Valley of Fire ❧ The Wilderness just an hour away from Las Vegas

Valley of Fire Las Vegas Nevada-6

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.

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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.

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Broken landscape

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Broken landscape bis

Valley of Fire Las Vegas Nevada-1

Maximum contrasts

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Sports car and our SUV (and me)

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We tried, walked a bit, and then came back. Nope. Too hot.

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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
Valley of Fire Las Vegas Nevada-2-2

✎ How was it for you when you went to the Valley of Fire ?

Writer, organizer and social media-ter for my own blog. When I'm not in front of my laptop, I'm organizing guided tours of Boston with my own company "Boston le nez en l'air". It's in French!

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7 Comments

  • Reply Nov 10 2017

    AdPatreS

    Qu’est ce que ce serait si tu avais fait Badwater par 55° 😀

    • Reply Nov 10 2017

      Mathilde

      J’aurais mis un chapeau ? Si vous faites référence au Badwater de la Death Valley, on avait mieux prévu notre coup les deux fois où nous y sommes allés : une fois tôt le matin, une fois en hiver 😉

  • Reply Nov 13 2017

    Camille

    C’est beau quand même. Ca donne envie d’y aller “hors saison” (y a-t-il un genre d’hiver dans cette zone du monde ?!).
    Merci pour les photos.

    • Reply Nov 15 2017

      Mathilde

      C’est en plein désert de Mojave, un climat sec et chaud. Les hivers sont doux, et les nuits d’hiver peuvent avoir des températures proches de zéro.
      Des hivers pas comme sur la côte Est en gros !

  • Reply Nov 13 2017

    Maxipixelie

    On s’y est marié (en Mars 2010), il faisait super bon et on a eu le mariage en extérieur dont on rêvait. Seul au monde en cette période de l’année et en semaine. Je ne crois pas que le parc était aussi connu à l’époque. Le parking où sont les voitures sur ta photo n’existait pas encore, de même que les toilettes. On s’était arrêté à la station service en sortant de l’interstate, très glamour en robe au milieu des caisses de vodka. Ca reste un super souvenir. On y est retourné en mars 2015. Pareil meme temps très agréable. Par contre on n’a jamais eu l’occasion de faire des marches ou d’aller a la fire wave ce que je regrette fortement :)

    • Reply Nov 15 2017

      Mathilde

      ça a l’air plutôt cool comme mariage !
      Pour le côté connu/pas connu, je me dis qu’une attraction à une heure de Las Vegas, je doute que ça ait jamais été confidentiel… Le parc en tant que tel a été établi en 1935

  • Reply Jan 9 2018

    Chridtelke

    Coucou Mathilde
    Encore une bonne idée pour notre voyage en juillet que je commence à préparer ….
    Ton blog est une mine d’or pour moi, et tes photos donnent juste envie d’y être déjà 😉
    Un grand merci

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