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One of the most stunning state parks in Nevada is the Valley of Fire State Park which is famous for its other-worldly brightly striped sandstone formations. The formations are well worth the visit, but visitors should plan around the summer heat. One of the more rewarding trails in the park is the Fire Wave Trail which leads to some of the most stunning formations.

Nevada is an often underrated state with plenty of rewarding attractions and interesting state parks. The state is home to the Great Basin National Park, which is home to some of the oldest trees in the world. Nevada has one of the southernmost glaciers in North America, and one of its more unusual state parks is one that combines a ghost town with ichthyosaur fossils.


Valley Of Fire State Park - Nevada's Oldest State Park

One of the advantages of the Valley of Fire State Park is that it is located only around 46 miles out of Las Vegas and is only around a 45-minute drive. That means it is a great option for those looking for a day trip out of Sin City into the deserts of Nevada. The Valley of Fire State Park is situated in the Mojave Desert.

  • Size: Around 46,000 Acres
  • Location: 46 Miles From Las Vegas

The Valley of Fire State Park covers around 46,000 acres and gets its name from the eye-catching Aztec Sandstone formations. They were formed from shifting sand dunes around 150 million years ago.

The colors of the sandstones can appear to be on fire as they reflect the sun's rays. The Fire Waves on the sandstone are beautiful, to say the least. Sometimes the stripes can even appear painted on the roads.

  • Oldest: Valley Of Fire State Park Is Nevada's Oldest State Park

The state park is home to a number of natural attractions - more than just the colorful sandstone. See petrified trees and even 2,000-year-old petroglyphs.

Take the time to visit the visitor center and learn about the ecology, prehistory, history, and geology of the park and the surrounding region.

  • Opening Hours: Daily From Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entrance Fee: $10.00 NV Vehicle & $15.00 Non-NV Vehicle

Related: Mojave National Preserve Is Home To Joshua Trees (& More Adventures)

Planning To Hike The Fire Wave Trail

One of the most popular hiking trails in the Valley of Fire State Park is the Fire Wave Trail. The Fire Wave Trail is only a short trail and is only around 1.5 miles out and back and does not require a permit to hike.

The best time to see the sandstone formations is at sunrise and at sunset. That being said, the park is only open from sunrise to sunset, so if one would like to see the colors at sunset, one will need to leave quickly afterward (otherwise, risk a fine).

  • Length: 1.5 miles or 2.4 Kilometers Out And Back
  • Elevation Change: 175 Feet
  • Hiking Time: Around 45 Minutes

The trail is also open to dogs, so those traveling to Vegas with Pooch or Scruffles are in luck.

Note that the Wave Trail is a newer trail and may not appear in some of the older park maps.

Another stunning vibrantly colored sandstone formation is called "The Wave" in Coyote Butte in Arizona. However, The Wave requires a permit that is really difficult to get. Only around 5% of the permit applicants get the required permit making the formations at Nevada's Valley of Fire much easier to visit.

Related: Road Trip Vegas: This Stunning Nevada Park Is Just An Hour Away From Sin City

Fire Wave Trail Seasonal Closures

If one would like to hike the Fire Wave Trail, then be sure to check with the Nevada State Parks website for any closures or other information. The trail (along with the Seven Wonders) is often closed during summer due to extreme heat (as of the time of writing, early September, it was closed to extreme heat). There is no shade along the trail, and the sandstone radiating heat makes it more oppressive.

  • Closure: During Periods Of Extreme Heat

As well as checking in advance online, inquire at the visitor center for suggestions of trails to hike on the day. There are a number of options with varying terrain and length.

If one is visiting during the hotter months of the year, it is best to plan around avoiding the heat of the day.