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Ignite Adventure: Best Hikes in the Valley of Fire

Explore Nevada's oldest and most spectacular state park.

Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Photo: Filip Fuxa, Shutterstock


If you're one of those hikers who only spends all their time visiting national parks, this guidebook will be a wake-up call to get out of your comfort zone and investigate the lesser-known gems. The first time you visit Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park, you may find yourself wondering, "Wow, why isn't this place a national park?!" The splendor of the Valley of Fire's red rock formations is absolutely surreal and can compete with the best national parks in the USA!

The Valley of Fire is Nevada's oldest state park, designated in 1935. In 1968, it received recognition as a National Natural Landmark, but its continued ownership by the State of Nevada keeps it under the radar of the hordes that descend on places like Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park. That said, its proximity to the metropolis of Las Vegas—only about 50 miles from the city—makes it a popular weekend trip for residents or a day trip for Vegas tourists who want to experience more than the inside of a casino.

The park consists of nearly 46,000 acres of land protecting "bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone," according to Parks.nv.gov. If you look closer and begin to examine the smaller details of the park, you'll also find spectacular petroglyph panels that are more than 2,000 years old and petrified trees scattered through the cliffs and sand dunes.

Naturally, the Valley of Fire is a haven for hikers. And unlike some places where you must hike many miles to reach a beautiful view, most of the park's best hikes are less than two miles long. Some of the most famous hikes include the Fire Wave Trail, White Domes Loop, and the Seven Wonders Trail. But don't sleep on some of the lesser-traveled routes, such as the Natural Arches Trail.

If you want a more epic adventure, the Prospect Trail is the longest single trail in the state park. It forms a remote route with few trail markings that requires hikers to be self-sufficient and prepared to navigate with their own maps—or a handy resource like FATMAP.

And these hikers are just the highlights! Dive deep into this guidebook for a slew of hike recommendations. There are plenty of adventures to fill a long weekend of red rock excursions.

If you want to make your trip longer than a single day, be sure to get a reservation in one of the campgrounds—but you'll have to plan far in advance to score a spot on the weekend during peak season. If you can't score a campsite in the park, there's plenty of dispersed camping on BLM land not far from the park's boundaries. Entry to the state park costs $10 for Nevada residents and $15 for out-of-state visitors.

Sources: https://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ValleyofFireStatePark

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