Where is Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park, which earns its name from the Aztec Sandstone formations present in and around it, is located in Southern Nevada. The park lies near Overton, Nevada and 50 miles Northeast of Las Vegas, and shares a boundary with the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Valley of the Fire State Park’s premier attraction are the Aztec Sandstone formations that derived its name. These formations appear on fire when they reflect the sun’s direct rays. The park is also notable for its appearances in several movies including Total Recall, Viva Las Vegas, and The Professionals.
How Big is Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire US State Park contains over 45,000 acres and is considered one of Nevada’s premier recreation and nature preservations. The park’s elevation varies from 1,300 to 3,000 feet above sea level. The park offers over 25 miles of hiking trails, several camping and picnic opportunities, and various ancient petroglyphs visitors can view and visit.
Valley of Fire State Park Weather
Residing in the Mojave Desert, the weather and climate of Valley of Fire State Park frequently experiences several extremes. High temperatures in the park can reach an excess of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the park can also experience extremely low temperatures; especially at night and in the Winter. The record low temperature for the park is 12 degrees Fahrenheit which occurred in the month of December. The average high temperature for the park is 81 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low is 58 degrees. The park receives almost no rainfall all year except for in the Summer when monsoon season occurs. The average rainfall for the park is 6.5 inches.
When did Valley of Fire become a State Park
Valley of Fire State Park officially became a part of the Nevada Park system in 1935. However, the process of creating the park began in 1931 with the transfer of over 8,500 acres from the federal government. Way before Valley of Fire was in the mind’s of state legislators, the park provided a home to the Ancestral Puebloans.
Things to do in Valley of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire of State Park offers its visitors plenty to keep them busy. Some of our National Park Visitors Guide favorite adventures and recreational opportunities are listed below:
Valley of Fire State Park Visitor Center
The best place to start for any visitor of Valley of Fire State Park is the park’s visitor center. Here, visitors can become oriented with the park via several maps and handouts, including trail maps and information about camping in the park. The Valley of Fire State Park Visitor Center is also the perfect place for visitors to learn about the park’s history and cultural ties. The center includes several exhibits that educate viewers on the park’s various petroglyphs, ecological, and geological features.
Rainbow Vista Trail
The Rainbow Vista Trail offers visitors dramatic views and the ability to travel back in time as they travel over geographic features that formed years ago. The Rainbow Vista trail is one mile long.
The Prospect trail in Valley of Fire State Park is 4.6 miles one way. The trail traverses a variety of geographic features and provides hikers with views of several Nevada wildflower species. The trail also is frequently used by birdwatchers. The trail is defined as moderate in terms of hiking difficulty.
Visitors and hikers who are visiting the park alongside their furry companions will want to check out the Pinnacles Loop. One of the only trails in the park that offers the opportunity for hikers to bring their dog along with them, the Pinnacles loop is 4.5 miles long. The trail features dramatic views and opportunities to see several Nevada wildflower species.
A natural basin in the surrounding rock where water collects, Mouse’s Tank is named for a Southern Paulite Indian Renegade who used the area as his hideout. The area features several petroglyphs that visitors can view and access rather easily. The area can be accessed by a half mile hike from the nearby trailhead.
Located near the park’s campground of the same name, Atlatl Rock is another area in the park that allows visitors to get up close and personal with a variety of ancient petroglyphs. A set of stairs near the Atlatl Rock Picnic Area will guide visitors up several rock formations and place them in front of several of the area’s petroglyphs.
Annual Atlatl Competition
The atlatl was the weapon of choice for Native Americans before the invention of the bow and arrow. The park hosts the Annual Atlatl Competition where competitors craft their own Atlatl and get judged on its performance, appearance, and sturdiness.
Camping in Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park contains two campgrounds: The Atlatl Rock Campground and The Arch Rock Campground. The two campgrounds have a combined total of 72 campsites. All campsites within Valley of Fire State Park are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. In the spring and fall months, campsites fill up frequently. It is recommended that campers get to park early to reserve a site.
When to go to Valley of Fire State Park
Spring and Fall temperatures draw the highest levels of visitation to the park. Spring brings an additional pop of color to the park as wildflowers begin to bloom. Summer months can be extremely hot. Winter is another great time to visit the park and avoid Spring and Fall crowds. However, visitation in the Winter is still higher than the Summer. Visitors planning to visit the park in Fall or Spring will want to arrive at the park early. Campsites and the park’s trails begin to fill up by midday.
Must-Have Things to Bring to Valley of Fire State Park
Anyone planning to visit Valley of Fire State Park will want to bring a few supplies with them. List of Parks has outlined them below:
A visit to any state or national park requires visitors to bring water, but a visit to Valley of Fire State Park demands it. Summer temperatures in the park can reach highs of 115-degree Fahrenheit and hikers frequently become dehydrated. It is recommended that hikers drink at least a gallon of water every day to protect themself in the desert sun. Campers will want to bring extra water with them.
The park offers very little in terms of food or snacks. Visitors and campers will want to bring all their meals and snacks along with them to the park. Hikers should look to bring lightweight energy filled snacks along with them on the trail. Beef jerky, trail mix, fruit, and others like these are the best.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
Several trails in Valley of Fire State Park consist of treacherous terrain that can twist anyone’s ankle in a hurry. A sturdy pair of hiking boots is recommended for anyone looking to visit the park. Hikers and campers will want to upgrade their boots to a lightweight and breathable pair for added comfort.
Visitors looking to visit the park in the summer will want to bring a rain jacket along with them. Monsoon season normally brings frequent thunderstorms and rain showers to Valley of Fire State Park. A lightweight rain jacket will protect hikers and visitors from the rain but not over heat them.
Layers of Clothing
Campers looking to visit the park will want to bring various layers of clothing. The Mojave Desert can feature scorching temperatures during the day and near freezing temperatures at night. A few layers of clothing will allow visitors to stay comfortable all day and night.
Valley of Fire State Park contains several hiking trails. These hiking trails can become disorienting quickly in the midday sun. Anyone venturing into the park will want to stop by the park’s visitor center to receive various maps and information. Trail maps can also be viewed on the park’s website.
Yes, really! Bring even more water than what you think you will need. Your post hike self will thank you.
Where to Stay in Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park features two campgrounds. The campgrounds are first come, first serve, and include 72 sites. Visitors to the park looking to stay in a hotel or other lodging facility will want to visit nearby Overton or make the drive to Las Vegas for a true Nevada experience.
Food Nearby Valley of Fire State Park
The closest food to Valley of Fire State Park is located in Overton. The town features several restaurants and grocery stores where hikers and campers can replenish their supplies. Visitors looking for more options will want to make the 50-mile drive to Las Vegas.
Airports Near Valley of Fire State Park
Boulder City Airport is the closest airport to Valley of Fire State Park. However, Las Vegas International Airport will provide the quickest and most cost-effective flights into the area. The airport is 2 hours and 45 minutes from the park.