Breathtaking…a complete understatement as I looked around Valley of Fire, Nevada. Many areas looked like it could be part of Mars or a different planet. So rich in color, so rich in history, and absolutely a delight to see. In fact, this park was home to several famous movies, including Star Wars and the Professionals.
Their contact address is officially 29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV, 89040 but the map routes you here (Note that the map routes you to the visitor’s center).
We had one day to try to fit everything in and of course it wasn’t enough. But I’m grateful we got to go! I never knew about this state park so close to Las Vegas until a friend mentioned it and I’m so glad she recommended it! We all knew about Red Rock Canyon (hiked it years ago), and it’s spectacular as well, but this is so diverse and unique, I promised myself we’d have to go back another time for sure.
There is a slot canyon to explore (part of the White Dome hike I write about at the end of this post), but also quite a few rock formations that are spectacular. The park has many attractions so it does take time to get from one place to another, but it was also time to cherish the gorgeous views and take it all in.
This is only one example of the many rock formations and my little one was most interested in seeing this because she loves elephants. It wasn’t much of a trek from the parking lot and in fact, it’s quite visible from the main road but you can’t park directly in front of it, so we walked up a small hill and there it was. To protect the rock for future generations, there’s a sign prohibiting people from climbing it so we stayed a distance. We’d love for this guy to be here for generations to come! However, there were little ‘wind tunnel’ like holes under the rock formations nearby and my little one played happily under and pretended it was her house.
Speaking of house, this is where people in the 1930’s built theirs (They call it ‘The Cabins’). We walked into each one of the three houses that were separated by thin walls but otherwise linked. The kids had a field day here and played until it almost got dark…which is why I was able to enjoy the sunset here and take some neat pictures. It has no air conditioning of course so I’m not sure how people handled the heat back then in the summer, but they sure knew where the views are…here’s one photo looking out of the window.
And right outside the door…
And here is another example of the holes in the rocks everywhere. It was truly a fun day for kids climbing in and out of these! I was pretty amazed too crawling through them and depending on the angle and the lighting you can take some pretty awesome pictures…
like this from inside the hole sideways…ok…having too much fun! 🙂 Always quite dramatic and so much detail and color in every shot.
And this is the famed Atatl Rock. Too bad there were no photos of us up on the stairs (forgot to bring a tripod) so in the left photo, I took one of fellow visitors at the park, just to get a idea of the size of this Atatl Rock. We climbed up the stairs and there were petroglyphs (top right photo)! The other two photos (middle and bottom right) were taken as I looked down the stairs. Awesome views!
More examples of the topography and rock formations. The first two top photos were taken near the Beehives. There were rocks that were shaped like beehives but my kids loved the ones near by that had multiple holes and they all climbed upon it and claimed their ‘rooms.’ The second top photo was taken through one of those rooms looking out into the beautiful mountains.
So now we get to the White Dome Hike, which was possibly my favorite part of the day. Here is the map at the trail head…short loop a little over a mile but VERY scenic. The slots were only 0.3 miles in!
We began by going downhill…one really needs to be extra careful on the steps as it could be a bit slippery with sand and small rocks can shift. It felt fairly steep but it wasn’t so bad…probably seemed like it more because there were no rails and it was narrow.
Pretty soon, we got to remnants of the film set of “The Professionals.” I haven’t watched the movie yet but wonder if anyone recognizes the backdrop? 🙂
We continued just a little more and started seeing the ‘bacon’ like striations in the rock. (I think I’m getting hungry!:0). But right here is near the the beginning of the slot canyon.
I was fascinated by the striations in the rock and the various colors too. My eldest went inside one of these holes and looked around in it. Quite marvelous!
Look at the colors! I’ve been different slot canyons before (Death Valley, Anza Borrego), and they all look similar but the color variation here takes the cake. It quickly got narrower and cooler but it was short.
The narrows opened up to a well lined rock path and beautiful landscape.
This was my favorite rock to sit in. The view was fantastic, and it was so peaceful resting in there. We were there for a good 15 minutes just appreciating everything that is nature…
There were many rock formations along the way but I like the pastel colors of this one…that light pink with yellow…there was also very faint green but I’m not sure if its visible here.
In the picture below, this was the view out. Wow.We stood and admired some more.
Instead of finishing the loop, my eldest wanted to see the slot canyons again. So we turned around and went back the way we started.
Absolutely magnificent! Pictures don’t do this park justice, but it sure helps me to remember the sense of awe and peace just standing there.
We were out of time but happy to see everything. I think we were incredibly lucky to see as much as we did because the temperature was mild in the winter. In the summer I don’t think I’d last for more than an hour for sure. But it was also their busy season so there were much more tourists and traffic than I anticipated, but it still wasn’t as bad as the traffic at Red Rock the next day (we didn’t end up hiking there because of the long line in).
I wanted to see the Fire Canyon (rocks that remind me of huge twisted ‘bacon’ slices) and Rainbow Vista (supposedly has a pastel slot canyon), but that just gives me more reason to visit again.
Until next time!