The Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire State Park in the Summer
My husband and I love to hike in New England so it’s only natural that we share this love with the locals in Nevada and ask for suggestions on where to go and what to do. One suggestion that comes up time and again is to visit The Valley of Fire State Park. Although making this trip in the summer is not ideal, when we share that we are going to embark on this adventure in July we are still given friendly, great advice Take plenty of water! and Have a great time! (which is all we needed to start planning our next adventure).
Because of the dangerously high temperatures of the summer, a hike in The Valley of Fire can be somewhat last minute, but with careful planning. Since the heat can rise well into the 100’s, the best time to visit is in the morning. And, since we are from the East Coast, we thought why not plan our visit around the 5:44am sunrise.
Renting a Car in Vegas

Helpful tips on renting a car: Car companies on the strip usually close around 5pm and are going to charge 24 hour rates. We like to use the Budget rental office near the Wynn, but we’ve also rented from the airport and the hotels. If you rent from the hotel, there is a convenience to having the car already there and not thinking about picking it up and where to park. You also pay for this convenience with cash and time. There’s nothing like being at a winning table at the Luxor and realizing the rental car office is closing in a half hour and you’re over an hour walk away. That being said, we like the Budget office near the Wynn because it is not expensive, not often crowded and we’ve never had any issues. And, knowing we’re renting a car from there, I simply plan on visiting the casinos and resorts in that direction (north end of the strip).
Off-Strip Dining
Because I hate to waste money, when I rent a car the day before one of our hikes, I plan on having dinner at an off-strip restaurant so I’m not paying for a car to sit in a garage until the morning. Since I am celiac, I am particular about where I eat. My most off strip dinner was at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza in Henderson and I would highly recommend this place. Overall, off-strip eating is better tasting and a better deal for your money.
Water, water, water
The night before your adventure begins, get water (lots and lots of water) and snacks from one of the many CVS or Walgreens on the strip. Although we’re leaving the strip at 3 am, there are still so many 24 hour breakfast places to pick from. However, because of my gluten allergy I am limited, so my husband and I snack on bars and beef jerky and call it breakfast.

The drive leaving the strip to The Valley of Fire is an adventure in itself. Southern Nevada is a marvel of sandstone browns and reds. Windy roads leading into the mountains and if you love to drive, this may be your favorite part. My husband loves driving on these roads and tells me every time how much fun they are to drive. I don’t find the thrill in driving like he does, but I enjoy staring out the window at the amazing views. For me, this drive is a good opportunity to drink water and enjoy the ride.

When arriving at The Valley of Fire, there is a visitor center. There’s a drop box to pay for the visit so bring cash ($10). As soon as you enter, you’ll be in awe of the 40,000 acres of bright red rock formations and light brown limestone. Mixed into this landscape are surprising spots of green rising from the desert sand. Coming from the northeast, this landscape is a marvelous blend of colors we just don’t see at home. Once you enter, the park is well marked with places to pull over to take pictures and signs that lead to major rock attractions including the Seven Sisters, Petroglyphs, and Elephant Rock. There are also signs for camping areas. The camping area we came across had shaded tables and grills.

A sunrise that did not disappoint
Our first stop was at petroglyphs inscribed into rock accompanied by man-made steps along side newer iron stairs. As we climbed the stairs, the petroglyphs told their own story of a life once was in these rocks and caves. I was so fascinated by the entire experience at one point I had to remind myself to hold the railing as I climbed (see image of stairs and sunrise takes from the top). At the top of the stairs, my husband and I took a moment and watched the sunrise peeking up over the hills. This day is also our anniversary (did I mention that) so having this romantic, awe-struck moment on our special day couldn’t have been any more perfect.
Once descended from the stairs, we investigated a few plants, climbed in some caves, and marveled at the soft beach like sand. Sand in Massachusetts is rocky, but this sand was light in color and reminded us of the sandy beaches in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
The Seven Sisters
Continuing our adventure, we drove to the Seven Sisters and also enjoyed hiking and climbing in this area. There’s a parking lot, signs about not feeding the wild animals, and bathroom facilities that my husband told me consists of a hole in the ground. Umm, no thanks to that. This is a good spot to take a break, drink some water, and take pictures.
The Shape of a Trunk
Lastly, we found Elephant Rock. There are clear marked signs for where the rock is located and a place to park, but that’s where the clarity for us ended and the confusion began. Perhaps it was the
heat or being tired from the 3am wake-up, but we could not find
this elephant. I mean, who can’t find a rock with a trunk? When we finally decided to just head back to the car we must have changed
our perspective just enough to see the shape of a trunk. A fun find
and worth us aimlessly walking around in the heat (at least for as
long as we did).  

The Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire

Much needed air conditioning
The park is open until sundown, but we did not intend on staying all day. In fact, at this point of our adventure, we have been driving and hiking for hours and with the heat rising we can feel the effects. Time to take a quick silly picture in the cardboard cut out provided at the visitor center and then head back to the hotel for a shower and some much needed air conditioning. Overall, The Valley of Fire hike was another amazing adventure planned, enjoyed, and fulfilled before heading back to the ding-zing-wow-pow of the strip. Now, where’s that $20 I was saving…

Disclaimer: opinions expressed are entirely my own


  1. Beautiful description and lovely pics...great work..
    Thank you

  2. Wow! I am so in awe of how beautiful! I totally what to take this trip! Your pointers are very helpful! Do you know of any RV Parks there? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Lesley-Anne,
      This is an amazing trip. We saw a family camping while we were there and they were having a blast. The RV's stay at the Atlatl Rock Campground that have water and electric hook ups. I believe the cost is $10 to get in the park and additional $10 for the RV. There are picnic tables, fire rings, showers and beautiful views. This one is more popular than the Arch Rock Campground and the Arch Rock does not offer as much. I would research both before going and compare.

      Thanks again for visiting my blog.

  3. Great! Good to know! Thanks for the info!

  4. Those rocks are simply stunning! The sunset just takes your breath away via picture I can't even imagine in person thanks so much for sharing.

  5. I love this! Great impressions with the beautiful photos :) I want to make time for this haha. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Ye Chen. I hope you do get to go and experience it.

  6. My wife and I decided that we would go out the Valley of Fire as a last minute thing. we really didn't have anything going on that day. We needed a day away from the strip and noise. We always rent a car for the whole week we are there. Our timeshare is 2 miles south of the strip. This trip we rented a Camaro Convertible. We left best guess. Was 1pm, mid-August. It was already hot when we left Vegas. So we knew getting out there it was going to be hotter. We got all the way out to the White Domes. The temp gauge on the radio at one point simply read as HI, When we got out to White Domes it read 135* Needless to say we didn't stick around for long out there. We are planning another trip during December and we will go back to hike around.

    1. Try going early and see the sunrise. It’s amazing!


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