Valley Of Fire
State Park was first dedicated as a state park in 1935 and that makes
it Nevada's oldest
state park. It's colorful name comes from the huge spectacular red,
orange and yellow sandstone formations that are exposed in
abundance here. The Valley of Fire has drawn visitors for
thousands of years as evidenced by the many rock art panels
found there. The abundance of prehistoric rock art is one of the
attractions that brings visitors.
The multi-shaded red and golden yellow sandstone cliffs,
boulders, rocks, soils and sand dunes in the Valley of Fire are part of the
same Navajo Sandstone
Formation that is found throughout southern Nevada and in many
other areas of the Southwest such as in Monument Valley, Zion National
Park and Bryce Canyon.
is the same formation found locally in places such as Red Rock Canyon
and several other places in the Spring Mountains, along the North Shore Road
of Lake Mead at
places like 'Redstone'
and in nearby places such as Utah's
Zion National Park,
Bryce Canyon, and the Arches National Park to
name just a few. The red colors in the sandstone is a by product
of the minerals in the rock such as iron oxides.
This truly unique place has a area of over 46,000 acres and is located only
50 to 55 miles northeast of
Vegas (depending on the route taken and the starting point), and it is
just east of the Overton Arm
of the Lake Mead NRA. Valley of Fire is a place of unique beauty to which,
for many reasons, people have been attracted to for thousands
of years. This can be seen in the large number of intriguing Petroglyphs
and archaeological remains found in several places throughout this park such as
Canyon and at Atl Atl Rock.
Valley of Fire History and Prehistory
The Valley of Fire was in the long ago distant past the bottom of a deep ocean basin
for millions of years. This ocean eventually evolved to become part of a vast desert
that existed throughout what is now the Southwest corner
of the United
States about 150 to 180 million years ago.
Continued deposition over
the millions of years buried the once
shifting desert sands deep under the earths surface. Approximately 65
million years ago orogenic activity associated with the continental
subduction zone along the North American Pacific coast, caused tremendous
faulting throughout the western part of the continent, uplifting and shifting the large
parts of the earths crust throughout this region. This resulted in the tremendous diversity
in geological formations found throughout
the Great Basin, the vicinity, and in large parts of the
Eventually, after millions and millions of years, erosion exposed
parts of the remains
of that ancient desert and the place that we now call the Valley of Fire.
There are over 250,000 visitors a year that come to see the Valley of Fire
where sheer sandstone cliffs made of every possible shade of
deep reds, gold colors and yellow colors surround everything.
primitive and primitive looking here. All over the place there are pink, yellow and red sand dunes with
desert scrub and creosote
bushes colored a bright, unexpected type of green color that contrast against the sand. The
bright green color is likely due to the iron oxide minerals in
the soil. The contrast is interesting and eye-catching in many
places and contexts throughout the Valley of Fire.
The contrast between the grasses and desert scrubs, the
colors of the sandstone, the large number of cliffs and the
many, many unusual sandstone
formations present countless photo
opportunities. Besides the interesting and unique geology, the
Valley of Fire offers hiking and picnicking opportunities
throughout the year. The Valley of Fire attracts and is home to Chuckwalla's
(pictured above at Atl Atl Rock) and other types
of reptiles, burros, Big Horn Sheep (evidenced also in the
petroglyphs) and the occasional Mustangs (seen only once near
the eastern part of the Valley of Fire). These things all make
the Valley of Fire a great place to visit, take outstanding
photographs, picnic and to hike. Once a year there is a bike race
run in the park. For others, the huge number of Petroglyphs
present an interesting and unique part of the prehistory of the
area. There is even a historic aspect to the Valley of Fire that
visitors can explore at places such as the Mouse's Tank and the
buildings left behind by the workers of the WPA made during the
Great Depression of the 1930's.
In this section of our web site we hope to present many of the
vistas and images of Petroglyphs that can be found in the Valley
of Fire. This place is interesting and different, and does not
disappoint. Much of the park can be seen in an afternoon making
a visit to the Valley of Fire a great day trip.