There is a place so unique that I have been dying to get to as long as I can remember. I’m honestly surprised it’s not a national park because it is so breath-taking.
Valley of Fire State Park is located just 45 minutes northeast of Las Vegas, and it is one of the coolest state parks I’ve ever been to. And by coolest, I mean neatest, not temperature-wise. It was 107° F at 7:30 p.m. when Paige and I went for a sunset hike!
If you’re not used to the desert heat, I don’t recommend coming here from June-August. If you do come then, you’ll want to come early in the morning or late in the evening, when the UV index is lower. However, it’s definitely worth venturing out here.
Even driving through the park is really cool! Check out the road that winds through the red rocks.
Although there are many cool spots to pull off and hike, I recommend driving north past the visitors center until you reach the 3rd parking lot. This is where the Fire Wave Trail begins. It’s actually one of the newest trails at the park, and isn’t featured on all the maps. However, it’s the reason I drove out to the middle of the desert.
Paige and I weren’t the only ones who braved the heat and came out to this trail! However, we soon separated from this group and had the trail to ourselves. It was such a surreal experience to be in a state park virtually alone.
As you can see, from the very beginning there are epic rocks you wind your way up and around. The trail starts off as sand, which is tricky, but after that it gets easier.
This trail is only about .75 miles out, and that’s when you get to the amazing bowl shape where you are surrounded by striped rocks. They have a flow, creating a wave-like sensation. That’s where this trail gets its name from.
After this point, the trail isn’t marked very well, but it gave us free-range to explore! I still can’t believe we were the only ones out here in this vast rocky desert.
Our only companion was the moon.
If you climb up high enough you can see the vastness of Nevada surrounding you. There are mountains in the distance, shrubs littering the surface of the rock, and a massive sky overhead. I’ve never seen anything like it.
At the end of the trail it gets steeper and there are even more impressive formations. It was smart to go as the sun was setting because the glow made the experience even better.
Even though it was late and the trail was short, the heat starts to get to you pretty quickly. Paige and I both had 36 oz of water with us and finished it on this hike. You have to be so careful of heat exhaustion, so my advice is to read up before you set off on something like this. There is no shade, it’s incredibly hot and the sun is very bright! Always be prepared.
As we drove out of the park, I couldn’t help but stop and snap a few more pictures. It was so incredible. If you get a chance to go to Las Vegas, I hope you take a day to come explore this park. I’d love to return in the winter and tackle a few of the other hikes offered here because I just loved it. A piece of my heart will always be in the Nevada desert!