Valley of Fire

May 4, 2015
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Valley of Fire State Park is a must-see if you have time while you’re in Las Vegas. It is just about an hour north of Las Vegas and provides jaw-dropping rock formations in the most gorgeous fiery colors. I was in Las Vegas with my own family of six, as well as a family reunion with my three siblings, their families and my mother. We decided to explore Valley of Fire together and my kids made such great memories climbing with their cousins.

EAT
+ They do not sell food inside the park so pack a picnic (and a cooler) before you leave Las Vegas.

DO
+
Stop by the Visitor Center before exploring the park. The employee there told us where to focus our time hiking (Mouse’s Tank and White Dome) and where to just stop for a photo (Rainbow Vista). And there are amazing places to explore and climb just at the Visitor Center itself. 
+ Hike and climb everywhere. We hiked through Mouse’s Tank and around White Dome.
+ Camp at one of their many first-come, first-served spaces. We met someone in Las Vegas and told them about our plans to see Valley of Fire and he mentioned how special it is to camp there. I could only imagine how serene and beautiful it would be to appreciate it all day while camping.

valley-of-fire-balanced-rockThe beautiful Balanced Rock, just a short walk from the Visitor Center parking lot.

valley-of-fire-lewisclimbvalley-of-fire-trio valley-of-fire-ralphieMy nearly two-year-old son Ralph loved picking up (and throwing) all the rocks. I was also pretty impressed with his climbing abilities.

valley-of-fire-akThis is my seven-year-old daughter Annabelle. She collects rocks and has studied petroglyphs and fossils and thought this park (especially the Mouse’s Tank area) was just the coolest place.

valley-of-fire-mouses-tankMOUSES’S TANK TRAIL is a cavern with a very sandy footpath that lets you go between beautiful rock formations and gorgeous prehistoric petroglyphs. Our kids loved looking at the different petroglyph shapes and symbols and guessing their meaning. We also spotted lizards along the path, to the delight of all the kids.

valley-of-fire-stepsvalley-of-fire-facesvalley-of-fire-petroglyphs-Evalley-of-fire-petroglyphs-closeClose-up of the beautiful petroglyphs!

valley-of-fire-rainbow-vistaThe gorgeous view at Rainbow Vista.

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White Dome loop has a covered picnic area and huge white sandstones to climb. This is where we stopped for lunch and it was a great place to eat while the kids ran off and climbed.

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Visiting Valley of Fire State Park reminded me a lot of Joshua Tree – it is such a unique and beautiful desert landscape. We’ve had such great visits at both of these parks that I’m itching to discover what other national or state parks offer similar experiences.

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