As the sun rays rush to fall on brightly colored sand dunes and petroglyphs, you could easily mistake this phenomenal sight to that of a valley on fierce and unstoppable flames of fire. These unique formations are believed to be the aftermath of massive erosion of sandstones and the shifting of sand dunes approximately 150 million years ago, and they are the main attraction in the Valley of Fire State Park. With the 2,000-year-old ancient petroglyphs lining Valley of Fire State Park’s 46,000 acres, coupled with its elevation raising to 2,464 feet, this is a bucket-list-worthy RV destination. Valley of Fire State Park has been in existence since 1935, thus taking the trophy as the oldest and largest of Nevada’s state parks.
Intriguing landscapes surround the park, which is located approximately 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The weather in Valley of Fire State Park is synonymous with the dry and warm climate of the Mojave Desert on which it lies. The spring and winter are the best times of year to take an RV trip to the park when the weather is more bearable. Early mornings and late evenings are popular with guests when the sun is not in its full force. This activity-rich park offers RVers lots of recreational adventures like hiking, photography, and rock climbing. With its raised elevation, clear skies, and gigantic rock formations that shield light pollution coming from Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park is also a popular stargazing venue. There are two campgrounds within the Valley of Fire State Park that you can call home during your visit. Both of the campgrounds are suitable for RV camping, with the Atlatl Campground also having the added bonus of electrical hookups. No matter your outdoor interests, Valley of Fire State Park is a must-see.
Driving to and from Valley of Fire State Park is relatively straightforward since it is approximately an hour’s drive from Las Vegas on the Valley of Fire Highway. Depending on the direction you are coming from, the park can be accessed either from the west entrance or east entrance. The west entrance attracts more traffic, so if possible, we recommend that you take the east entrance. Since the park is in a fairly remote location, it will be a great idea to stock up on any supplies you may need when you are passing through towns or cities on the way.
During the summertime, the temperatures at the park regularly eclipse 100 degrees, so if you are planning to visit during these months, make sure that you are prepared to deal with this extreme weather. No matter what time of the year you visit, you should have no trouble driving on the park roads as they are kept in great condition.
Parking is scattered all over this massive state park. You can find parking at almost every natural attraction and trailhead. Parking is also available at each of the park's entrances. Of course, you can always park your rig at your campsite if you're staying overnight. However, since this park is so big, it might be worth it to tow an extra vehicle or pack a bike in the rig to make it easier to get around.
If you are looking for a unique camping experience in Las Vegas, you really can't beat the Las Vegas KOA at Sam’s Town. Situated in the just a few minutes from the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas, there are over 300 sites with 30-amp or 50-amp electrical hookups for you to choose from that have either pull-through or back in driveways. You will also be close enough to enjoy the live Vegas entertainment at Roxy’s and Sam’s Town Live. Other amenities of the park include shade trees, off-leash pet areas, two pools with hot tubs, Wi-Fi, cable TV, full-hookup availability, restrooms, a KOA Kamp Store, and laundry facilities.
Arch Rock is the smallest and less developed of the two campgrounds. There are 29 campsites, which are often closed during the off-season. The advantage of this campground is that it is more scenic and closer to some of the most popular park activities. Due to its narrow roads and smaller sites, this campground is more geared towards tents. There are no showers or electric hookups at these sites. Despite this, potable water spigots, a bathhouse, and vault toilets are available for you to enjoy. Both campgrounds have no Wi-Fi or cell services. If you need gas, groceries, internet services, or want to go for lunch, you will have to drive to Overton, which is 14 miles east of the Valley of Fire State Park. Reservations for Arch Rock Campground are not available.
Valley of Fire State Park is a family-friendly and pet-friendly park with two campgrounds. Both campgrounds operate exclusively on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to this fact, those who wish to camp, especially during the peak season, should come to the park early enough to avoid disappointments.
