Image this: You have seen the exhibits, eaten in any respect the buffets, and visited your fill of themed casinos. However you continue to have a while to spend in Las Vegas, and resolve to go on a day journey.
There are a number of choices for day journeys from Las Vegas. You may go see the Hoover Dam, or go to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, or possibly even attempt to make it to Loss of life Valley.
However the Hoover Dam will not actually fill an entire day. The West Rim of the Grand Canyon is probably a bit overrated. And Loss of life Valley is 2.5 hours away, which means it requires plenty of driving for a day journey.
So the place are you able to go that is near Vegas, not too costly, and can really offer you a style of the Nevada desert?
You possibly can go to Valley of Hearth State Park.
Valley of Hearth State Park
Situated about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas within the Mojave Desert, Valley of Hearth makes for a straightforward day journey. Simply hop on I-15, and you will be there in underneath an hour.
Valley of Hearth State Park covers greater than 40,000 acres and is thought for its vivid purple sandstone rock formations, petrified timber, and petroglyphs that date again hundreds of years. The world is so gorgeous that it was made Nevada’s first state park in 1935.
However the factor that really makes Valley of Hearth the perfect day journey from Las Vegas? The park is not *too* massive, making it the proper measurement to discover in simply sooner or later.
Sooner or later at Valley of Hearth
I visited Valley of Hearth with a buddy in December, which means I did not actually have a full day on the park (within the winter, the solar units at four:30 p.m.!). However I used to be pleasantly shocked by how a lot we managed to see anyway.
For those who, too, wish to spend sooner or later at Valley of Hearth, this is how I might advocate doing it:
Cease 1: Beehives
You may enter Valley of Hearth State Park from I-15, and drive alongside the Valley of Hearth Freeway for a couple of miles earlier than reaching the West Entrance Gate. The primary actual sight you will see after getting into are the Beehives, a group of orange rocks, lots of which do certainly seem like big beehives!
There is a decent-sized car parking zone right here, so it is a great spot to make a fast photograph cease. You may see a lot of individuals climbing up and into the rocks right here, and there are many enjoyable photograph alternatives.
How a lot time: 15-30 minutes
Cease 2: Customer Middle
From the Beehives, I’d skip the opposite turnouts for now and head straight to the customer middle in the midst of the park. Right here you will discover some fascinating displays protecting the historical past (each geological and human) of the world, in addition to the native natural world.
This can be a great place to refill your water bottle and use the restroom. You may additionally do a fast hike to see the Balancing Rock; the path begins on the customer middle.
How a lot time: 30-60 minutes
Cease three: Hearth Wave path
From the customer middle, head onto White Domes Street and thru a spectacular Mars-like panorama. I like to recommend skipping the shorter hikes and viewpoints for now and heading straight for the final car parking zone (P3) on the finish of the street. From right here, you can begin on the Hearth Wave path earlier than it will get too scorching.
The Hearth Wave wasn’t at all times listed on Valley of Hearth maps, and the path wasn’t at all times marked. However it’s turn out to be such a preferred spot that it is now very straightforward to search out. The path begins throughout the street from Parking Lot three.
After I was researching how I wished to spend my day in Valley of Hearth, one hike saved arising because the “finest.” And that is the hike out to the Hearth Wave.
For those who’ve ever seen photographs of The Wave in Arizona, the Hearth Wave in Nevada is type of like a mini model of that – besides the Hearth Wave path is way shorter, and does not require you to enter a allow lottery in an effort to hike it!
The Hearth Wave path is definitely pretty straightforward. You may hike previous some rock formations on a sandy path first, after which over stacked slickrock till you get to the “wave.” The Hearth Wave really does seem like a wave of rock, with alternating layers of purple and white stone.
A lot of Valley of Hearth was shaped when sand dunes leftover from an evaporated inland sea have been formed and hardened by the wind. Trying on the Hearth Wave, it is very straightforward to see the entire space as undulating waves of historical sand. It is an unbelievable place.
