Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada is located between Las Vegas and Mesquite. It is a great daytrip, or side trip for those traveling along this route. There are a bunch of short hikes, roadside stops, and a nice Visitor Center with an active Junior Ranger Program.
Here is the list of all of the stops we made throughout Valley of Fire State Park. We spent a full day exploring this amazing state park. Feel free to stop at these stops in any order, but this is the route that we took.
Just south of the small town of Overton, Nevada, is the east gate to Valley of Fire State Park. Since we’re from Utah, this was the entrance of the park. We paid the small fee at the kiosk, and then stopped immediately at Elephant Rock. There is a trail that leads to the rock, which is only a third of a mile, but we saw it from the side of the road. It doesn’t take much imagination, or a lot of wondering to know if you are at the right place. Elephant Rock looks exactly like an elephant!
The next stop is the CCC Cabins. We’ve long been fans of the Civilian Conservation Corp, and the incredible work they did during the Depression. The three cabins built out of stone were some of the nicest, if simplest, structures we’ve seen that were built by the CCC. You can still see the fire places, and though you can’t use them now, they stand as a testament to the hard work these young men put in.
A little farther along we stopped at the Seven Sisters picnic area. Seven huge stones (we actually counted eight) make a fun place to play. We actually came back at lunchtime, and had a picnic. There are shaded tables and plenty of parking, even on a busy day. Best of all, the kids had a fun time exploring the rock formations. They chased lizards and spotted squirrels while we prepared lunch.
The next stop is the Visitor Center. There is a small museum and a lot of terrain to search, including a short walk to a balanced rock, which you can also see from the roadside. We filled up our water bottles and got the boys started on the Junior Ranger Program. We also spent a few minutes in the gift shop because we always buy our boys a patch at the state and national sites.
From the Visitor Center, the road forks. If you continue straight west, the main highway runs to the other entrance. If you turn up to the Visitor Center, you are now on Mouse’s Tank road. This is where most of the hikes are. We headed up here early in the morning to hike.
Mouse’s Tank Road
Just driving this road is beautiful. There are so many interesting rock formations. You’ll find most of the hikes in Valley of Fire State Park along this road. All of these hikes are pretty amazing, and none of them are very long. We’ve written about each of these trails in detail at the following links:
After a quick lunch at the Seven Sisters, we headed down the Valley of Fire Highway to a few other stops. The first is a very short trail that has three petrified logs. The logs are not the most impressive we’ve ever seen (Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona and Petrified Forest State Park in Utah), but they are worth they hundred yard hike it takes to see them.
Across the turnout from the Petrified Logs, there is another short loop to take. The Atlatl Rocks Loop heads toward the campground, but make sure to stop at the Atlatl Rock. This rock is covered in petroglyphs. There are about 80 stairs to climb to see the petroglyphs, but there are some neat ancient art drawings to see.
Continue around the loop to take a look at Natural Arch. There is a small pullout, but you can see the arch from the car. We love looking at arches, so this was a fun stop. We also really enjoyed the loop around the campground. There are some beautiful rock formations.
Once the loop finishes, make sure to head back toward the beehives. This is a really cool area that is open to explore. The main feature is some really large rock formations that look vaguely like beehives. Many people like to climb, explore, and search the cracks and crevices of the beehives. We spent nearly an hour chasing and playing in this area.
Tips for Families
Check out Vally of Fire State Park if you find yourself on the way to Las Vegas. We spent almost a full day in this area, and we loved the red rock! It reminded us so much of home!
This state park does get quite hot in the summer, so plan your visit accordingly. We visited the first week of April and temperatures were in the 90s. Take plenty of water and sunscreen. Wear a hat, and avoid hiking too long during the hot of the day. We also recommend taking your own lunch because there are no food services in the park.