Things to know before you visit Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is one of the coolest day trips from Las Vegas. If you’re looking for things to do in Las Vegas besides gambling or for activities off the strip, this state park needs to be on your list!
I first learned about Valley of Fire Las Vegas after seeing the famous Fire Wave on Instagram. However, there are many other scenic overlooks and trails to explore inside. You’ll be amazed at the gorgeous landscape so get that camera ready.
We spent about three hours here but you could spend a full day if you wanted to do more hiking trails.
VALLEY OF FIRE LAS VEGAS
WHERE IS VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK?
The distance from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire is about 1 hour. You’ll take Highway 15 north towards Salt Lake City for just over 30 miles until you get to Exit 75. There’s a travel plaza at this exit so stop here to grab any last minute essentials like snacks and water.
The park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset but the visitor center is only open from 8:30am to 4:30pm. I suggest arriving at the park as early as possible to beat the sun and the crowds.
GETTING INSIDE & AROUND THE PARK
Exit 75 will take you to the West Entrance of the park. There’s a $10 / car entrance fee that you’ll pay at the ticket booth on your way in. There was a person working in the booth the day we went, and we had the option of paying by cash or card. When there is not a worker present, you’ll leave cash in an envelope in a box next to the booth.
We arrived at 3pm and sat in the ticket line for 20 minutes. I imagine it could be longer in peak travel season (we were here in December.) Once you pass the ticket booth, you’ll continue driving until you reach Mouse’s Tank Road and you’ll make a left.
Keep driving until you see the Valley of Fire Visitor Center on your right. Stop here if you need to use the restroom or if you are waiting for others to join you from the ticketing line.
WHAT TO PACK
Don’t forget to pack these essentials for your day trip. You’ll be able to park at or near the trailhead of each individual hike or lookout. That being said, it won’t hurt to overpack and keep everything in your trunk. Then you can put together a smaller backpack to carry on the individual hikes.
- Protein bars or other snacks
- Hiking shoes or durable sneakers
- Portable charger for your phone
- Outfit changes (this one is for my fellow bloggers for photoshoots)
- Camera & tripod if necessary
The longest hike we did was to the Fire Wave which took around 15 minutes from the parking lot. If you plan on doing multiple/longer hikes, pack accordingly. That means extra water bottles and extra snacks to last all day.
Valley of Fire is in the Mojave Desert, so it has a warm, dry climate. Temperatures in the peak of Summer range from 80-105 degrees Fahrenheit, while temperatures in the peak of Winter range from 38-57 degrees Fahrenheit.
I cannot stress enough the importance of packing enough water especially in the Summer. The altitude of Valley of Fire is 2,464 ft. so although it’s not considered high, it can get hot!
We visited on the last day of December in the afternoon, so it was brisk and a little rainy. But I’ve read online that some trails can get so hot in the Summer that they’ll advise visitors not to enter.
DISCLAIMER: We took photos in the center of the street and got asked by park rangers driving by not to do that (obviously.) I’m not sharing these photos to encourage you to take the same ones but to warn you about the rules.
Once we were told by the rangers not to stand in the street, we respectfully moved to the side. As always, please follow the park rules and be cautious about passing cars.
TRAVEL TIP: Cell phone service was very spotty inside in the park. I have Verizon which is pretty good most of the time but still lost service occasionally.
If in doubt, download anything you need (like your Google map) prior to heading into the park. That way you can still access it if you lose reception.
TOP 3 FAVORITE PHOTO SPOTS
I wish we had more time in the park, but I think we made the most of our few hours of sunlight. These 3 spots were my favorite photo locations inside Valley of Fire State Park.
MOUSE’S TANK ROAD
Mouse’s Tank Road is the main street you’ll turn onto from Valley of Fire Highway. There’s an absolutely epic view of Mouse’s Tank Road from up above as shown in the photo here. It’s only a 10-step climb to get from ground level to this high point, so don’t stress about this being hard to walk up to.
You’ll drive for approximately 7 minutes past the Valley of Fire Visitor Center and through the valley before arriving at this spot on your left. Be cautious about where you park. There are a lot of people trying to get the same shot as you and not a ton of parking space.
THE FIRE WAVE
The Fire Wave has to be one of the most unique sights I’ve ever seen. The marble colored sandstone rock resembles the wave of an ocean. The rock forms a wide bowl at the base and then spirals to a narrow point at the top.
The walk from the parking lot to the Fire Wave is about 1.5 miles and took us 15 minutes. When you arrive at the wave, look around and take advantage of some other unique angles and photo opportunities.
On our way out of the park, we pulled to the side of the road to capture one last scenic view. There is no one specific spot I can suggest, just keep your eyes peeled for something that catches your attention.
This spot pictured here is about halfway between the Mouse’s Tank Road view & the Fire Wave. I also want to caution you to be careful about where you pull off. There are designated areas for cars to pull off at and if you try to pull into a non-designated area, park rangers will ask you to move.
OTHER HIKES AT VALLEY OF FIRE LAS VEGAS
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do any additional hikes. I would love to come back another time and spend a longer day here. If you have the time, other hikes worth mentioning are Elephant Rock, White Domes & Rainbow Vista.
I hope this blog post helps you plan your trip to Valley of Fire. Before you visit, you can read more information on the official park website.
If you’re visiting Valley of Fire State Park while staying in Las Vegas, be sure to check out my blog post about Las Vegas photo spots HERE.
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