wave
- Take the iconic Mouse’s Tank Photo
- Hike the fun White Domes Trail
- Shoot some photos inside Pink Canyon
- Explore The Beehives
Map Of The Best Things To Do In Valley Of Fire
Above you can find our interactive Google Map showing the locations of the best places to visit in Valley of Fire State Park.
Click or touch the map to activate, zoom in and out, scroll around and familiarize yourself with the area. You will find icons at the exact locations of the top things to do in Valley of Fire mentioned in this guide.
Where To Stay Near Valley Of Fire
Most people will be visiting Valley of Fire on a day trip from Las Vegas or when driving between Las Vegas and Zion. However, if you are interested in staying a night near the State Park so you can enjoy a sunset or a sunrise the next morning, you have a hotel option in nearby Overton.
Overton is just 11 miles from the east entrance to Valley of Fire State Park. It offers the only real lodging option near the park unless you camp at Atlatl Rock inside the park. The hotel is called North Shore Inn at Lake Mead.
We spent a night here between days of visitation at Valley of Fire and our stay was great. The hotel was full of tourists taking variations of American southwest road trips and it was affordable.
There’s also a great little Mexican place right over the road from the hotel.
Check prices: North Shore Inn at Lake Mead
Camping At Valley Of Fire State Park
Arch Rock campground and Atlatl Rock campground are the two camping options available at Valley of Fire State Park. They are located very close to each other near the west entrance to the park.
Here’s what you need to know:
Camping: There are two campgrounds with a combined total of 72 units. Campsites are equipped with shaded tables, grills, water and restrooms. A dump station and showers are available. All campsites are first-come, first-served. A camping limit of 14 days in a 30-day period is enforced.
RV Camping: RV sites with power and water hookups are available.
Group-Use Campsites: There are three group-use campsites, each accommodating up to 45 people; there is no minimum person count. These sites are available for overnight camping by reservation only. A reservation fee of $25/site/night must be paid at the time of booking. Camping and day-use fees of $20/vehicle/night for Nevada residents, or $25/vehicle/night for non-Nevada residents, must be paid upon arrival.
Valley Of Fire One Day Itinerary Example
Now you know the best things to do in Valley of Fire, let’s piece together a one day example itinerary for your visit.
This is just a guideline and it will begin before sunrise for the best possible experience, but feel free to adapt this itinerary to suit your travel goals.
We will begin and end this one day example itinerary in Las Vegas.
6.00am – Sunrise Hike To Fire Wave
Leave Las Vegas early (or better yet stay in Overton so you’re much closer) and drive straight to Fire Wave trailhead. Hike the short trail with headlamp so you can arrive at twilight and see the extraordinary colors before the sun rises.
7.30am – Hike White Domes
Head back to your car and drive around to White Domes. Hike the fun loop trail which leads through a surprise slot canyon and look out for vibrant pink colors on sandstone rocks.
8.30am – Photograph Pink Canyon
Either hike the 7 Wonders Loop or park on the roadside near Pink Canyon. Spend at least 30 minutes enjoying the stunning array of swirling and bright colors.
9.00am – Fire Canyon + Silica Dome
Head over to see Fire Canyon and Silica Dome, you can either hike a short easy trail into the canyon or see the views from the parking area.
9.30am – Hike Rainbow Vista
Park up at Rainbow Vista and hike the sandy trail to the viewpoint looking back over Fire Canyon. If it’s getting too hot by this point, scrap the hike and just enjoy the rainbow colors on rocks near the trailhead.
10.30am – Mouse’s Tank Photo
From the same parking lot, cross the road and walk a minute or two south until you see the long narrow Mouse’s Tank road leading to tall rocks in the background.
Spend some time taking fun perspective shots here and remember that a telephoto lens is going to work better here if you have one.
11.30am – Hike Petroglyph Canyon
Next up is a short hike through Petroglyph Canyon to Mouse’s Tank. You may see bighorn sheep climbing around rocks as you search for various rock art sites in the canyon.
12.30pm – Balanced Rock
Stop at the visitor center to read informative boards and then hike the very short trail to see Balanced Rock. This won’t take long but it’s a popular stop.
1.00pm – Seven Sisters
Park up and walk out to see the 7 Sisters lined up. If you want a better photo, create an acute angle and walk away from the boulders out into the vegetation.
1.30pm – Elephant Rock
Park up at the east entrance lot and make sure you grab a photo of your group in the polaroid picture frame. Head up the hill to see Elephant Rock.
2.00pm – Historic Cabins
Turn around and head back the way you came, stopping at the Historic Cabins quickly. This won’t take long and it is a good place to grab lunch.
2.30pm – Atlatl Rock
Drive back towards west entrance and stop at Atlatl Rock. Climb the staircase to see well-preserved prehistoric petroglyphs and enjoy the view.
3.00pm – Arch Rock
Drive counter-clockwise around the loop and stop at Arch Rock to see the photogenic arch formation up close. You may also see bighorn sheep in this area.
