Not to be confused with my prior post, this is a completely different area of Lake Mead. While looking over the map as to where we could stay around Lake Mead, I came across Valley of Fire State Park which sparked my curiosity. I looked around on the internet and it took but a second to know that we had to check this place out. It’s about 45min outside of Las Vegas yet it feels like a different world compared to the bright lights of the Vegas strip.
Here is a brief history from the park’s website:
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.E. to 1150 C.E. 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
As we began our drive through the park, it starts out like many areas in Utah with the brilliant red sandstone formations. We then came across a trail that led to about a mile of petroglyphs on both sides of the short canyon. I find these drawings very fascinating and I often wonder what they mean and also how on earth did they climb up to some of these areas to make the carvings!
As we finished our hike to Mouse Tank which is named by the natural basin that collects water after each rainfall, we continued up the road. Little did we know that we would be in for the unexpected. The rock formations began to change color from red to what I called a cotton candy array of colors. They were pink, yellow, white and purple. It was quite spectacular!
We took a hike in the White Dome area of the park. We started out in the brightly colored sandstone formations and we walked through the “beach sand” again but this time it was in the same colors of the rocks which made it just beautiful as you walked through purple sand. We helped the dogs down the steep boulders and came across a slot canyon. By now, you all know how fascinated we are with slot canyons so we had to check it out. It was definitely not as narrow or long as many in Utah, it was still quite fun. The rock formations had a different patern to them and the rock became a soft red color in this canyon.