Valley of Fire State Park is a real gem located in the desert 16 miles south of Overton, Nevada.
Take Nevada State Route 169 south out of Overton for about 10 miles then turn right on to Valley of Fire Highway
at the east entrance to the park. There is an entrance fee (I think it was $15 out-of-state). The west entrance
to the park can be accessed from Las Vegas via I-15.The park valley is filled with vibrant red Aztec Sandstone
formations from which it derives its name. The park covers nearly 46,000 acres making it the largest state
park in Nevada, and was established in 1935, making it the oldest state park.
There is a visitor center , numerous picnic areas, and two campgrounds with a total of 72 campsites available
on a first come-first served basis. There are also RV sites with water and electrical hookups.
I spent a little more than half a day in the park in April of 2021 and only saw about half of what there was to see. There are some short hikes which are presented below and some longer ones which are not. Things I missed that I will definitely do next time include Arrowhead Loop Trail and the Atlatl Scenic Loop. I might even hike part of the Old Arrowhead Road Trail. I had a great time in the park and it's high on my list of recommendations. We will start our tour at the east entrance of the park, but bounce around after that.
Lone Rock and the Cabins
Lone Rock is a 3,000 lb piece of sandstone sitting all by itself just off the Valley of Fire Highway. There is one picnic table and a barbeque grill. The picnic table is sort of under Lone Rock and gets afternoon shade.
It's a short drive from Lone Rock to the Cabins. There are three cabins that were built in the 1930s by the CCC to house visitors to the park. They are constructed of sandstone blocks, and each one has a fireplace that was the only source of heat back in the day. There is a panel of petroglyphs located on a rock face behind the cabins.
The Seven Sisters are a row of 7 red sandstone monoliths located right off the Valley of Fire Highway. This is a great place to stop for a bite to eat because there is a spacious covered picnic area located among the rocks.
White Domes Trail
The parking lot and trailhead for White Domes Trail are located at the end of the White Dome Scenic Byway. This trail is a 1.1 mile loop rated for all skill levels. There is a 177 ft elevation change and parts of the trail are very sandy (flip-flops not recommended). Along the way you will encounter part of an old movie set and pass through a short slot canyon. All in all a very nice hike.
Scenes from the 1966 western, "The Professionals" were filmed in the White Domes. A Mexican hacienda was built on the site of the current White Domes parking lot. The remains of an adobe structure also built for the movie is pictured in a following photo. "Electric Horseman" and "Star Trek Generations" were also filmed in the park.
Fire Wave Trail
Fire Wave Trail is a 1.5 mile out and back trail that's rated for all skill levels. The trailhead is located directly across the road from parking lot #3. Dogs can travel this trail but must be kept on leash. The fire wave formation at the end of the trail is spectacular. No so sure I got a picture of "The Fire Wave", but the pictures I did get are fantastic. Parts of the formation remind me of strips of bacon , and other parts look like projections of topographic maps.
The Rainbow Vista Trail is an easy 1 mile out and back hike. It ends at the Fire Canyon Wash Overlook with panoramic views of the desert landscape. The first portion of it is very sandy. I have to confess I didn't make it to the overlook. I was hot and thirsty and trudging through the sand when I came across a desert iguana (photos below). After taking the photos I made the executive decision to return to my vehicle for a cold drink.
Atlatl Rock is a formation that contains a couple of rock faces full of petroglyphs. The park service has installed stairs up to a veiwing platform where you can get a good look at these petroglyphs.
An atlatl is a primitive spear-throwing device. Atlatls used by ancestral puebloans were wooden shafts about 2 feet long with a cup or spur at one end that held the butt of the spear. Use of an atlatl imparted additional velocity to the spear. The throwing motion was similar to that used for a modern canine tennis ball thrower.
I have to say I had a hard time finding anything that looked like an atlatl or atlatl thrower among the petroglyphs. If you look at the upper right center of the first photo along the shadow border there appears to be a person holding what could be a spear over his head, but it's pretty iffy. Of course the possiblity exists that I just totally missed the atlatl. Another possiblity is that there is no atlatl petroglyph and the name was picked just because it sounds way cool. Who knows?
Background content obtained from park brochures and Wikipedia.
Use the form on the Home Page to submit comments, questions, or suggestions. TD Productions Copyright © 2021