Valley of Fire has been on my bucket list forever! Gorgeous red rocks, swirling fire waves, big horn sheep, and endless opportunities for instagrammable photos? Uh, yes please!
We finally made the journey out to this unearthly location last month, and oh boy was I in love! It was one of the funnest trips we’ve taken recently, and beyond beautiful! If you’re planning a trip out there, here’s my ultimate guide to making the most out of your trip for an unforgettable experience…
This can be a tough one! Camping was our preference because we wanted to soak up as much of the vibe as possible! (NOT tent camping though lol we went for RV camping! Tents don’t really work for me…) Whatever way you prefer to camp, if you wanna stay in the park there’s two campgrounds that are first come first serve and can get very busy! Get there early, and go on a weekday if you can to stand the best chance at a spot. They have spots for RVs, Tents, and Vans alike, and also have bathroom and shower facilities.
If camping isn’t your thing, Valley of Fire is about 48 miles outside of Las Vegas, so you could always stay on The Strip and do a day trip!
What to see…
This is a tough one because everywhere you go in the park is just stunning! There’s tons of hikes, and you can even bring your well-behaved pup as long as they’re on a leash! Our Emma loved hiking along with us and had so much fun, too! Here are all the hiking trails we did and what we thought of each…
- White Domes – this one was the very first one we did and winds from sandy dunes to a slot canyon, past an old movie set and brilliant red rocks! I’d for sure recommend this one, especially for some cool photos without it being too crowded!
- Atlatl Rock – hands down my favorite spot! Tons of petroglyphs adorn these rocks, beyond even just the “Atlatl Rock” with its viewing platform. Walk back into the canyons and see which petroglyphs you can spot, it’s fun to pick them out of the surrounding rocks! Just be respectful and don’t touch or disturb them!
- Arch Rock – not a long hike at all, this one’s claim to fame is basically a mini version of the famous arch in Utah’s Arches park. Not super spectacular but cool to see nonetheless!
- Fire Wave / Rainbow Vista – Fire wave is the iconic representation of Valley of Fire that you see everywhere on social media or brochures, but I was honestly a little let down on this one after all the hype! Plus, it’s very busy and waiting for photos can take forever and involve photoshopping people out of the background. Kind of a must see but be realistic; a lot of photos are heavily edited! Rainbow Vista is a multicolored rock area visible if you continue on past the Fire Wave. It’s beautiful, but honestly better to see if you park across the road from the Fire Wave trail and go up the “end” of the Rainbow Wave trail.
- Petrified Logs – tbh, it doesn’t look like much at first glance! The logs are half buried in the ground behind fences, and you don’t immediately see them, but once you do it’s pretty cool! They also have info placards with the story of how they formed and got there, so it’s a great learning spot and easy for kids to do!
Where to get the best photos in Valley of Fire…
Short answer: literally anywhere and everywhere! But really though, you can grab amazing photos at pretty much any location, but here’s where I went…
- Mouse’s Tank road – this is great for road shots from far away and close up! There’s a rock pile right before Mouse’s Tank trail on the left if you’re driving in that’s pretty recognizable, and there’s a small pullout you can park in while you grab pics! There might even be people there already photographing stuff; there was when we went! Get there early as the sun rises to avoid the crowds and get those cool middle-of-the-road shots without being in the way.
- Fire Wave – ie the quintessential photo spot for this park! Get there early in the morning or late afternoon around the golden hour so that the rocks have that saturated hue!
- White Domes – at the very end of the trail, past the slot canyon, there’s pretty golden rocks with an arch that look really cool for photos!
- Slot Canyon @ White Domes – this is such a cool place! Go in the later afternoon for a moody look and less crowds!
- Around the campgrounds – there’s tons of red rocks everywhere, so for a lot of the photos, we just went out our front door! Get creative with night photography too!
What to wear/pack…
It can get chilly in the winter, and gets so hot in the summer that some trails are even closed! Based on the season you’re going, you’ll need to take the weather into account, but here’s what I brought:
- Warm jacket (I wore my Levi’s Sherpa lined trucker jacket!)
- Knit hat (this one from from BP is so cute!)
- Comfy shoes (I loved the retro sneakers I found!)
- Jeans and cute tees
- Lots of layers!
- A few statement looks
Shop my packing list below!
Valley of Fire was such a fun and beautiful vacation spot for us, so I’d love to know if you love it as much as I do! Drop a comment below and let me know!
Happy travels, fashionistas!