Once we drove over the first hill - and saw what we couldn't see from the entrance - I knew Valley of Fire was a special place. Bright red sandstone, limestone, rocks, petroyglyphs, a mid-century modern visitor center and wildlife all mix together in Nevada's oldest and largest state park. (A road was built through here in the early 1900's for people travelling from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles and they started calling it the Valley of Fire then.)
I actually have a hard time describing it - the desert landscape is varied with different colors and shape of rock - and on our drive through the park I couldn't help but think that it reminded me of the Flintstones cartoons that I watched when I was young. Some of the rocks looked like they could've been Fred and Wilma's house and some areas looked like the rock quarry where Fred worked. As much of the desert southwest seems to me, it looks a bit otherwordly - like you're on a different planet. There are several named rock formations - elephant rock, balanced rock, seven sisters, and beehive. There is even a memorial to a soldier, John Clark, who came through the area after his release from the US Army. Apparently water was as scarce then as now, and finding none he died.
Whatever it reminds you of, it's definitely a unique place. I thought it was just so cool. We drove through the entire park - though probably at a quicker pace than those who make it their only destination - and got a sweet surprise of spying some bighorn sheep. We climbed the ladder to view the petroyglyphs - presumably from the Anasazi culture. Then, as usual, we needed to be on our way. But I'm so glad we took the time to stop.
If you're in Vegas and your luck has run out - or you just need an escape from the city - or you love a good state park - then you may to to visit Valley of Fire State Park.
Things to know before you go:
-Valley of Fire is a state park comprising of 40,000 acres of Aztec red sandstone located in Overton, Nevada about 54 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
-Park entrance fees are $10 and the park is open 365 days per year from sunrise to sunset.
-There are two campgrounds with 72 units. Campsites includes shaded tables, grills and water with 24 hour access.
-The visitor center is open daily from 8:30 to 4:30.
-Leashed pets are allowed in the park but not the visitor center.
How about you? Have you been to Valley of Fire?
This post is part of a link-up with: Weekend Travel Inspiration at Albom Adventures, Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party!