Valley of Fire is a State Park in Nevada located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The park encompasses 40,000 acres filled with red sandstone, grey and tan limestone, petrified wood, 2,000 year old petroglyphs, bighorn sheep, and more. Valley of Fire is located just off of I-15, making it the perfect short stop on road trips through the American Southwest.
One could easily spend a few days exploring all that Valley of Fire State Park has to offer. The park has campgrounds, trails, and an abundance of interpretive sites. For this post, I’m just going to focus on three quick hikes that are perfect for a shorter stop: White Domes Loop, Fire Wave Trail, and Rainbow Vista Trail
Directions and Info:
Getting There: Head northeast from Las Vegas for 33 miles until you reach the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza. You’ll take exit 75 here toward Valley of Fire E/Lake Mead. You will now have a 15 mile drive into Valley of Fire State Park. Google Maps Directions
Pricing and Hours: Valley of Fire State Park has a $10 entrance fee and is open from sunrise to sunset. The campgrounds are open 24-hours. All roads to trailheads are paved, but you need to drive slow and be mindful of wildlife. If you need information on camping, visit the Valley of Fire website .
Navigation and Trailheads: In the map below you’ll see a list of all Valley of Fire trails and interpretive areas. For orientation, you’ll be driving in on the road that starts at the bottom left corner. Just after passing the pay booths you’ll see the beehives, campgrounds, petrified logs, and Prospect Trail. These are all great places for a quick stop if you’re not in a rush. Continuing east on Valley of Fire HWY, you’ll take a left and head north on Mouse’s Tank Rd.
Head north on Mouse’s Tank Rd as far as you can go. You’ll pass by a few other trailheads that you’ll be visiting on your drive out of the park. When you reach the end of Mouse’s Tank Rd, it will dead end at the trailhead for the White Domes trail for the first hike of the day.
White Domes Loop Hike
The White Domes loop hike is a 1-mile loop with 217 feet of elevation gain on sandy terrain and passes through a slot canyon.
From the White Domes trailhead, make your way towards the white domes and shark fin formations. You’ll be hiking this trail in a clockwise circle and heading south to begin.
The trail starts in pure sand, so make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear. It can be very easy to slip and lose your footing on stretches where the sand sits on rock slabs.
The trail is well marked with stone pillars guiding the way. Make sure to keep your eyes open though, as it would be very easy to miss a turn.
After the stretch of deep sand, you’ll descend a series of stone stairs toward the slot canyon.
At the bottom of the stairs you’ll see the foundations of an old building. I thought this site had some kind of historical importance when I first saw it, and assumed it was a dwelling from the time Indigenous Americans lived there. After reading the interpretive signs, I learned that it was actually just an old movie set from an old western film.
After passing by that movie set foundation, you’ll take a right hand turn and make your way towards the slot canyon. The trail returns to a path of sand here.
The slot canyon of White Dome is a really cool geological feature, but one that can also be deadly in a flood. Make sure to only enjoy this hike when there is no rain in the forecast.
As you exit the slot canyon, keep your eyes open for the junction and take a hard right. If you miss this, you’ll be on the much longer Prospect Trail. As you turn right, you’ll be heading north for a return to the parking lot.
After completing the White Domes loop hike, you’ll get in your car and backtrack on Mouse’s Tank Rd to the Fire Wave Trail parking area. The parking lot for this hike requires you to cross over the street to get to the trailhead.
Fire Wave Trail Hike
The Fire Wave Trail hike is a 1.5-mile out and back hike with 320ft of elevation gain. This is probably the most popular hike in Valley of Fire, with it’s swirled multi-colored sandstone drawing tourists from all over the world.
The trail to reach the Fire Wave starts out on a sandy path and passes in front of a massive red sandstone formation. You’ll continue on this path until you reach a section of sedimentary rock layers jutting up out of the sand.
This is where the firewave views begin. Continue hiking along the red sandstone, and you will soon see the yellow and gray layers swirling in.
This is a very popular hike, so you’ll want to get an early start if you plan on avoiding the crowds.
Once you’ve returned to your car after hiking to Fire Wave Trail, you’ll continue heading south towards the exit to reach the Rainbow Vista Trail. Rainbow Vista is also very popular and has a small parking area. Make sure to start your day early to avoid the crowds.
Rainbow Vista Trail To Fire Canyon Overlook
Rainbow Vista Trail is a short 1-mile out and back hike with 115ft of elevation gain. This trail is on a sandy path through some breathtaking sandstone formation that reaches a lookout for Fire Canyon.
Follow the trail signs on the sandy trail and pass by the blades of sandstone pushing up into the landscape. There are a lot of use-trails that lead to dead end canyons here so be mindful of the official trail signs.
This hike is short and easy, making the view all the more worthwhile. Take your time and enjoy the stunning views of Fire Canyon before returning to the trailhead parking area.
Those three hikes will make for a very worthwhile quick trip in Valley of Fire State Park. If you’re looking for a few more things to do, make sure to check out Mouse’s Tank Trail, Balancing Rock, and Atlatl Rock before exiting the park. There is also a visitor center at the junction of Valley of Fire HWY and Mouse’s Tank Road. You can pick up snacks and souvenirs here, as well as use the restroom.
Pin This Post!