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The red sandstone contrasts against the Spring green.

Valley of Fire

Nevada State Park

By Nikki Wilson

April 24, 2005

Have you ever wanted to travel to Mars and explore new places?  It is probably not likely that traveling to Mars will happen in our life time, but there is a place in Nevada that can transport you to a different planet.  It is called the Valley of Fire located in Nevada near the Lake Mead, Hoover Dam area.  Fuel up your car for a day trip through the park, have a picnic, or even set up camp here, this state park is a unique place to see.

Not to be confused with another state park in New Mexico of the same name which has black lava rocks, this park in Nevada is completely different.  The reason the park is called the Valley of Fire is not for the reason of the hot desert temperatures in the summer, but for the red rocks that jut up out of the ground.  Open year round this state park is located 6 miles from Lake Mead and is close to the city of Overton, Nevada. Take the 15 Freeway 55 miles north of Las Vegas and exit number #75. 

What are these red rocks?  Once upon a time, a long, long time ago there was an ancient desert of sand.  How much is a long, long time ago?  The sand dunes date back to 150 million years ago when the dinosaurs roamed here.  These red colored sand dunes became the weathered sandstone that we see today.  The rock formations became exposed due to earthquake activity with the plates shifting exposing the ancient earth.  The wind along with flash flooding has eroded the rock formations giving many of the rocks a smooth rounded look.  Some other types of formations found here are shale, limestone and conglomerates.

One of the Seven Sister rock formation.

Petrified logs are to be seen hear at this park in 2 different locations.  They are about 225 million years old.   It is against the law to remove these beautiful petrified rocks from the park.  These beautiful rocks can be purchased legally from commercial retail outlets.

Atatl Rock is an example of the petroglyphs found around this area.  This petroglyph is of the Atatl is much like a spear.  Petroglyph writings are said to resemble ancient Chinese characters.  Discovering these drawings can be quite an adventure and learning experience about this civilization.  The park has camping in this area with modern showers and bathrooms.

The BeeHives are weathered layered sandstone mounds that look like a giant bee’s house.

The Mouses tank is a natural basin in the rock that collects rain water.  In the 1890’s a Paiute Indian refugee, that this is named after, used this water to survive until he met his fate of being captured and killed later on.  The trail leading to this has petroglyph pictures carved into the rocks by the ancient Indian civilizations, some dating back to 3000 years.

Beehive rock formations.

Seven Sisters is perfect for the roadside traveler.  There are picnic tables at this location for a fun outing.

White Domes is a highly contrasting sandstone formation.  Rainbow Vista, Fire Canyon, Silica Dome, and Elephant Rock are also points of interest at the park.

The best times of year to visit the Valley of Fire is in the fall and in the spring.  The spring may even be more interesting as the wildflowers are in bloom between April and May.    In the winter it can be cold weather with lows down to 0 degrees.  The summer can become very hot, up to 120 degrees.  So if you do travel at these times be prepared for the weather conditions with extra food and water and appropriate clothing.

The visitor center will be a good pit stop before heading into the park to get map locations of all the sights.  Park entrance fees start at $5 so be aware of this when coming to the park.  You can either call (702) 397-2088 for the park information, or check out the Nevada’s website at http://parks.nv.gov/




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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM