If you’re ever in the Las Vegas, NV area and have a full day to explore, we highly recommend checking out Valley of Fire State Park. A short 60-minute drive from the strip, Valley of Fire State Park is a perfect day hiking trip while in Vegas. Most of the trails are fairly short, so you are able to hike multiple trails in one day and see most of what the park has to offer. We recommend hiking this area October-April as it is really hot in the summer months.
The park has a host of unique attractions including the fire wave, a brightly colored Aztec sandstone formation, ancient petrified trees, 2,000-year-old petroglyphs, and unique rock formations. There are also campsites in the park so if you want to spend more than a day, that is an option as well. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset and there is a $10 entrance fee. Camping is $20.00 per night + $10.00 for sites with utility hook ups and are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. The visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
On our last trip to the park, we spent the day hiking the Fire Wave Trail, Mouse’s Tank Trail, Pinnacles Loop Trail, Rainbow Vista Trail, and Elephant Rock Loop. We also made stops at the Petrified Logs, Atlatl Rock, Clark Memorial, and the cabins. Although it was a packed day, we had plenty of time to enjoy all of it!
Fire Wave Trail
Our favorite trail in the park was the Fire Wave Trail, although short and easy (1.5 miles round-trip with 175 feet of gain) it ends at a spectacular bright red sandstone formation. The beauty of it took our breath away.
Mouse's Tank Trail
After starting the day with the Fire Wave we though there would be no way the other trails in the park would be as spectacular. We were not disappointed. The Mouse's Tank Trail to Petroglyph Canyon is also a short .75 round trip hike with very little elevation gain that ends at a natural water tank. There are also petrogyphs. Thousands of them. We literally spent over an hour looking at the amazing 2,000 year old carvings that have been well preserved on the steep walls of the canyon. Suns and bighorn sheep and native dancers carved into the wall tell a story of the people long past. It was beautiful and moving to see such an amazing piece of history.
Pinnacles Loop Trail & Atlatl Rock
We had an inside tip to hike the Pinnacles Loop Trail because of the solitude we would find being it is a longer hike and not very popular. We took a chance and found a real gem of a trail. We didn’t see one other person the entire time. The trail starts on the opposite side of the road from Atlatl Rock and heads up a wash. At the end of the wash, you’ll end at a beautiful rock formation, the pinnacles, and looking back, a great view of the park. If you hike and out and back, it’s 4 miles round trip. If you do the whole loop, it’s 7 miles.
Rainbow Vista Trail
A short 1.5 mile round trip trail that meanders through colorful rocks and ends at an overlook. It is a stunning view with stunning colors of pink, red, crimson, salmon, set against sage green brush.
Elephant Rock Loop
Probably one of the most photographed rock formations in the park (mostly because of its proximity next to the main road), elephant rock really looks like an elephant. It is a short 1.5 mile loop hike that takes you to the backside of elephant rock. If you’re looking to grab a photo of it, this is the trail to take to get it.
We also made our stops at the Clark Memorial, the Petrified Log, and the Cabins- and had to get our photo at the Welcome sign! All in all, this is a beautiful park to visit.
Visit the state park website here for more information: