The Valley of Fire is Nevada’s very first State Park. Named in 1935 to reflect its fiery sandstone formations and petrified sand dunes the name suits it perfectly. Set in the wild beauty of the Mojave Desert, the Valley of Fire State Park make a fabulous day trip from Las Vegas and offers a dramatic and refreshing contrast to the glitz and bustle of the city.
The Valley of Fire is just 50 miles North East of Las Vegas. Here is a startlingly different world from The Strip. The Valley of Fire is constructed of vibrant layered sandstones, shales and fault lines in the rock form the varied and fascinating landscape of the Valley of Fire and the sun sets the landscape ablaze with color; russet-red, ochre and amber. It’s a landscape of rock arches, domes and colorful vistas shaped and contoured by wind, water and weather.
The Beehives demonstrate the unique design that can be created by nature through continuous faulting and soil erosion. You can think of the Beehives as a geological calendar; the grooved lines going in different directions represent layers of silt deposited at different times. The layers indicate the angle the wind or water was moving at the time the material was deposited.
Atlatl Rock and Petroglyphs
Atlatls are ancient weapons that preceded the bow and arrow in many parts of the world and are one of man’s first mechanical inventions.
Climb the metal staircase attached to the rock to view the ancient petroglyphs thought to be over 4000 years old carved by native American cultures. There were symbols that looked like footprints, trees, water and long-horned animals.
The photo of the petroglyphs here is just behind Atlatl Rock and show the carvings more clearly. There are many areas throughout the state park where petroglyphs can be seen so be sure to keep your eyes open.
Valley of Fire Cabins
The park preserves three stone cabins built by the Civilian Conservation Corps soon after the Valley of Fire became a state park in 1935. The park also has a visitors center plus facilities for picnicking, camping, and hiking.
Rainbow Vista, Valley of Fire
Rainbow Vista is a very different viewpoint from the red terrain you can see as you enter the Valley of Fire. The road here reaches the top of a low ridge looking out for many miles over a vast area of multi-colored rocks.
Balancing Rock, Valley of Fire
Just a short hike from the visitor center is a famous Valley of Fire formation – Balancing Rock. Once you get the rock, be sure to walk around the rock to get different views to see how this is truly a “balancing rock.” Obviously Balancing Rock is fragile, so do not climb on it. Valley of Fire State Park has an entrance fee but no permit is required to hike to Balancing Rock.