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interesting geological features at Valley of Fire State Park

Known for its vivid red sandstone formations, Valley of Fire State Park is one of Nevada’s most popular tourist attractions.

Covering an area of more than 42,000 acres it is a terrific place to come for scenic drives, hiking, birding, photography and picnicking.

This Nevada state park is also home to several historic and cultural sites, including the Atlatl Rock Petroglyphs, which are a series of ancient rock carvings that date back thousands of years.

Open all year-round the park is situated just a 50 minute drive from Las Vegas, making it a popular day trip destination from Sin City.

However, for those who want to spend a few nights within its hot desert environment, there are very good modern and primitive camping options available to stay at.


Guests can enjoy several recreational outdoor pursuits while at Valley of Fire State Park.

Showcased below is a brief outline of some of the most popular activities you can do during your time there.

Petroglyphs at Valley of Fire State Park

The Atlatl Rock Petroglyphs are a unique and significant feature of Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

Taking the form of ancient rock carvings that were created by the Ancestral Puebloans, over 2,000 years ago, the petroglyphs are located on a large sandstone rock outcropping. They depict various symbols and images, including hand prints, animals, and abstract designs.

The petroglyphs are considered to be one of the finest examples of rock art in the Southwest and are a popular destination for visitors to the park.

car driving on a road through Valley of Fire State Park

Visitors should be aware that the petroglyphs are a protected cultural resource and should treat them with respect and caution.

Subsequently, you should not touch, climb on, or damage the petroglyphs in any way, and should follow all park rules and guidelines when visiting them.

Hiking at Valley of Fire State Park

For those into hiking, Valley of Fire State Park offers several trails for visitors, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging hikes.

These trails provide the opportunity to explore the unique and colorful sandstone formations, as well as the area’s diverse wildlife and vegetation.

Some of the most popular trails in the park include the Fire Wave Trail, the White Domes Trail, and the Mouse’s Tank Trail. All of which differ in terms of length and degrees of difficulty.

Visitors should be prepared for the park’s hot and dry desert conditions. They should also bring plenty of water and electrolytes with them, as well as a hat, sunscreen, mosquito spray and sturdy shoes.

Hiking in the park can also be more enjoyable when done with a map and with a basic understanding of desert hiking safety and etiquette.

It is a good idea to bring your camera or smartphone with you as you will no doubt want to snap lots of photos whilst on the trails.

Picnicking at Valley of Fire State Park

The stark beauty of the park provides an excellent backdrop in which to enjoy a picnic.

Throughout the park there are several picnic areas available for guests to use. These include the Atlatl Rock picnic area and the Fire Canyon picnic area. Both of which offer picnic tables, shade shelters, and breathtaking views of the park’s red rock formations.

Guests are welcome to bring food with them to the park. However they must dispose of their trash responsibly and appropriately.

They are also asked to be considerate of other visitors to the park and keep noise to a minimum. The consumption of alcohol is also strictly prohibited.

Elephant Rock at Valley of Fire State Park

Birding at Valley of Fire State Park

If you are a birder, you will definitely want to bring your binoculars to Valley of Fire State Park as it is an excellent spot for birdwatching.

The park’s unique desert environment and diverse vegetation support a variety of bird species, including several species of hawks, vultures, doves, and sparrows.

In addition, the park is also home to several species of migratory birds, such as the vermilion flycatcher, which can be seen during the spring and fall migration periods.

Visitors who are interested in birdwatching may want to bring a bird identification guide to maximize their enjoyment of the experience. They should also be prepared to hike to various parts of the park to see the birds in their natural habitats.


If you want to bring your dog with you to Valley of Fire State Park you will be pleased to read that pets are allowed in designated areas of the park. These include all picnic areas and campgrounds.

However, they must be kept on a leash at all times and are not allowed to roam or disturb the fauna. Pets are also not allowed on park trails, backcountry area or slot canyons.

For a full rundown of its pet policy it is worth contacting the park’s main office for further clarification.


For those wanting to camp overnight at Valley of Fire State Park, there are several camping options available including developed campgrounds and backcountry camping.

The park’s developed campgrounds, such as the Arch Rock and Atlatl Rock campgrounds, offer amenities such as picnic tables, fire pits, and restroom facilities.

Its backcountry camping areas – namely Mouse’s Tank and White Domes – offer a more remote, scenic and primitive camping experience.

Visitors who are interested in camping in the park should be prepared for hot and dry desert conditions and should bring plenty of water, a hat, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes.

They should also be aware of wildlife, such as rattlesnakes, and should take relevant precautions when camping, including avoiding brushy areas and securing food and trash.

Park Location

Valley of Fire State Park
29450 Valley of Fire Hwy
Overton, NV 89040
Phone: 702.397.2088

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Valley of Fire State Park: