Picture a visit to Vegas that includes a winding road surrounded by scarlet rolling rock formations, sienna-shaded sandstone boulders and fiery landscapes.
Not exactly what comes to mind when you think of Las Vegas, right?
Millions and millions of people flock to Nevada each year to visit the glittering, and entertaining, Sin City.
However, if you’ve had your fair share of shows, slot machines and themed casinos, heading out of the city for a day trip should be next on your list.
Just 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas lies a dazzling desert landscape: The Valley of Fire State Park.
Located in the Mojave Desert, these unique 150 million-year-old shifting sand dunes provide the perfect place for a taste of Nevada’s natural beauty.
Getting to the Valley of Fire State Park
First, you’ll need a car. There are plenty of options for car rentals in Vegas. We actually opted to rent a car through Turo, a car-sharing service similar to Airbnb, and had a really great experience.
Getting to the Valley of Fire State Park is simple. You can either hop on the I-15 or you can drive along Lake Mead (a man-made reservoir that serves water to Nevada, Arizona, California and even parts of Mexico!). Either way, you’ll be cruising through crimson Aztec Sandstone in just under an hour and a half.
You’ll enter the park from the I-15 and drive along the Valley of Fire Highway before reaching the entrance. The entrance fee is $10 per car per day, and the park is open from sunrise to sunset.
The great thing about the park is that it isn’t too big, so you can you’ll definitely be able to experience all it has to offer in one day.
What to Bring
You’re heading to the desert, so be sure to bring LOTS of water. You’ll also want to bring some sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
The Valley of Fire also has a visitor center that is open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM where you can use the restroom and fill up on water. The visitor center also offers gallons of water for sale as well as a selection of snacks and sandwiches.
Valley of Fire Highlights
The Valley of Fire is a gorgeous landscape to drive through and there are so many beautiful locations to stop at along the way. You could even hike some of the trails, most of them only about a mile or two, and can easily be walked in regular tennis shoes.
Don’t miss out on some of the coolest spots to see in the Valley of Fire:
- Beehives – A collection of orange rocks with big openings created by water and wind erosion, making them look like big beehives.
- Elephant Rock – You can view the elephant rock formation from below, or follow the trail leading up to the sandstone mammal.
- Atatl Rock – A huge rock formation that has petroglyphs carved into its side that are thousands of years old! To see them, you can climb up the built-in staircase.
- Mouse’s Tank Road – THE absolute BEST view of the park! It’s also probably the most photographed. To get the most spectacular view, you’ll have to climb up the rocks on the side of the road.
Don’t forget to get your passport stamped when you visit! I wish I had known this before, but just like at Machu Picchu, you can collect a non-country stamp at the Valley of Fire.
This day trip is so worth it even if you can only fit in a short visit. Just over an hour’s drive from the Vegas Strip, visiting the Valley of Fire will honestly make you feel like you’re on another planet! Have you ever been to the Valley of Fire?