Some people call it the hidden gem of Vegas. Located only 50 miles outside of the strip, Valley of Fire is a perfect place to escape the crowded Vegas streets.
-The state park can get EXTREMELY hot in the summertime, so if you think you have enough water and snacks…double it. We went in early May and were running to the visitors center every two seconds to buy more Gatorade so be prepared!
-It is essential to bring comfortable waking/hiking shoes, sunscreen,hat, and sunglasses, and DON’T forget your camera!
– It is very helpful to get a park map when entering Valley of Fire as things can be a little off the beaten path with no signage. If you do have trouble locating something, the park rangers at the visitors center are very helpful. We went in and showed them a couple pictures of what we were looking for and they marked it out on the map for us.
The following are a couple of my favorite spots from our visit:
1. “Crazy Hill”
Crazy Hill is located off of the third parking lot past Rainbow Vista. The parking lot will be on the left side of the road. Once in the parking lot and having your back to the road, you will see a wash that starts from the far right corner of the parking lot. Follow the wash down for about 5-7 minutes of steady walking and veer a little to the right and you will see the hill.
2. Elephant Rock
Elephant Rock is known as one of the most iconic sights at Valley of Fire and it is extremely easy to get to and requires almost no hiking. Follow the road that the entrances are on down towards the East Entrance (going away from the West Entrance) and it will eventually be on the left side of the road. It isn’t really well marked and there is no sign so keep your eyes peeled. Once you pass Elephant Rock, there will be a parking lot a little ways down. You can park and walk over to the arch from there. If you’re able it’s always fun to climb to the top and get a picture riding a stone elephant 😉
3. “The Slots”
The slots are located off of the road and can be a bit tricky to find. If you are leaving from the visitors center and heading down the road that leads to White Domes, start counting the concrete dips in the road. The concrete dips are very apparent dips in the road that are filled in with concrete instead of asphalt. Starting from the visitors center, there will be 5. Dips 4 and 5 are very close to each other. We veered right off of dip 5 and the trail/wash led us right to the slots. You want to go off of the right side of the road if you are coming from the visitors center. You can’t see them from the side of the road and have to walk a little ways to get to them, but the path that leads there is pretty apparent. One of my favorite things about this spot is that it’s not very well known so you will usually have it all to yourself. It does have a little bit of shade in some parts which makes for a great private picnic spot in the midst of rainbow pink sandstone
Note: There really isn’t any parking close to dips 4 and 5. We ended up parking in the third parking lot and walked to the dips. It is a little ways and there aren’t any clear walking paths so be safe and watch out for cars.
4. Fire Wave
Along with Elephant Rock, the Fire Wave is one of the most iconic formations at Valley of Fire. There are a couple of ways to get to there. One is a trail located across the street from the third parking lot (same parking lot for Crazy Hill). However, we just kept on walking past the slots and stayed along the wash trail and eventually ran into it on our left hand side. You can also find more detailed directions about how to get to the Fire Wave here. We liked this spot so much that we came back for sunset. The way the setting sun lit up the sandstone was breathtaking.