Valley of Fire State Park is a Hidden Gem
During our Vegas weekend trip over Thanksgiving 2019, we ventured to Zion National Park one day and then Valley of Fire the next. We had always planned on seeing Zion once we booked the trip, but the Valley of Fire was a last minute decision. We were looking for a park or springs close enough to Vegas that we could do the entire trip, including driving, in 7 hours. We stumbled upon this park because of a blogger’s IG picture I’d seen a few days before flying to Vegas and decided on a whim to check it out.
The drive out to the park goes through a desert with 360-degree mountain views. There was basically no one else on this straight road through the desert, but us. The last few miles of the drive wind through one of the mountain ranges and you come out on the other side to beautiful red sandstone rocks with whites and pinks sprinkled throughout, sprawling farther than the eye can see.
The entrance fees were only $10 and you can drive along all the roads. Because this park as such few visitors, you are alone on many of the trails at this time of year and there are no park rangers in sight. We committed to stopping at as many hikes and views as possible and ended up starting at the farthest point on the map to work our way back to the entrance and seeing the following: Elephant Rock Loop, Natural Arches Trail, Rainbow Vista Trail White Domes Loop, Petrified Logs Loop, Atlatl Rock & Arch Rock, Fire Canyon and the Beehives.
We ended our day watching the sunset while smoking a cigar and splitting a 6 pack of Coors Lights in the bed of our pick-up truck. Not sure I could’ve picked a better way to spend a Sunday in November. Sometimes the unplanned is better than the planned because you have no expectations which makes the entire experience more real and raw. Aside from the beautiful views, we saw thousands of year-old fossils, petrified wood, animal tracks (wolves, deer, sheep, rabbits), and even watched a whole herd of long horn sheep grazing from one of our perches we climbed up to.
This is one of those parks that I don’t want to tell you too much about because it is better to experience it all for yourself. You only really need a day, but I would also encourage you to find a camp spot for a night in this park if you can!