Road trip stop between Zion and Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park

The three hour drive between Zion National Park and Las Vegas is strewn with small towns and stark scenery. But if you veer off highway 15 for about 30 minutes, a red planet with unique, ancient history awaits you. Meet: the Valley of Fire State Park.

Valley-of-Fire-State-Park-Nevada

The husband and I had an hour to kill on the way to the Vegas airport from Zion, so no time for hiking. That’s the beauty of Valley of Fire: the Mars lookalike has fascinating rock formations, petroglyphs and breathtaking views right off the road. For those who want to hike or rock climb, there’s some of that, too.

First up, beehive rocks. Why are they called that? Take a look:

Valley-of-Fire-Beehive-Rock-Formation

The beehive’s grooved sandstone rocks were formed from silt carried by wind and water from different angles throughout the Jurassic Period. That’s right — this rock and most everything else in the park was around when dinosaurs roamed hundreds of millions of years ago.

Another must-see is Atatl Rock, adorned with petroglyphs from the ancient Puebloans who lived here, dating back as far as 300 BC. Climb a tall staircase to get an up-close look of these fascinating communications. It was disheartening, however, to see how tourists have scratched their names into the rock, which you can see below.

Atlatl-Rock-Petroglyphs-Valley-of-Fire-Nevada

Below is one angle of Rainbow Vista, which offers panoramic viewpoints of the park.

Rainbow-Vista-Valley-of-Fire

All-in-all, the Valley of Fire is worth a stop on your drive between Zion National Park and Las Vegas. I wish we had more time to explore the different points of interest — an hour wasn’t enough. Hike if you can, and check out the visitor’s center, which serves as a museum of sorts with ancient artifacts and a lot of fascinating information.

Valley-of-Fire-State-Park-Nevada

Question: Have you visited the Valley of Fire? What did you think?

If you’re visiting this region, you may also like my posts about Zion National Park and Salt Lake City.

5 thoughts on “Road trip stop between Zion and Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park

  1. I really enjoyed visiting Valley Of Fire. I’m definitely going back for another visit soon. I think Elephant Rock was really cool. I did some shorter hikes, but would love to try some of the longer ones. Looking forward to seeing more posts from you.

    Like

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About Stephanie @ Seeking Stephanie Travel Blog

Travel gives me an extra skip in my step to push through the workweek. Exploring new places through outdoor spaces, food, animals and music are just a few of my favorite things.