My buddy and I took our time on this hike, hanging out on the Hearth Wave lengthy sufficient to take a lot of photographs and revel in a picnic lunch.
Hike size: 1.25 miles out and again
How a lot time: 1.5-2 hours for those who cease for lunch
Good to know: There’s NO SHADE on this hike. It is a good hike to do within the autumn, winter, and early spring, but when you are going to hike to Hearth Wave in the summertime, I like to recommend tackling this as early within the day as attainable!
Cease four: White Domes
In case you have time and wish to do yet another hike, the second-best hike in Valley of Hearth might be the White Domes path. This loop hike begins from the identical car parking zone because the Hearth Wave path; it simply begins on the identical aspect of the street because the car parking zone.
The White Domes path is one other brief and pretty straightforward hike, other than a steep descent/ascent originally and finish of the loop path. The path takes you thru some altering rock formations, together with massive boulders and a small slot canyon. You may even cross the stays of an outdated film set from the 1966 film The Professionals (Valley of Hearth has hosted fairly a couple of film crews through the years!).
Whereas maybe not as visually spectacular on the Hearth Wave, the White Domes path remains to be fairly cool; the slot canyon portion is certainly price seeing for those who’ve by no means been inside a slot canyon earlier than.
This hike is common with households because it’s do-able for teenagers. And after I was there, there have been additionally plenty of canine on the path! (Canine are allowed on the paths so long as they’re saved on leashes.)
Hike size: 1.25 miles in a loop
How a lot time: 1 hour
Cease 5: White Domes Street
You have already pushed White Domes Street (typically additionally known as Mouse’s Tank Street) as soon as from the customer middle, however I like to recommend making some photograph stops this time via.
There are a number of pull-outs and trailhead parking heaps in your approach again to the customer middle, so you should use your personal judgment on the place to cease. The Rainbow Vista trailhead is a well-liked one to cease at to snap some photographs.
If you need “the” photograph of the street that runs via the park right here, I did the analysis so that you can discover the proper spot to cease (and sure, it took a number of tries!). In your approach *out* of this a part of the park, after you cross the Rainbow Vista parking space, the street bends to the suitable and begins to descend into the “canyon.” Instantly after this bend, there is a gravel pull-off that is massive sufficient for 1 or 2 automobiles on the suitable aspect of the street simply behind a tall rock. Park right here, climb the rock, and growth: well-known view.
As at all times, please watch out when climbing rocks or taking photographs within the street. Additionally word that there are components of this street the place roadside parking is NOT allowed. Take note of the indicators, and solely pull over the place there’s room.
How a lot time: 30 minutes
Cease 6: Elephant Rock
When you attain the top of White Domes Street, take a fast detour to the left and head in direction of the East Entrance of the park. Simply earlier than reaching that entrance gate, the well-known Elephant Rock shall be on the left aspect of the street. (You could not discover it for those who aren’t searching for it, however likelihood is there shall be different individuals round taking photographs.)
You possibly can park within the lot on the East Entrance, or wherever alongside the aspect of the street the place it is secure. (Roadside parking is allowed all through many of the park.)
My buddy and I simply walked up the street to see Elephant Rock from under, however there’s additionally a brief path from the car parking zone that may take you up and barely behind Elephant Rock for a special vantage level.
The one factor it is best to NOT do right here is climb on the rock formation itself.
How a lot time: 15 minutes (30 minutes for those who hike up behind the rock)
Cease 7: Atlatl Rock
Since we have been going again to Las Vegas (i.e. leaving the park the identical approach we got here in), we left Atlatl Rock for final.
This web site is nearer to the West Entrance of the park, close to the campground and never removed from the Beehives. We did not go to it on the way in which in since we wished to ensure we had sufficient time for the hikes we wished to do. It makes a wonderful final cease in your approach out of Valley of Hearth.
