The Valley of Fire, with eye-catching orange and red sandstone formations, it's easy to see where this scenic valley its name. A panoramic paradise in the middle of the Mojave, you'll spot petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back over 3,000 years. Geographic formations encompass over 40,000 acres, so there's ample space for adventure. With countless hiking trails, you can successfully explore the area on foot, capturing dynamic vistas every step of the way. Located less than an hour outside Las Vegas, this stunning spot makes for a don't-miss day trip.
An excellent launching point for your adventure, Fire Wave Trail is just 1.5 miles long, making it accessible for hikers of every experience level. It's one of the park's most iconic attractions, so go early to avoid the crowds. As you hike, you'll encounter riveting rock formations that lead from a sandy path toward stacked slick rock, finally coming upon the renowned Wave, which has the appearance of swirled ice cream slated between red and white stone. Waves of ancient sand formed this natural beauty, so you're fully immersed in thousands of years of history.
This easy one-mile trail provides panoramic views of the park's finest. While there's a steep descent at the start (and ascent to finish), you'll traverse a loop that reveals a bit of everything. Discover life-size boulders, slot canyons, caves, and ever-changing rock formations along the way; all of these are ideal for further photo-taking and adventuring. Parts of the movie set from 1966's The Professionals remain, so you can discover a piece of film history as you trek.
This imposing rock formation features the park's most impressive petroglyphs, carved carefully into the stone thousands of years ago. Since these are marked nearly 50 feet from the ground, a staircase leads you directly to them for in-depth analysis and up-close photos. Prehistoric civilizations have called the area home since 300 BCE, including the Anasazi Pueblo and Basket Maker people. You'll see etchings demonstrating daily activities such as hunting, gathering, and cultivation, while others hold vital spiritual significance. "Atlatl" itself stems from the name of an ancient spear-throwing device.
This former hideout holds a whole lot of history. In the 1890s, Little Mouse was a Southern Paiute rebel who hid out in the area after being falsely accused of murdering two prospectors. He was fired from his post as a ferryman on the Colorado River for drunkness, taking refuge in the valley's sandstone mountains and stealing food and weapons from local prospectors for survival. Those neighbors weren't too happy with this arrangement, blaming him for the murders, tracking him down, and killing him on the spot. While the outcropping is a natural water cistern where water collects post-rainfall, you can spot plentiful pictographs here too.
One of the park's most distinct features, these creatively-shaped rock formations look like massive beehives, with visitors climbing up, down, and all over the rocks. These formations took their unique shape due to geologic cross-bedding over thousands of years. Look closely at the grooved lines branching out in different directions; each passing layer results from silt deposited at different time periods. The angle, in turn, represents the direction the wind or water was moving during deposition.
This top attraction is exactly what its name implies: a sandstone formation shaped like an elephant. A 10-minute trail leads directly there, so you can score excellent photos from every angle. Foot traffic is high in the area, which is a favorite among climbers. A can't-miss stop; you have to see it to believe it.
Gaze over 150 million years back to an era when dinosaurs roamed the earth. This colorful maze of untouched wilderness highlights canyons, ridges, and valleys that remain undisturbed by humans, and you'll get a birds-eye view from the Fire Canyon Overlook. Every color of stone is showcased here, and the view alone is a highlight of every visit to the valley.
An Instagram favorite, this scenic route stretches from the Visitor Center all the way to the White Domes, revealing the valley's sandstone beauty along the way. Take this winding, 5.7-mile path past vibrant rocks, narrow canyons, and picturesque viewpoints. A journey that's as epic as the destination, you'll encounter countless postcard-worthy views.
A lesser-known attraction, this unmarked canyon packs a punch. It's small, narrow, and less packed than other valley landmarks, making it a go-to for climbers and adventurers. Serene geologic displays boast bold shades of pink in every direction, but you'll also spot white, yellow, and orange rocks for a pastel palette of radiating hues. The hike there is short and simple, but it's an enticing adventure that's not to miss.
After relentless erosion stripped away surrounding sandstone deposits, this group of seven gargantuan boulders is all that remains, standing alone in the middle of the desert. As erosion continues through time, experts predict that even these towering structures will wear down and disappear hundreds of years from now. Climbers are welcome to explore every part of the structures, and picnickers can use the spot for a meal stop along their route.