Just a one hour drive from Henderson, Nevada and you can find one of the most striking hiking areas I’ve ever visited – Valley of Fire State Park. The bright red Aztec sandstone seemingly sprouts out of nowhere and spans over 40,000 acres throughout gray and tan limestone mountains. It feels like an entirely different planet, which helps explain why movies like Total Recall and Star Trek: Generations were filmed here!
There is a natural stone arch that you can visit in the park (but can’t walk on). The thing I loved most, is that you largely can explore freely. There are some marked areas that you can’t go on, but mostly you can just park and climb up rocks, and escape off the beaten path. While climbing up one hill, we found a cairn hidden in one of the hills.
If going rogue isn’t your style, you can take any one of the marked trails. Can’t decide which trail to take? Visit alltrails.com for Valley of Fire State Park trail details and reviews. In the park, you are able to see ancient petrified trees, ancient petroglyphs from over 2,500 years ago, and natural rock arches. There are even remnants on the White Domes trail of a movie set from 1965.
Curious how you’d do with throwing a spear? The World Atlatl Association and park staff also hosts an Annual Atlatl Competition to test your skills with spear replicas. How cool is that? The park offers camping and picnic areas as well. The gates are open from sunrise to sunset and a $10 vehicle entry fee is charged. Take PLENTY of water, and explore! Even if you’re not up to hiking, the drive through the park is worth the visit itself.
For more information on events offered at the park to include things like yoga, make your own petroglyph, and educational programs, visit The Valley of Fire State Park Event Schedule.