Las Vegas Day Trip to Valley of Fire State Park

April 17, 2015

After a recent work trip to Las Vegas, I stayed an extra 2 days to visit with family and friends. While I could have spent all my time with my loved ones, I made sure to leave enough time in my schedule to explore the desert (which was much needed after working a conference for four days straight). Typically, I head out to Red Rock Canyon as it is close to where our family lives and can easily be explored in as little as 2 hours. This time, however, I decided to take a day trip to Valley of Fire State Park. I had previously visited Valley of Fire once just over 6 years ago. I had a horrible camera back then and didn’t get many good shots. This time I had a better camera, but didn’t have as much time to explore as I would have liked. Thankfully, we visit family in Vegas at least once a year and I can make a return trip!

Park History

Valley of Fire State Park was dedicated in 1935 and is Nevada’s oldest state park. Located about 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas, and is just a few miles west of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Valley of Fire got it’s name from the red sandstone formations that formed as the result of shifting sand dunes about 150 million years ago (during the age of the dinosaurs).

Drive to the West Entrance

One of the things I love most about Valley of Fire is the drive from Interstate 15 to the West Entrance of the park. As I made this drive on a weekday morning, there was hardly any traffic and provided me the opportunity to stop for photos often. Who doesn’t love that!?

Valley of Fire West Entrance  

Main Road

As soon as you drop over the mountains you are greeted with a stunning vista of bright reds and desert shadows. If you continue driving the main road through the park you will eventually end up near the visitors center, which has information on (and living specimens of) native wildlife, historical information, a gift shop, water, snacks, and restrooms (always important).

Valley of Fire West Entrance

Valley of Fire West Entrance


The area around the Beehives is quite beautiful. Not only can you get really close to the formations, but there is plenty of climbing opportunities! You don’t even need to be a skilled rock climber, there natural topography makes it easy for visitors to wander through the beehives and near bye formations. There are some great photo opportunities just a few feet from the parking lot, so be sure to get out of the car and explore! Note: If you plan on doing some climbing, I highly recommend taking a bottle of water along as the heat should not be messed with!

Valley of Fire Beehives Valley of Fire Beehives Valley of Fire Beehives Valley of Fire Beehives Valley of Fire Beehives

Arch Rock Scenic Loop

I recommend taking time to drive the scenic loop around Atlatl and Arch Rocks. The scenic loop is a partially paved and just about 2 miles in length. There are several areas of interest along the drive, including petroglyphs and a natural arch rock.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire Valley of Fire Valley of Fire


Plan Your Visit

Check out these resources to help you plan your own trip to Valley of Fire State Park:

You can also learn more about Valley of Fire at:


By Sara Beth

Sara Beth is a digital geek with a passion for all things National Parks, Road Trips, Genealogy, and Cheese. Her early years were spent in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. After college graduation, she moved to Las Vegas, fell in love, and adopted a dog. Today, she lives with her husband and their dog in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

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  1. Avatar

    I have been planning a trip here for a long time. I would like to do a Las Vegas (short stay), Valley of Fire, Zion and Bryce trip. Maybe for fall. Thanks for giving me more insight into this beautiful place.

    • Avatar

      That sounds like a great trip! Zion is one of my favorite NP's and Bryce is where we got engaged, so it will always be special. I also recommend Red Rock Canyon just outside of Vegas if you have any extra time. :)

  2. Avatar

    These photos are beautiful! Just hopped over from the #Weekendwanderlust link up, and as a newbie to the Southwest, this is definitely on my to-visit list. Thanks for posting!

  3. Avatar

    Wow, that scenery is so amazing! I love the rocks, but also the pictures of the desert stretching into the horizon looks just so unreal. I really have to go there some time!

  4. Avatar

    We went to Las Vegas last year, wish we had made this day trip! We went to Grand Canyon, though.