Atlatl campground is the main campground as it is larger and open throughout the year. This campground has 44 sites open for RVs, trailers, and tents. Amenities in this campground include picnic tables, shaded ramadas, barbecue grills, and a bathhouse. Additionally, you will have access to a dump station, four handicap-friendly sites, flush toilets, hot showers, and water faucets. Guests can camp here for a maximum of 14 days per month. Campsites 23 through 44 are equipped with water and electricity and are specifically for RV camping. Atlatl Campground can also fit a trailer or RV up to 40 feet in length. Keep in mind that pets should always be on a leash when outside your RV, and pets are not permitted in the Visitor Center. If you are traveling with a group of friends or family, there are also three group camping areas in this campground that can accommodate up to 45 people.
Valley of Fire State Park offers five fascinating day-use areas in the heart of stunning rock formations. RV visitors can enjoy their meals while gazing at the beauty of these natural attractions. For a quick family gateway, visitors can choose to stay in either of the two uniquely designed historic cabins constructed using sandstones by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Visitors can also picnic at the Atlatl Rock, Seven Sisters, Mouse Tank Trailhead, and White Domes. There are restrooms at each picnic area, so you won't have to worry about finding a spot to do your business if you are making use of one of the picnic areas.
Covered by widely spaced desert plants such as brittlebush and cactus species, there is little to no shade in the park, meaning that most wildlife in the area is nocturnal. However, this does not mean the park is devoid of animals. Occasionally you will come across reptiles such as snakes, lizards, or mammals such as bighorn sheep, antelopes, and jackrabbits. On rare occasions, desert tortoises may be sighted. If you are a birdwatching fan, you may also be able to spot some sparrows, ravens, and roadrunners.
The stunning rocks in Valley of Fire State Park are a magnet for RV guests. Although rock climbing is permitted only in specific areas, it is super fun for kids who are interested in a challenge. Most of the rock formations are easy to climb and give stunning views of the park's geological formations. Please note that no roped climbing is allowed within the park and that you should check-in at the visitor center before you do so to make sure that you aren't breaking any park rules.
Since the Valley of Fire State Park is so massive, a great way to explore a lot of the area without having to break a sweat is to go for a drive. The Valley of Fire Highway is the most common way to drive in the park since it is the only road that runs through the park. If you are traveling by RV, and you don't have a tow vehicle, we recommend that you do this drive before you set up camp or at the end of your trip so that you don't have to pack down and set up camp again.
The Valley of Fire State Park Visitor Center is packed with history, and it is a great first stop for your adventure. The center houses interesting exhibits ranging from geology to ecology, and the staff is on-site to answer any questions that you may have. In addition to gathering information about the park’s activities and history, you can grab your map and purchase some souvenirs, postcards, and books here, too. The Visitor Center is open daily year-round.
Love photography? The entire Valley of Fire State Park is covered by beautiful rock formations, narrow slot canyons, and numerous petroglyphs, which make great spots for photography tours. There are endless opportunities for taking pictures here. The most incredible venues with unbeatable backdrops include the Beehives, Arch Rock, and Fire Wave. Fire Canyon and Silica Dome are perhaps the most attractive formations. Given its towering height, you can get to capture a fabulous sunrise and sunset at Atlatl Rock.
Hiking is the best way to experience the geological wonders of the Valley of Fire State Park. The canyon's red, pink, and orange sandstones are highlights of the park. Since the park is very humid, rocky hikers should pack sunscreen, plenty of water, a hat, and hiking shoes in their RV. Most hikes are very short and doable, averaging about a mile long with minimal elevation. Of the 12 official trails, the nearly two-mile Fire Wave trail, one-mile White Domes Loop, and Rainbow Vista are most interesting, offering incredible views. There are other less explored but equally beautiful trails to be discovered, including the quarter-mile hike to the Pink Canyon and the five miles leading to the Natural Arches. During the spring, the park trails are decorated by the flowering of desert plants such as Desert Mallow, Beaver Tail, and Brittle brush. Mountain biking is also permitted on paved trails and in some sections of the Prospect Trail and Old Arrowhead Arch Trail.
Due to the summer's hot weather, the Interpretive Programs at Valley of Fire State Park are usually held in the first and last few months of the year. Programs are typically family-friendly and consist of events such as guided hikes, historical talks, and activities that celebrate the local Native American culture. If you are interested in knowing what programs are happening during your visit, you can check out the events section of the Nevada State Parks website or ask a park ranger.