When thinking about getting out for a beautiful drive and scenic views, one doesn’t have to go too far from the city of Las Vegas to experience a delightful outing with the family, or a romantic drive with someone special, or if you want to do some camping and hiking. What could be more beautiful in the month of February, for Valentines month to experience these grand red rocks? Pack a picnic lunch, some extra water and your camera and prepare for a fun day.
Regardless, if you enter The Valley of Fire from the east or west side it is equally stunning. The intense red rock formations referred to as Aztec sandstone are scattered all over the desert adjoining the west side of Lake Mead. The state park boundaries enclose these fascinating rocks and extending over 30 miles of scenic Kodak moments. Scientists claim that these extraordinary rock formations were formed by petrifaction of ancient sand dunes during the Jurassic Era approximately 160 million years ago.
The State Park has a decent sized visitor center near the west entrance, with a few interesting desert plants and cacti that can capture your interest as well as the scenic drive. There are various viewpoints and features with foot paths and walking trails along the main road (NV 169). For even better scenery, take the 6 mile scenic drive called White Domes Road which forks northwards next to the visitor center; where you will discover more viewpoints, other popular trails and many beautiful rock formations in a range of other colors.
If remaining on the main road NV 169 the most notable points of interest include:
- The Beehives: Which are beautifully layered sandstone mounds that were originally sand dunes in an ancient desert, but are now preserved in stone.
- Atlatl Rock: Which is an isolated group of red rocks. Ancient petroglyphs can be found at many places amongst the rocks especially along the foot trails. And for those not staying overnight, the 2 mile road past the campgrounds also makes for a scenic diversion.
- Seven Sisters: My personal favorite! Where you will see a group of tall eroded red boulders surrounded by our beautiful sandy desert and creates a pleasant setting for a roadside picnic, there are picnic tables available. If you have children it is a perfect place to play hide and seek and explore.
- The Cabins: Another great picnic location. You will find three stone cabins that were built at the base of strikingly high red cliffs, during the 1930s and now form a backdrop for a lovely picnic area along the highway.
Other nearby places you can journey to on this outing include:
- Lake Mead(10 miles)
- Bowl of Fire – Lake Mead National Park region – Aztec sandstone mounds in the middle of the Bowl of Fire
- Whitney Pockets(68 miles) – more outcrops of deep red rocks
Enjoy your outing Las Vegas peeps and write to me to tell me about your favorite outdoor activity. Find me in Facebook High-Rise-Life-Vegas-Magazine.