Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
A little less than a year ago, I wrote about how much we loved our visit to Valley of Fire. To my flyover-country eyes, it reminded me of Mars: red rocks in dramatic shapes and not a tree in sight.
We have gone back to Valley of Fire a few times since that first experience, and it is still just as amazing now as it was then.
On our most recent visit, we deviated from our usual Valley of Fire routine. Instead of hiking the Mouse’s Tank trail, we explored the Rainbow Vista area of the park, took a look at the petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock, and gazed at the “Seven Sisters” rock formations. I’m happy to report that I thought all of these spots were kid-friendly.
Our first stop was the Rainbow Vista trail head. My five-year-old daughter isn’t much of a hiker, but she loves the interesting rock formations at Valley of Fire. Rather than hiking the trail, we ran around and explored near the trail’s entrance. We had fun spotting the little caves and crevices in the rock formations.
Next, we stopped by the Seven Sisters. These dramatic, vertical rock formations are a great site for a picnic, with several covered picnic tables sitting in the shadows of the tall, statuesque “ladies.” I’ll admit, we didn’t stay here long, but I did snap a photo or two, and I could see us enjoying a picnic here on our next visit.
In addition to being a beautiful place to hike, Valley of Fire also offers visitors a look at petroglyphs dating back to about 3,000 years ago. Although there are some fascinating petroglyphs along the Mouse’s Tank trail, an even better place for viewing these ancient artworks is Atlatl Rock. The pictures are located very high-up on the side of a large rock formation. A long set of stairs take visitors up to a platform where they can get a close look at the petroglyphs. After you’ve examined the drawings, be sure to turn around and check out the pretty cool view from the platform.
View from the platform at Atlatl Rock
We ended our day at Valley of Fire with an old favorite: the Beehives. This series of rock formations located near the park’s entrance is a fun place for kids to run free, although you will need to watch them closely if they climb on the rocks. Some of them are quite high. We saw several yellow wildflowers here and a lizard. It was a great way to end our day.
If you are planning a trip to Las Vegas and will be renting a car, I highly recommend a visit to Valley of Fire. It’s one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever visited.