Valley of Fire Elephant Rock Arch Beehives White Domes

Valley of Fire
A wonderland of rocks close to Las Vegas

 

The Valley of fire is north of Las Vegas and about 1 hour away. Besides Red Rock canyon is Nevada’s oldest State park a very nice trip to get away from the big city. Lots of tourists stay in the Valley just for a few hours. But despite the big heat it offers a lot more than just the few stops on the street.

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Auf der Fahrt durchs Valley of Fire (236kb)

Driving Directions:

Coming from Las Vegas you take the interstate 15 north till exit 75 and follow the sign to the state park Advice: stop at exit 75 at the Fireworks Smoke Shop. This is a stop for trucks and offers lots of cheap nice things. As you walk in you will see why it is called smoke shop, and why fireworks. There are the biggest fireworks I have ever seen.
An alternative route to get to the greatest state park of Nevada you drive from Henderson (east of Las Vegas) on the State Road 167 (North shore Road) along Colorado river to the east entrance of Valley of fire. The first described way takes about 1 hour. The second way is about 1,5 hours (starting from Las Vegas). If you have time you should take the first one to get there and the second one to get back.

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Der Mini-Double Arch erinnert an einen grasenden Dinosaurier (323kb)

In contrast to the area around Lake Mead the Valley of fire offers great colors in the morning and evening. Shortly before sunset you will see why it has its name. The rocks glow in a deep red, violet. You find special rock formations, which were formed during millions of years through forces of nature. I have never seen rock formations like this anywhere else. Everywhere red rocks as far as you can look.

Scenic Drive / What to see

You have to pay the entrance fee either at the west entrance, in the visitor centre or at the self registration box at the east entrance. It costs 6 $. The Annual Pass is not valid here. If you arrive late and there is no ranger at the entrance you should use the self registration! The money is used for the valley and it is worth it. And it can happen that you will be controlled by a ranger and then you have to pay even more. If you want to stay on one of the two campgrounds overnight, the entrance fee is included in the camping fee. Even when you get out of the park you have to show your receipt.

There are lots of hikes to do in the park. You will get the plan about hikes at the entrance or in the visitor centre. But it could happen that the visitor centre is closed after 4 p.m.

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Elephant Rock (255kb)

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Zwischen Visitor Center und White Domes (355kb)

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Der farbenprächtige Fire Canyon (327kb)

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White Domes am Ende der Straße (297kb)

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Die Narrows bei den White Domes (308kb)

Starting at the west entrance you’ll come to Arch Rock and Atlatl Rock and the corresponding campgrounds. At Arch Rock the 2 mile trip through beautiful rocks, Arch Rock and piano rock is worth a hike. At the Beehives,the biggest (sandstone-) beehives of the world you find the group campsite area. The Petrified logs are over 225 million of years old and are petrified trees. Unfortunately there is a high fence around it so you can’t take good pictures. But I also think that the fence is important because otherwise there won’t be any petrified trees soon. Next stop on the tour is the visitor centre. Here you can get lots of information about the park and there is also a little exhibition about the park and history and animals. Then you’ll pass the seven sisters, a fascinating sandstone formation. You should stop here to take pictures or just to have a great picnic at the picnic area. Before you get to the east entrance, you can stop to go for a short hike to see the elephant rock. The rocks are really formed like an elephant and you can take nice pictures If you take the other way from the visitor centre on the white domes scenic Road, you’ll get first to Mouse tank. This is a basin which collects water-if it rains. The hike is very short but it is not worth going there,in my opinion After that you will come to a wonderful overview which is called rainbow vista. From here you have a great view over the fascinating landscape. The rocks are in all colours of the rainbow. So get your camera out! Here you could stay for a long time and just enjoy. For me it is a great highlight in the valley of fire. It is also worth taking the dirt road from here to the fire canyon. It is a mix of white and dark red rocks which glow in the late afternoon. But it is also very windy here. The White Domes Scenic Road from here is getting curvy and more photogenic. It leads you through the rainbow rocks and ends at a dead end at the white domes. It is a 1.3 miles hike to get there and you will pass an old movie set on your way. The slot canyon at the end is very interesting and it is worth a hike. But: don’t go there at bad weather!! And you should always take enough water with you because it can be really hot there and that makes the hike very strenuous.

Campgrounds:

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Absolut empfehlenswert: Arch Rock Campingplatz im Valley of Fire (328kb)

There are 2 nice campgrounds and also a campground for groups. I can recommend both campgrounds. For me they belong to the best campgrounds in the southwest of USA. We always use this place to pack all our stuff and camping equipment for our trip back before we spend the last nights for gambling in Las Vegas. On Arch Rock campground there are simple toilets in contrast to the atlatl Rock campground which also has showers. But the Arch Rock is more idyllic. Both campgrounds have fire pits, water pumps and tables with a roof. It costs 12 $ per car and campsite, including the entrance fee. For a nice picnic in the park there are lots of possibilities in the shade. The picnic areas are at Atlatl Rock, seven sisters, close to Mouse tank and at White domes at the end of the scenic road.




Last update: 10/07/2009