When we landed in Las Vegas, I had forgotten how hot it could be there: the heat is brutal, almost unbearable. The air is thick and there’s no breeze to cool you down. I enjoyed the A/C on the taxi that took us to our hotel. Staying by the pool was not even a relief. It’s a strange place to be, the desert.
Our road trip this summer started in Las Vegas, the city is located in between California and Arizona, at the southern tip of Nevada. I don’t know this State very well, I came to Vegas a couple of times but I’ve never explored the wild side of Nevada. It seems that the state has had a bad reputation because of the nuclear tests and the waste disposed on the mountains. This is also where you can find some of the longest and loneliest roads in the USA, that mus be probably super boring. In a way, I want to explore it! But is there anything to see? Is it only a way to explore how bored and lonely you can be?
August, 30th, 2017. We leave Las Vegas the day after we arrived, the goal is to go North, towards Great Basin National Park, but along the way, we stop in a park with a very intriguing name, like many places in the South West: the Valley of Fire. To get there, we drive through the desert outside of Las Vegas, it’s grey and brown-ish, then we cross the mountains, mostly bare. There’s not much to see and eat I guess, the plants are tiny, outside, it’s more than 110F.
We have to pay $10 to enter the State Park. The ranger at the entrance gives us a map, and tells us not to go for a walk. It’s too hot! We are laying on the car like dead cows and to be honest, I don’t want to go out and burn and sweat under the sun, but at the same time, I’m only here once. American parks are made to be seen from the car, so it’s not so bad and we can enjoy the scenery in the comfort of our SUV. America baby! The park is pretty crowded, there are a few sports cars, we are really close to Vegas, I guess these people are here just for an hour or too, and then back to gambling, it seems like a fun day trip.
I wish I could have seen more, but we just can’t. Outside, it’s hot, hot, hot. We are not here at the right time, and I guess that during summertime, it’s better to be here early in the morning or later at nigth.
The scenery is still very impressive seen from the car. We leave to go even further North, we have more than 200 miles to do. The road will be spectacular the whole time. The further we go, the lonelier we feel, we cross valley, and another valley, and another one, we see one ranch every other 50 miles. The road trip begins, and the Vally of Fire was a nice introduction.
Broken landscape bis
Sports car and our SUV (and me)
We tried, walked a bit, and then came back. Nope. Too hot.
Bye Bye Valley of Fire, it’s time to go to Great Basin National Park through an incredible scenery and a threatening sky
About the Valley of Fire, Nevada
- The Valley of Fire is a Nevada State Park, the fare isn’t included in the National Park annual pass. It’s 10$/vehicle.
- The park is alongside Route 15, north of Las Vegas, it’s only 1-hour drive to go there
- The park is open from sunrise to sunset, the visitor center is open year round from 8.30 to 4.30
- We couldn’t hike, but the scenery from the car was exceptional. The scenic road is fairly short, and we stayed in the park for 2 hours. Next time I hope we can see the Fire Wave !
- There’s a campground, 72 spots, first come, first serve. We stayed in Vegas the night before at the Marriott’s Grand Chateau*, and that night we stayed at an AirBnb in Baker near the Great Basin NP
- Read: the recap of this summer road trip Nevada + Utah Off Road