I have never heard of Valley of Fire until a friend of mine from across the pond pointed it out to me. Having seen his pictures, I was determined to explore this new scenic place that I had overlooked until then. I made it a part of my New Year's road trip that included Eureka Valley Sand Dunes..
Valley of Fire is the oldest state park in Nevada. Located some 50 miles from Las Vegas, it takes its name from bright orange, red and other color sandstone formations. It is home to a multitude of small rock arches, rock formations, ancient petroglyphs, and a beautiful desert scenery in general.
Having left Eureka Sand Dunes late, I spent a night in Beatty, and continued my drive toward Las Vegas the next morning. Hwy 95 passes the famous Area 51. I stopped at a highway stop that uses this theme to catch tourists traveling between Las Vegas and Death Valley. I wonder how many buy more than souvenirs and visit the adjacent brothel - only in Nevada...
|Sign along Hwy 95||Aliens and brothels ad||Rocket Diner billboard||Area 51 Alien Center||Towels on sale|
|Alien towels||Alien shooting||Brothel|
I set up my tent in a nice spot in Arch Rock campground, which of the two campgrounds in the park is more primitive and has more secluded campsites, and went on to explore the scenery of the park.
|Nevada landscape||Road into Valley of Fire||My campsite||Mazda on vacation||Balanced rock|
|Sun shooting contrails||Pink in a sea of red||Winding road ahead|
This formation of striped sand stone is reached from a parking lot next to the White Domes highway on a 0.7 mile trail. I set out there for a sunset. There is a lot of interesting desert scenery along the way. When I reached the wave, I had a lot of company. I stayed until I could enjoy it all by myself, and trekked back in the dark.
|Wrinkly stone||Fire Wave Trail||Collection line||Flowing sandstone|
|Yucca scenery||Yuccas and their shadows||Fire Wave||Upstream from the wave||Fire Wave||Fire Wave|
|Fire Wave||Velvety rock||Last sunlight||Fire Wave at dusk|
|Fire turtle?||Fire Wave area||Sandstone eye|
|Campfire in Valley of Fire|
I got up early to drive across the park and experience a sunrise at another iconic place, the Elephant Rock. Whether the formation looks like an elephant or a giant mosquito, the early start was worth it.
|Mosquito||Elephant rock||Opening||Valley of Fire park road||Red truck in a sea of red|
I stopped at the Fire Canyon lookout, and got into a chat with "a snowbird", a lady from British Columbia. Her husband and she drive their RV to Arizona to spend some part of winter there. Although she was clearly not as excited as I was by the scenery, I think she understood my passion, and offered me apples from their apple farm up north. They were delicious.
I continued to the parking lot that serves as a trailhead for a walk to the Fire Wave. From there, I followed a wash which eventually crossed the road and I ended up circled back to the Wave.
|Fire Canyon||Park road|
|Sandstone breasts||Photographer||Shadow||White Domes|
|Photographer's shadow||Window||Breasts||Fire Wave|
This area features a one mile loop that includes a walk among towering sand stone formation and a narrow slot canyon. The sun was high and after completing the loop. I returned to the camp to pack up. I checked out petroglyphs on Atlatl Rock nearby.
|White Domes trail||Shadow||Tourists in a slot canyon||Slot canyon|
|Yucca||Window||White Domes||White Domes||Petroglyphs of Atlatl Rock|
|Petroglyphs of Atlatl Rock||Staircase on Atlatl Rock|
I could not get enough of the colorful rocks and decided to stay until the sunset. I went back to Elephant Rock and later admired a winding road through the most colorful and varied sandstone area on the way to White Domes. I drove back to Las Vegas along Lake Mead, and from Las Vegas continued all the way back to the Bay Area...
|Elephant Rock||Elephant Rock||Elephant Rock||Park road|
|Winding road||Fiat on vacation||Mazda on vacation|
|Mazda on vacation|