The Valley of Fire: Prancing Around in Nevada’s Oldest State Park The Valley of Fire: Prancing Around in Nevada’s Oldest State Park 48 hours North America USA SHARE Jessica , February 9, 2016 / 66280 http%3A%2F%2Fapassionandapassport.com%2F2016%2F02%2Fvalley-of-fire-state-park-from-las-vegas%2FThe+Valley+of+Fire%3A+Prancing+Around+in+Nevada%E2%80%99s+Oldest+State+Park2016-02-09+04%3A17%3A10Jessicahttp%3A%2F%2Fapassionandapassport.com%2F%3Fp%3D6628 Ever since I saw photos on the internet a few months back, I knew we’d be making a day trip to the Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas. That and the Grand Canyon of course. Located in the Mojave Desert, the Valley of Fire is a short hour away from Las Vegas, making it a perfect day trip away from the glitz and glam of the strip. From the moment we arrived, I was enamored with the surroundings. The fiery red sandstone glistened in the sun, and actually appeared to be on fire at some points. Mother Nature surely is fascinating, and the area was dedicated as a State Park in 1935, making it Nevada’s first. The Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas The Valley of Fire is completely overlooked by so many visitors to the area, and receives only 300,000 visits per year. Seems like a lot, but compared to the Grand Canyon (with nearly five million visits each year), it’s actually quite nothing! Because of how unknown it is, we ended up being the only ones who booked the tour with GetYourGuide! A private tour throughout Nevada’s first state park?! I’ll take it! Talk about convenient, since I do like to take a million (and one) photos. [I ended up taking over 500+ during the span of our 4 hours in the park.] Our first views of the park were nothing short of spectacular…. Location The Valley of Fire is an easy 55 miles northeast from popular Las Vegas, making it about an hours drive away. Basically, the perfect day trip from Las Vegas. Being only six miles from beautiful Lake Mead, it makes a great addition if you’re planning to spend the day there. A Bit of History The Valley of Fire was named after the magnificent red sandstone formations that occurred during the age of the dinosaurs – 150 million years ago! Okay guys, now I’m gonna get a little science-y on ya, but just follow along. The landscape you’ll see was created by complex uplifting and faulting of the region, which was then followed by extensive erosion. See all of those holes in the photos? Yea, those were formed by high-powered winds and rains. #crazypants. Nature just blows my mind sometimes. A while back, between approximately 300 B.C.E. to 1150 C.E., different peoples visited the land, and used the Valley of Fire for hunting, food gathering, and religious ceremonies. We saw some impressive rock art at several sites within the park – 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs! Points of Interest Driving through the park was a spectacle in and of itself, but our guide made sure to stop at various viewpoints throughout the day. Valley of Fire is famous for its fun, distinct stone shapes, so let your imagine run wild! Some are noted in the park as an actual designated spot, but we saw others throughout the park. The vistas are plentiful and breathtaking, and we saw the following on our tour: Elephant Rock It looks just like an elephant – don’t you see it?! Arch Rock Makes me super excited for our upcoming trip to Utah’s Arches National Park! Atlatl Rock Climbing up the stairs was definitely worth it to see those petroglyphs – and that view! Beehives Definitely a fun spot for some photos! Balanced Rock Our guide told us it’ll be years until erosion causes the rock to eventually fall down. Seven Sisters Had a semi-delicious boxed lunch here! It could it have been better, but hey, eating underneath these marvelous red rocks was all I could concentrate on anyways. And the cookies were good! 😉 Rainbow Vistas Look at all those colors! Nature is just ridiculous sometimes! The Cabins Crazy that these were built so many years ago! Climate/Weather Don’t even think about visiting in mid summer unless you can stand intense heat (think 100-120 degrees F). Most tours don’t run this time of year due to the high temperature, however, you are free to visit yourselves ad the park is open all year long. Winters are much more bearable, with mild temperatures hovering around 50-75 degrees most days. However, our guide noted freezing days are not uncommon either. My advice – check the temperature before making the drive yourself and decide if you want to brave the intensity of it. Wildlife If you visit in the warmer months, beware of snakes and other critters. Coyote, kit fox, spotted skunk, and the black tailed jackrabbit can be found in the park, as well as tiny chipmunks and desert squirrels (who visited us during our lunch break). Note that most of these animals are noctural, meaning it is likely you wont come across any. Be on the lookout for desert big horn sheep when you enter the park – we saw a few, but the speeding cars ahead of us drove right past them. Can you spot them in the photo below? Tour Facts + We were picked up at our hotel in Las Vegas around 9am, got settled into the bus, and had a smooth ride to The Valley of Fire. Since we ended up having a private tour, we both claimed entire rows of seats to ourselves. Score! + I really appreciated the fact that the company runs it’s tours no matter how many people book. Don’t you hate waiting around until the day before to find out if your tour will indeed proceed? Talk about annoying! + We had a complete tour of the park, and were given more than enough time in each spot and location. We were the only ones on the tour for that matter. 😉 + Our guide was a sweet older man who had been touring the park for years and years, and answered every single one of my (insane) questions. + Lunch was provided and it was marvelous eating outside on a picnic table underneath the Seven Sisters. Kind of insane that we enjoyed our time at the Valley of Fire more so than the Grand Canyon. Is it just me or is the Grand Canyon a bit over rated? The perfect escape from the craziness that is Las Vegas. Amazingly revitalizing! — I was hosted as a guest by GetYourGuide, but as always, all opinions, and rock loving statements, are my own. Seriously guys, if you find yourself in Las Vegas in the near future, get your butt over to the Valley of Fire.