Atlatl Rock is a giant rock formation that has a number of the park’s finest petroglyphs carved into its aspect greater than 50 toes off the bottom. So as so that you can see the petroglyphs up shut, the park has constructed a staircase that takes you proper as much as them.
These petroglyphs have been carved hundreds of years in the past, which is fairly mind-boggling – particularly once you see how clear they nonetheless are.
Simply please, please, no matter you do, do NOT give in to the urge to carve your personal mark into this rock. Let’s go away the petroglyphs in tact for future guests to take pleasure in.
How a lot time: 15-20 minutes
In case you have extra time
By this level, you’ve got seen the highlights of Valley of Hearth. Alone go to, the solar was setting as we left Atlatl Rock, so we made our approach again to the freeway for the reason that park is just “formally” open from dawn to sundown.
In case you have extra time (i.e. for those who’re visiting in a season with extra hours of daylight!), there are extra brief hikes you could possibly try within the park like:
- Rainbow Vista – From the Rainbow Vista car parking zone, a path results in a shocking vista out over Hearth Canyon. (1-mile hike)
- Mouse’s Tank – A brief hike takes you thru Petroglyph Canyon to a pure basin known as Mouse’s Tank. It is named after a Paiute man named Mouse from the 1800s who it is mentioned would cover out on this canyon.
- Pink Canyon – It is not on any park maps, however you will discover Pink Canyon (additionally known as Pastel Canyon) at Wash No. 5. There is a small pullout at Wash 5 (marked with a small “5”), or you’ll be able to park at Parking Lot three and stroll all the way down to the wash. Comply with it for a pair minutes right into a canyon that basically is pink!
You must also hold a watch out for desert wildlife in Valley of Hearth. You are prone to see massive horn sheep all all through the park, in addition to smaller critters like lizards and (possibly) desert tortoises. There are additionally animals like coyote, bobcat, equipment fox, and jackrabbit right here, although they’re principally nocturnal.
Suggestions for visiting Valley of Hearth State Park
Even for those who’re simply visited for a pair hours on a day journey from Las Vegas, there are nonetheless some belongings you’ll need to remember at Valley of Hearth:
- Verify the climate – Valley of Hearth is in the midst of the desert, and meaning excessive temperatures. Days are normally gentle within the winter, however in the summertime daytime temperatures can simply soar above 100 levels F. If you are going to hike in the summertime, plan to begin as early as attainable.
- Additionally regulate flash flood warnings. Which may sound foolish within the desert, however Valley of Hearth has slot canyons and washes and different areas that may flood FAST throughout a thunderstorm, and even typically if there is a massive storm miles away. For those who’re uncertain about these dangers, examine in on the customer middle earlier than doing any mountaineering.
- Refill on water – You possibly can refill your water bottle on the customer middle or campsites, however not wherever else within the park. Be sure to take sufficient with you and keep hydrated. (I like to recommend a refillable water bottle or backpack with water bladder, relying on how a lot mountaineering you propose to do.)
- Pack solar safety – As I discussed above, the Hearth Wave path gives no shade in any respect. And sure, you’ll be able to completely nonetheless get a sunburn within the winter. Be ready with sunscreen, or a minimum of a hat and sun shades to guard your face and eyes.
- Convey a picnic lunch (or dinner) – There are not any meals providers inside Valley of Hearth. The closest place to get meals is on the Moapa Paiute Journey Plaza that is on the exit once you get off I-15. However driving again there for lunch will reduce into the time you’ve got within the park. As an alternative, I like to recommend packing a lunch that you may eat contained in the park (simply remember to eliminate your trash correctly!).
Valley of Hearth excursions
One of the best ways to discover Valley of Hearth State Park is by self-driving. However I notice that not everybody can or desires to drive whereas touring. If that is the case for you, there’s excellent news! A number of excursions can take you from Las Vegas to Valley of Hearth for a day.
Excursions to take a look at embrace:
Are you satisfied to take a day journey to the Valley of Hearth?
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