Most of our travels have been planned out in advance. Our visit to Valley of Fire State Park was kind of a spur of the moment decision on our way out of Cathedral Gorge. Since we already had a place to go if this didn’t work out, we figured why not go see if we can find a spot for a couple of nights?
Wow, we are so glad we went! It can be a little intimidating trying to get a spot at a first come first served campground. Especially when you are in a larger RV since you already know half of the available sites probably won’t fit you anyway. All of the sites here place you right in the middle of beautiful red rock country and you could spend a day just exploring all the nooks and crannies around the campgrounds. The rest of the park is just massive, with lots to see in every direction. Click below for our adventures in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada:
Valley of Fire
Nevada’s oldest and most visited state park is a wonderland of Aztec Sandstone. Officially designated in 1935, it is spread out over 40,000 acres with lots to see. It’s also easy to get to due to its close proximity to Las Vegas (1 hour). The sandstone itself ranges from various shades of red and orange, to pink and white. They are especially magical at sunset!
What You Shouldn’t Miss
Check out this park map from the Nevada State Parks website. We highly recommend both the Fire Wave (1.5 out and back) and White Domes (1 mile loop) in the north end of the park. The two trails are relatively close together. Our family of 4 was able to do both in one morning. The Fire Wave is a very striking section of striped sandstone that curves around like a wave. The White Domes loop takes you past two large white sandstone domes, the location of the movie set for the 1966 film The Professionals, and an easy slot canyon. Silica Dome and Fire Canyon are worth a stop while you are up in the north end of the park.
On the east end of the park, Elephant Rock is another iconic stop within Valley of Fire. It is a 1.2 mile loop that takes you right up to Elephant Rock. Technically it is an arch, but the long side of it looks like an elephant’s trunk. Having already completed a couple of hikes, we drove by it and were able to see it from the road. We heard the Natural Arches Trail is another worthwhile hike on the east side of the park, but it was a bit too long for us to check out (2.5 miles one way).
Trying to see everything in a day felt a little rushed. We would recommend spending at least 2 to 3 days. Without cell coverage for work, that was out of the question for us.
Atlatl and Arch Rock Campgrounds
These two campgrounds could easily be considered two different loops of the same campground. Arch Rock is just a very short drive past Atlatl. Together, there are 72 sites available. However, only sites 23 through 44 in the Atlatl campground have RV hookups (power and water, no sewer). Naturally, those are the most highly sought after.
You really can’t go wrong with either campground. I think if we were to return, we would probably head directly back to Arch Rock again. We really liked how just about every site there was tucked up next to the big rocks. The Atlatl campground has some pretty amazing campsites too, but there just seem to be more of them in Arch Rock.
Free Camping Outside Valley of Fire
If you are prepared to boondock there is free camping available outside the west entrance. We noticed a handful of RVs parked in this area on our way into the park. Since we stayed in the park we didn’t really look into this option. However, it would make for an excellent plan B if the park campgrounds are full.
Campendium also shows more free boondocking spots outside of the east entrance. We didn’t explore outside that side of the park, but there is a lot of Bureau of Land Management land outside both ends of Valley of Fire State Park.
Any questions? Please let us know in the comments so that we can answer them!
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If you’d like to read about our RV and other RV adventures, then check out some of our other posts :
- Cathedral Gorge State Park
- RV Solar System Lessons Learned
- The Ghost Town of Rhyolite, Nevada
- Bonneville Salt Flats & Lemoille Canyon
- Buckhorn Wash | Pictographs and Canyons
- The Wedge + Little Grand Canyon
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