White Domes Trail is a short loop hike in Valley of Fire State Park. This hike features a short slot canyon, the remains of an old movie set, and a few beautiful arches. The hike is 1.0 mile long, and can be completed in under an hour. However, there are a few steep places, and the sun can be brutally hot in this part of the world. Make sure to take plenty of water and hike in the cooler parts of the day or year.
- Distance: 1.0 mile long
- Rating: Easy to Moderate because of rocky terrain
- Elevation Gain: 177 ft
- Fee: Valley of Fire State Park Fee
The White Domes Trail is all the way at the north end of the road from the Visitor Center. We suggest starting the hoop from the far end of the parking lot and hiking down hill (clockwise). This is the most difficult section of trail, and if you make the climb down, the rest of the hike is easy. If you were to hike in the opposite direction, you’d end up with this steep climb up to the car.
The beginning of the trail is sandy, but then it quickly changes to rocks. Be careful with your sandy shoes on the rocks so that you don’t slip and fall. We enjoyed the unique rock formations as we worked our way down the hill.
At the bottom of the hill, there is an old wall that was a piece of a movie set (The Professionals, 1966). It isn’t much, but the display includes information about other movies that have been filmed in Valley of Fire State Park including the only Star Trek movie that included both Captain Kirk and Captain Picard.
The path turns to the right and walks through the wash. The trail quickly arrives at a short, narrow slot canyon. If this is your first slot canyon, you should be duly impressed, but if you’ve visited others in the southwest, this one seems very short. It is probably fewer than 100 yards from one end to the other. We were grateful for the cooler air inside the slot canyon on the 95 degree day.
As you exit the slot canyon, the trail continues around to the right. It starts to climb, but slowly. The ascent is much more steady and far less steep than the beginning descent. If you watch closely on the right hand side of the trail, you’ll notice a small arch that you can climb right inside. This is a nice spot for pictures. From some angles, it even looks like a dragon skull. Back across the trail to the left, you may notice another larger arch that is pretty, though it doesn’t photograph well from this distance.
We enjoyed White Domes Trail in Valley of Fire. It is easy and interesting with several types of features along the way. Be sure to check out our full post on Valley of Fire State Park and its other hikes, too!