Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park Photos
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Valley of Fire is Nevada's oldest and largest state park, dedicated 1935. It's located 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15. The rough floor and jagged walls of the park contain beautiful formations of eroded sandstone and sand dunes more than 150 million years old. These features, which are the centerpiece of the park's attractions, often appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun's rays.
Early man and ancient trees are represented throughout the park by areas of 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs and petrified wood. Some of the more popular attractions in the park include outstanding examples of Indian Rock Art. Atlatl Rock has, by far, the best specimen of petroglyphs in the park. It is so named because it has a wonderful depiction of an atlatl, which is a notched stick used to throw spears. Another location with numerous petroglyphs is Mouse's Tank. Mouse's Tank was named for a renegade Indian who used the area as a hideout in the 1890's. Mouse's Tank is a natural basin in the rock where water collects after rainfalls, sometimes remaining for months. It's a half-mile round trip trail to Mouse's Tank from the parking area and along the way you pass many examples of prehistoric Indian petroglyphs.
Ancient trees are featured in the Petrified Logs. These are logs and stumps that were washed into the area from an ancient forest about 225 million years ago and are exposed in two locations in the park. Another interesting attraction is Elephant Rock; aptly named because of its formation. See if you can find it in the pictures.
Popular activities at Valley of Fire include camping, hiking, picnicking and photography. There is also a full-scale visitor center with extensive interpretive displays. Keep in mind you are in a low desert. Winters are mild with temperatures ranging from freezing to 75 degrees. Daily summer highs usually exceed 100 degrees, and may reach 120 degrees. Plus, the air is a lot drier than you may be used to. Bring more water than you think you'll need.
This park is a photographer's, nature lover's, and history buff's dream. It's stark rock formations are a thing of beauty. And to think that the Valley was most likely last fully occupied from 300 BC to 1150 AD, makes the staying power of the petroglyphs all the more amazing.