This beautiful and amazing gem is just fifty miles outside of Las Vegas. It is definitely worth a visit!
It’s $10 for non-Nevada residents which would be me. I thought I could pass by the entrance on my way to Highway 169 via the Valley of Fire highway but, no.
Tip #1 If you drive from I–15 onto Valley of Fire highway, that takes you to the west entrance. The road is a through connection to Highway 169 but no matter what you have to pay the park entrance fee.
Tip #2 Coming in from the east entrance from Highway 169 and Lake Mead National Recreation area it is the honor system to pay cash at the box or by card at the visitor center.
Now that you are in this beautiful Nevada State Park, Tip #3 The America the Beautiful pass does not work in the state park.
Tip #4 Be aware that not all the maps are the same. The paper map they give you and the map boards are different. The most popular hike (because of the beautiful photo opportunity) is the fire wave hike.
Tip #5 The fire wave is at parking lot number three on White Dome road.
Tip #6 The visitor center has great exhibits and even live reptiles. Peanut, Elvis, and Fred were quite lively when we were there around 10 AM.
Tip #7 If you’re looking for petroglyphs you will find them! Look at every black residue on the red rocks for carvings! Tip #8 At Atlatl Rock there are carvings of an arrow and atlatl up at the top of the stairs. I didn’t realize this until my second trip there. Hence the name Atlatl Rock. They also do atlatl demonstrations at the picnic area but check the visitors center for upcoming events in the park.
Tip #9 The really cool carvings, in my opinion are around the corner though. If you are at the stairs looking at Atlatl rock go to your left around the rock. There is a boulder on the ground filled with carvings! Actually all over the Atlatl and Arch rock areas are spectacular petroglyphs!
Tip #10 If you want a quick, shower head into the Atlatl campground. There are five or so showers available. Warning though there is little to no parking unless you have a campsite. We had a small vehicle and showers were available so it was a quick visit.
Tip #11 If you are a fan of petrified wood there are two opportunities to see petrified logs in the desert! I liked the short loop hike across from the Atlatl turn. There were several petrified logs.
Tip # 12 My other favorite part of the park is Mouse’s Tank. It has a little rock basin at the end of the trail that keeps rainwater for months. The hike in though is the fun part. Pretty much every other rock has prehistoric petroglyphs. Before you start the Mouse’s Tank look at the information board with all the different petroglyphs examples and possible definitions. While walking through, though everyone was making their own ideas as to their meanings.
My final tip, Tip #13, is to go to White Dome. I didn’t complete the loop hike and I’m sure it is beautiful but I really liked looking at the old movie set from the 1965 movie The Professionals.
I very much enjoyed my time peeking into ancient history and a little bit of a modern history while in Valley of Fire State Park.
If you would like more information of course check out the state parks website: http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire
P.S. Bonus Tip!! Since I live on the road, I live very frugally. I almost never pay to camp. There is this awesome website called https://freecampsites.net/. It gave me a few options for free camping right outside the park! I chose Sand Mine Rd. It had great reception and very few people.