The Valley of Fire State Park, NV

The Valley of Fire State Park, NV - Wedding Arch

The Valley of Fire State Park, NV - Wedding Arch

Prehistory:

The Valley of Fire derives its name from red sandstone formations, formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs, 150 million years ago. Complex uplifting and faulting of the region, followed by extensive erosion, have created the present landscape. Other important rock formations include limestones, shales, and conglomerates. Prehistoric users of the Valley of Fire included the Basket Maker people and later the Anasazi Pueblo farmers from the nearby fertile Moapa Valley. The span of approximate occupation has been dated from 300 B.C. to 1150 A.D. Their visits probably involved hunting, food gathering, and religious ceremonies, although scarcity of water would have limited the length of their stay. Fine examples of rock art left by these ancient peoples can be found at several sites within the park.

Climate

main entrance gate with snowcapped mountains in the backgroundWinters are mild with temperatures ranging from freezing to 75 degrees. Daily summer highs usually exceed 100 degrees, and may reach 120 degrees. Summer temperatures can vary widely from day to night. Average annual rainfall is four inches, coming in the form of light winter showers and summer thunderstorms. Spring and fall are the preferred seasons for visiting the Valley of Fire. Snow rarely falls at Valley of Fire as shown in this picture.

Nature

The area plant community is dominated by widely spaced creosote bush, burro bush, and brittle bush. Several cactus species, including beaver tail and cholla, are also common. The springtime bloom of such plants as the desert marigold, indigo bush, and desert mallow are often spectacular along park roads. Resident birds include the raven, house finch, sage sparrow, and roadrunner. a coyote Many migrant birds also pass through the park. Most desert animals are nocturnal and not frequently seen by the passing motorist. Many species of lizards and snakes are common in the park, as well as the coyote, kit fox, spotted skunk, black tailed jack rabbit, and antelope ground squirrel. The desert tortoise is a rare species and is protected by state law. If you are lucky enough to come across one please leave this likable and harmless creature to live its life in peace in its own environment.

Facilities

Entrance Fee: An entrance fee is charged to enter the park, with additional fee for camping. Current fees are posted at the park entrance. Click here for all individual park fees by region.

Visitor Information: The visitor center provides exhibits on the geology, ecology, prehistory, and history of the park and the nearby region. It is strongly recommended that each visitor make this an early stop after entering the park. Postcards, books, and film are on sale for your convenience. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Camping: Additional fees are charged for the use of these areas and is payable at the campgrounds. All campsites are first come, first serve. There are two campgrounds with a combined total of 73 units. Campsites are equipped with shaded tables, grills, water, and restrooms. An additional fee is charged for the use of the area and is payable at the campground. A dump station and showers are available..

RV Camping: RV sites with power and water hookup are now available. A $10 surcharge is added to the regular camping fee for the use of these sites.

Picnicking: Shaded areas with restrooms are located at Atlatl Rock, Seven Sisters, the Cabins, near Mouse’s Tank trail head and White Domes.

Group Area:
There are three group areas, each accommodating up to 45 persons. They are available for overnight camping and picnicking by reservation only. Advance reservations are required. For information call Valley of Fire State Park (702) 397-2088.

Hiking: Many intriguing hikes are available to visitors. Inquire at the visitor center for suggestions on day hikes of varying length and terrain.

Sites of interest:

Atlatl Rock: Outstanding examples of ancient Indian rock art or petroglyphs, including a depiction of the atlatl (at’-lat-l), a notched stick used to throw primitive spears. The atlatl was a predecessor to the bow and arrow. The adjacent Atlatl Rock Campground provides a modern restroom and shower building.

Arch Rock: Near Atlatl Rock Campground is the more primitive Arch Rock Campground with its more secluded campsites. A two-mile scenic loop road provides views of some of the Valley’s most interesting rock formations, such as Arch Rock and Piano Rock.

Enterprise rock formation beehives rock formation Beehives:
Unusual sandstone formations weathered by the eroding forces of wind and water. Nearby are three group camping areas, available by reservation only.

Cabins: Now a picnic area, these historic stone cabins were built with native sandstone by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930’s as a shelter for passing travelers.

Clark Memorial: Historic monument honors a pioneer traveler.

Elephant Rock Formation

Elephant Rock Formation

elephant rock formation
Elephant Rock is accessible via a short trail.

Fire Canyon/Silica Dome: From this vantage point there is an excellent view of the deep red sandstone of Fire Canyon, and the unique geological features of Silica Dome.

Mouse’s Tank: Named for a renegade Indian who used the area as a hideout in the 1890’s. Mouse’s Tank is a natural basin in the rock where water collects after rainfalls, sometimes remaining for months. A half-mile round trip trail leads to Mouse’s Tank from the trail head parking area, passing numerous examples of prehistoric Indian petroglyphs.

Petrified Logs: Logs and stumps washed into the area from an ancient forest about 225 million years ago are exposed in two locations.

rainbow Seven Sisters Rock FormationRainbow Vista: A favorite photo point with a panoramic view of multicolored sandstone.

Seven Sisters: Fascinating red rock formations are easily accessible from the road. Picnic areas provide a relaxing stop during your Valley tour.
White Domes: Sandstone formations with brilliant contrasting colors; picnic area and trail head. White Domes is an eleven-mile (17.7 km) round trip drive from the Visitor Center. Duck Rock is a short hike away.

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Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 9:21 PM  Comments Off on The Valley of Fire State Park, NV  
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