When Is the Best Time
The Valley of Fire is an explosion of colours just an hour drive from Las Vegas. The wintertime is the quietest. This park is magical constantly changing with the sunlight. The best pictures can be taken at sunrise, as well as later in the afternoon, and during sunset. If you plan to visit the park come here for the entire day and bring your lunch in a cooler. Even if you have just a couple of hours only don't miss these spectacular vistas.
Valley of Fire Weather Details
The park has a warm and very dry climate which is typical of the surrounding desert region. You can categorize the temperatures in three seasons:
- Boiling in the summer
May to September temperatures range on average from 32°C/90°F to an unbearable heat of more than 40°C/104°F. Although it cools down a little without the sunshine nights are still warm. Thunderstorms and sometimes heavy showers can occur.
- Bearable in the transition time in spring and autumn
April and October range from 26-28°C/80-82°F during the day. Night temperatures are pleasant on average around 14°C/57°F.
- Pleasant in the winter
The best time to visit the Valley of Fire is November to March. The temperatures in the mild winter range from 14-21°C/57°F-70°F on average in the shadow during the day. It is the perfect time for hiking and exploring the valley. Nights are chilly expect one-digit temps 39-48°F. Occasional showers occur.
Avoiding the Crowds
The park is busier during the cooler season, especially from February to late May. Both campgrounds are filled up before midday. Weekends are more crowded than weekdays. It's less busy in the summer as many visitors want to avoid the heat during the day. The winter is the best option to enjoy the desert landscape without the crowds. However, it's a lot busier in winter than in the summer months. Always keep in mind, it’s a State Park and not a National Park, therefore often underestimated. Limited parking at all stops: Arrive either early (before 9 a.m.) or late (after 6 p.m.) during the peak season. Overflow parking is available.
Opening Hours for the Valley of Fire State Park and Visitor Center
The park is open from sunrise to sunset and the Visitor Center from 8.30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. It's a small but nice visitor center. They provide you with information about the history and a map as well. A short film about the State Park is shown.
Highlight in Spring
In spring several plants like the desert marigold, indigo bush or desert mallow are in full bloom.
Pay attention to the speed limit; the Highway is frequently patrolled!!
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
The Valley of Fire is the oldest Nevada State Park established in 1935. The park has a size of 19 thousand ha. The valley is famous for bright red Aztec sandstone formations and petroglyphs. Rock art from a prehistoric culture can be found at several locations within the park; like Atlatl Rock dated back 2.500 years ago. The scenic landscape with incredible rock formations and narrow slot canyons will fascinate you. The Nevada Scenic Byway leads through the park which offers plenty of hikes for all levels. Very popular are Balancing Rock, Elephant Rock, and Arch Rock. Take plenty of water for hiking.
Tips and Highlights
- Don’t miss the colourful Fire Wave close to the road. The trail is less than 2 km/1.5 miles long.
Fire Wave location at Google Maps
- Drive the loop around the campgrounds with some of the most magnificent arches.
- The White Domes Loop Trail leads through a short slot canyon.
- Short trails close to the road to the Beehives and Mouse's Tank.
- A picturesque hidden gem is the Pink Canyon close to the Fire Wave.
- Another highlight are the petroglyphs inside the State Park.
- Rock climbing is possible; please register at the Information Center first.
The State Park is a popular filming location well known from different movies like Star Trek Generations, Transformers, Airwolf, Total Recall, Viva Las Vegas and more.
Entrance fee: $ 10 per car
There are two campgrounds beautiful located in the Valley of Fire National Park. Both are on a first-come, first-serve basis and are equipped with flush toilets and coin-operated showers. Each site has a sheltered picnic table, BBQ, and firepit. Bring all supplies there is nothing available inside the park. Check-in with a simple form plus the entrance fee in cash and put the envelope into a dropbox.
The campgrounds are busy in spring, fall and at weekends. It’s recommended to arrive at midday. Weekdays are less crowded, and you can choose one of the different sites. Summer is less busy because of the heat.
- Atlatl Rock Campground:
Picturesquely located at red sandstone formations where stairs are leading to the top with a spectacular view. This campground has 43 sites, some with water and power hook-ups, some are basic.
- Arch Rock Campground:
More primitive campground and smaller with 29 sites.
Three Most Asked Questions
- Why is it called Valley on Fire?
During sunset, the red sandstone formations look like the entire valley is on fire.
- How much time should I spend in the Valley of Fire?
From my own experience spent here at least an entire day until sunset. There are several awesome hikes available. Bring a cooler and prepare your lunch at one of the BBQ areas in this beautiful scenery. If travelling by camper stay a night and enjoy the awesome night sky and sunrise as well. Stargazing is spectacular in the desert.
- What makes camping here so special?
The breathtaking night sky and the sound of silence! If coming from Las Vegas you appreciate the silence even more.
Pictures provided by my photographer friend Chris