After getting our kicks on Route 66 in Kingman, exploring the odd ghost town of Chloride, and stretching our legs at Hoover Dam, we explored Valley of Fire and watched the sun set over the vivid red, pink, and orange sandstone formations in Nevada’s oldest state park.
Valley of Fire State Park has an east and west entrance. We came in through the East Park Entrance, having come from checking into our suite on Lake Las Vegas (away from the bustle of Vegas).
The first trail we came along was the very popular .4 mile out and back hike to Elephant Rock… which you can actually see from the road. This is the trail head.
After seeing the exhibits in the visitor center, we settled on Mouse’s Tank (also known as Petroglyph Canyon) as our first hike. Note: all of the hikes in Valley of Fire range between .5 – 1.5 miles, making it a great place for beginner hikers and kids.
The canyon walls along the trail of Mouse’s Tank is etched with petroglyphs dating back 3,000 years.
Mouse’s Tank ends at a tinaja, a rock basin that naturally captures and stores rainwater.
The trail is named after the 1890s legend of a Southern Paiute named ‘Little Mouse’ who hid in the area when he was accused of various crimes, including gunning down two prospectors.
The 1.1 mile out and back Rainbow Vista Trail was next on our list.
We only hiked part of the trail as we needed to get back on the scenic road before the sun set.
On recommendation from a state park ranger, we finished out our visit by hiking the White Domes Trail. According to her, the 1.25 mile loop is the best hike in the Valley of Fire. We figured being a park ranger she would know what she was talking about so we took her advice. The trail did not disappoint.
The trail passes through vivid colors and patterns of sandstone formations.
Remnants of an old Hollywood movie set for the 1966 movie The Professionals.
Husband was super impressed with Valley of Fire. 😉
Our recommendation: if you have a full day (or half day for faster hikers), plan on checking out every trail. They are all beautiful, easy, and short enough to fit into a day excursion. If you’re on limited time, hike the White Domes Trail.
Valley of Fire State Park Overview
- Coordinates: 36.438889, -114.5325
- Fees: Day use $10/vehicle or $8/vehicle for Nevada residents
- Difficulty: Easy
- Usage: Moderate
- Allow for several hours or full day of exploration. Most hikes are short and easy but there are a lot of trails.
- Pets allowed: Yes, on-leash only