Valley of Fire

Our 12-day Spring Break road trip was well-planned out well before we left town–our route, our stops, campground and hotel reservations, the hikes we’d do, and our return date. Of course, there were dozens of things we could have done along the way that fit into the theme of the trip (family bonding in the great outdoors), but most of them never even made the short list. Valley of Fire surely did not; I hadn’t even heard of the place.

Valley of Fire is a small state park in Nevada about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas along I-15. It was the one major activity that we added to our itinerary at the last minute, major meaning that we devoted almost an entire day to it and thus bumped a different hike from our plans and turned a leisurely sight-seeing drive along Scenic Highway 12 in Utah into a dead tired holy-heck-I-can’t-see-anything-because-it’s-snowing-and-blowing late night drive.

But it was worth it for sure.

Just two days earlier, I was in a hotel room on the Western Slope of the Sierra Nevada doing a little online research in search of a giant sequoia. I popped onto WordPress and found that someone I didn’t know–Daniel at National Parks [and More]–had commented on one of my posts that, if possible, we should try to incorporate Valley of Fire into our plans. A little more research and we decided to do it.

The beauty of the place struck me immediately upon passing through the entrance gate. So much so that I almost didn’t notice the ranger in a truck with flashing lights motioning for me to pull over. I explained to him that I had seen the 35 mph sign, that in fact I had set my cruise control to 35, but that it must not have stuck or it must have popped off when I came down that hill. The first part is true, but thinking back I realize that I must have pushed OFF instead of SET. I was going 48 mph, but only got a warning instead of a $308 ticket. It must have been because I at least attempted to go the speed limit.


I asked my daughters, “Do you think he’ll mind if I take a few photos while he writes the ticket?” We were already surrounded by beautiful red rock formations.



Flowers near the Visitors Center

After spending more time than expected at the Visitors Center–because of its really well-done historical and nature displays–and the gift shop, we made our way north to the White Domes hiking area. Not having adequate time to research all the hikes, I made one quick inquiry at the Visitors Center and White Domes was the hike that was recommended.

Of course, it was lovely. Most of the hike was through a slot canyon, but then it opened up and our eyes were treated to more of the stunning scenery in this park.



As with most of the hikes I do with my teenage daughters, we moved at a leisurely pace and took lots of photos.




Addy getting up close and personal with texture and color.



As I said, this park wasn’t on our agenda and we didn’t have nearly enough time to explore it. There are several more hikes that I want to do. As with any state or national park, it’s important to get off the main road and into the heart of the place.


I’ve seen a lot of red rock country and I know there are several shades that qualify as red. But what I saw in the Valley of Fire was some of the most brilliant I’ve ever laid eyes on. And the various textures of the rocks were unique as well. We were there mid-day and it was downright gorgeous; but, oh, I am so going back for an extended stay so I can experience it in the evening when they say the lower light reflects all around and makes the place look like it is on fire.


I think I’ve got the Valle of Fire reflection.






6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kellyingrandjunction
    May 05, 2014 @ 21:12:44

    Life is an adventure! Love yours!


  2. betunada
    May 06, 2014 @ 14:53:20

    THAT shot of the flowers foreground with the rox, rear, is a good piece of art-werk!
    and, heh, good work with the combo police-car and MORE rox!


    • randee
      May 07, 2014 @ 08:42:14

      I know, right? I wasn’t trying to have an attitude, but I almost got out and did a little hiking and photography while he checked me for warrants, etc. It can take SO long. Luckily, my daughters were there to talk some sense into me.


  3. Deborah
    May 06, 2014 @ 18:18:11

    Wow, what an amazing discovery. I hear you about going back when you could do evening. All the photos are great, but the one of you is absolutely amazing! You rock the glow of the Valley of Fire!


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