The Valley of Fire state park features dramatic and unique red sandstone formations created millions of years ago that contrast with gray and tan limestone. The contrasting color variations of the landscape are the highlight of the park and give the impression that it’s on fire, thereby giving the park it’s name. The colors are especially intense when illuminated at sunset.
Valley of Fire State Park is located about an hour northeast of Las Vegas, making it an easy day trip from Las Vegas. There is a $10 fee per vehicle per day to enter the park.
You can spend an hour or so driving through the park to take in the scenic vistas or a few hours to explore the area more and enjoy a couple of short hikes. Overnight camping is also available.
Remember this is a desert area where hydration is key, so be sure to come prepared with water. Stop off at the park visitor center for some history of the area or for specific information. You can also refill your water bottles at the visitor center.We spent 2-3 hours specifically exploring the fire wave and pink (or pastel) canyon. Parking is limited at the unmarked pink canyon trail head located at mile marker 5 of Mouse Tank Road. There are only a couple of pull outs on the side of the road near the trail head.
The Fire Wave
The Fire Wave trail is a 1.5 mile out and back. The trail head is marked but seemed a bit confusing as the trail seemed to fork in multiple directions. We initially forked left when we should have veered to the right. Many other people made the same choice as we did, although it was evident that those returning from the Fire Wave were returning on the shorter route on the right side.
Be on the lookout for wildlife too! While we were there we spotted mountain goats at the Fire Wave and again along side the road.