3.30pm – Fire Cave
Stop before the end of the loop to see the inside of Fire Cave. Windstone Arch has crumbled but it is still definitely worth a fleeting visit. Don’t forget your camera.
4.00pm – Beehives
The final stop on this one day example itinerary for Valley of Fire State Park is The Beehives. You can spend the final hour or so before sunset exploring the vast, open and rocky landscape next to west entrance.
Once you’re ready (or hungry!), simply exit the park and head back to Las Vegas.
Best Time To Visit Valley Of Fire
Fall, winter and spring are the best seasons to visit Valley of Fire State Park. We advise against visiting in summer due to excessive heat in Nevada. The park may even close during summer months.
The colder winter months of November, December and January are arguably the very best months to visit the park thanks to cooler hiking temperatures, fewer crowds, later sunrises and earlier sunsets.
No matter which season you visit Valley of Fire, try to avoid weekends and holidays.
Time Of Day
The best time of day to be exploring Valley of Fire is around sunrise and early morning. Dawn benefits from cooler temperatures, far fewer crowds and the most vibrant colors around the landscape.
After sunrise, we would advise hiking any of the longer trails or ticking off your top priorities as soon as possible. Once it reaches midday, hiking and exploring becomes more challenging in the heat.
Alternatively, you could wait until way later in the day to hike once temperatures have cooled off again. Just remember you are only permitted to hike until sunset. After that you are technically trespassing.
Valley Of Fire Photos
You’ve already seen plenty of photos of Valley of Fire in this guide but we are going to show you just a few more images from this special landscape.
This really is an immensely photogenic place and we want to inspire you to visit!
Is Valley Of Fire Worth Seeing?
Valley of Fire is stunning landscape definitely worth seeing. It is close to Las Vegas and directly between Las Vegas and Zion, two hugely popular stops on a US southwest road trip.
We would go as far as saying Valley of Fire is a little underrated. Most visitors to the region will see Zion and Grand Canyon without considering Valley of Fire.
However, we strongly recommend spending at least half a day here. Even if just to hike Fire Wave and grab that iconic Mouse’s Tank photo.
Red Rock Canyon Or Valley Of Fire?
Let’s finish with the most common question asked when discussing either Red Rock Canyon or Valley of Fire. Which is the better place to visit?
Well, it’s a tough question to answer and it depends on what you’re looking for. However, we won’t leave you with one of those ‘it depends’ answers!
Red Rock Canyon offers a bunch of exciting and very different hikes, whereas Valley of Fire is more about the scenery and photogenic topography.
>> Here’s our guide to the 10 best hiking trails in Red Rock Canyon to compare the two places.
We make a living from both hiking and photography so for us both places are unmissable. If pushed we would say Valley of Fire just about beats Red Rock Canyon because it has a number of spectacular photography opportunities.
But here’s our advice:
If you are a hiker, go to Red Rock Canyon. If you are a lover of landscapes and photography, go to Valley of Fire.
Is It Worth Taking A Valley Of Fire Tour From Las Vegas?
Are you flying into Las Vegas but don’t want to hire a car? You can still get out and see the best of Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas. There are several tours of varying length and price you can take.
You won’t be able to do as many hikes but you can get a taste for the area and you have the benefit of learning about the area as part of a fully guided tour.
Here are the top rated tours from previous visitors:
- Half Day Hiking Tour – 4-6 hour guided hiking tour with easy, moderate or hard options
- Full Day Tour – 7 hour guided tour of Valley of Fire with hotel pick up and drop off
- Pink Jeep Tour – Half day tour of the valley in a big bright pink Jeep!
Top 15 Things To Do In Valley Of Fire State Park
Here’s a summary of the best things to do in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada:
- Hike The Amazing Fire Wave Trail
- Take The Iconic Photo On Mouse’s Tank Road
- Hike The Fun White Domes Loop
- Take Your Camera Into Pink Canyon
- Spot The Bighorn Sheep At Arch Rock
- Climb Around The Beehives
- Hike Petroglyph Canyon To Mouse’s Tank
- Climb The Steps To Atlatl Rock
- Stand Inside Fire Cave + Windstone Arch
- Soak Up The Views At Fire Canyon + Silica Dome
- See The Seven Sisters
- Visit The Historic Cabins
- Photograph Elephant Rock
- Walk To Balanced Rock
- Hike The Sandy Trail To Rainbow Vista
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Fire Wave – Exactly what you can expect from hiking the amazing Fire Wave Trail at sunrise in Valley of Fire State Park (the most popular thing to do).
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Want more Nevada content? Head over to our Nevada Travel Guides to explore State Parks, beautiful landscapes and the best things to do in Las Vegas.
We hope this guide to the best things to do in Valley of Fire State Park helps with planning your visit to the American southwest!
Please let us know if you have any questions about visiting Valley of Fire below in the comments and have a great trip.
Mark and Kristen
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