Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire

So I recently flew into Vegas, & some friends picked me up at the airport for a grand 5-day tour of Zion, Bryce Canyon, & our first stop: the Valley of Fire State Park.  My flight got in at noon, & we had reservations at a darling hotel in St. George called The Advenire: so we had about two hours to explore the park.  This ended up being plenty of time, & we did the best hike in the park: the incredible & fairly short Fire Wave Trail.  Join us on this quick “Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire!”

Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire, Girl Who Travels the World

The drive from Vegas’ International Airport to the Valley of Fire was exactly ONE hour. We are here on the Fire Wave Trail.

Map of the Valley of Fire

It’s just 55 miles from Harry Reid International Airport to the Valley of Fire State Park, & it took us an hour to get there.  As soon as we were outside of Vegas, there was absolutely no traffic. 

I had friends pick me up at the airport, but had I been traveling solo ~ I would not hestitate to rent a car in Vegas & head out to the Valley of Fire for a quick day trip.  This is a really accessible park, & whether you’re traveling solo or with friends: there were always people around us while hiking, especially on the popular Fire Wave Trail, which made it feel very safe.  Also, if you’re not a hiker: you can still get amazing photos right off the side of the road.  One of the best places for this is right past the Visitor’s Center, with a view of the road that cuts through the red rocks.

Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire, Girl Who Travels the World

A shot like this can be taken with just a little hike, by pulling off the side of the road, about 3/4 of a mile after the Visitor’s Center.

Search rental car prices in Vegas here.

Las Vegas International Airport

Valley of Fire State Park

FAQ about the Valley of Fire

  • How to Get from Vegas to the Valley of Fire:  Hop on I-15 north, & after about 30 miles, take Exit 75 onto the Valley of Fire Hwy, towards Lake Mead. From here, you’re on the highway for about another 12 miles ~ just follow the signs towards the park, it’s impossible to miss.
  • What about Getting Gas/Best Places to Fill Up?  If you need gas, I’d fill up in Vegas: you’ll have the most choices here. But as you exit off of I-15 onto the Valley of Fire Hwy, there’s a Chevron on your left-side, in the Moapa Travel Plaza. I’d fill up here, or you’ll need to wait until you exit the park (if you exit the other side); there are gas stations & restaurants in the Moapa Valley.
  • Was the Valley of Fire Worth Seeing?  I think YES, 100%. For such a short & easy stop, it was definitely worth it. I’ve been all over the world, & still: I’ve only seen cool striations & “rings” in the rock in a few places, such as Peru’s Rainbow Mountain. This kind of geology is very unique, & hikes like the Fire Wave are so easy: they’re accessible to pretty much everyone.
  • What’s Better ~ the Valley of Fire, or Red Rock Canyon?  So Red Rock Canyon is closer to Vegas, & a quicker drive: but in my opinion, the Valley of Fire has by FAR the more interesting & unique topography. Both can be done as self-guided tours, as long as you have your own vehicle ~ but I think in terms of visual interest & cool hikes, or even if you just want to take a scenic drive: the Valley of Fire wins.
  • What’s the Entrance Fee for the Valley of Fire?  $10 per vehicle. And this is a State Park ~ so if you have a National Park Annual pass, it won’t work here.
  • What’s the Best Hike at the Valley of Fire?  After reading a few different blogs, my friends & I thought the Fire Wave Trail looked like the best hike to do, with our limited time frame. As it’s SO short (1.5 miles round-trip), we met a lady on the trail who was a local, & she told us how to make it longer. Instead of turning around after seeing the “Fire Wave,” she told us to keep going & make it a loop, passing through the Pastel Canyon & up thru White Domes, to get back to the parking lot. This made it more like a 3-mile loop, instead of a 1.5 mile out-and-back.
  • We Don’t Want to Hike ~ Is a Scenic Drive Still Worth it at the Valley of Fire?  I’d say YES. The drive from Vegas to the Valley of Fire is so quick, & the geography so unique: I think it’s definitely worth a visit, even without hiking. There are many places to pull over on the side of the road & take photos ~ just be sure to take Mouses Tank Road up past the Visitor’s Center; this is by far the prettiest section of the park. Take this road until it dead-ends, & pull over anywhere that looks interesting. You could also extend your road trip by visiting Hoover Dam or Lake Mead, on your way back to Vegas. 
  • Can You Get to the Valley of Fire WITHOUT a Car: I don’t think so. We didn’t see any buses here, & if you Uber’ed or taxi’ed from Vegas, I’m sure it would cost way more than renting a car! Plus, you’d be stranded. Sooo….easiest thing to do is rent a car in Vegas. Uber’ing from any hotel to the airport is quick & cheap, & from the airport: you can easily rent a car with any of the majors.

Just be sure to rent in advance, as it’s always cheaper.

Photos of the Fire Wave Trail

The thing I most want to say about the Fire Wave Trail is how accessible & easy it is: almost ANYONE can do this hike.  Even if you don’t like hiking, I’d still give it a try.  From the parking lot, you’ll go slightly downhill to reach the “Fire Wave,” which is a beautiful & pleasant walk. 

Then on the way back, there’s just a slight uphill to get back to the parking lot: & you’re only gaining about 175 feet of elevation.  I’d still wear good tennis shoes, as you’re walking on rock for part of it: which you can see in the photos below.

Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire, Girl Who Travels the World

The start of the Fire Wave Trail: you’re walking on this cool, stripe-y rock.

Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire, Photos of the Fire Wave Trail, Girl Who Travels the World

It takes less than 1/2 a mile to reach this pay-off: a round, swirly-red mound in the desert..

Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire, Fire Wave Trail, Girl Who Travels the World

On the “Wave.”

Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire, Photos of the Fire Wave Trail, Girl Who Travels the World

Tell people to take some photos zoomed in ~ & others zoomed out, so you can really take in the entirety of the scenery. If they’re all zoomed in: you’ll kind of miss the point!

Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire, Girl Who Travels the World

We took the longer way back to the parking lot: thru pretty Pastel Pink Canyon, & up thru the White Domes.

Photos of the Fire Wave Trail at Valley of Fire, Girl Who Travels the World

My friend Jill looks up towards a huge rock! I definitely recommend taking the longer loop, if you are able to.

A road trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire was beyond worth it to see these amazing red rocks, pink sand thru the Pastel Canyon, & all the different colors & interesting patterns in the rock. Though we visited mid-day on a Sunday, I can imagine that visiting here at sunrise or sunset would be even more spectacular.

Renting a Car in Las Vegas

How Hard (or Easy) is it to Rent a Car in Las Vegas?  If you’re staying at a hotel on the Strip, it’s about a 10-minute Uber ride to the airport; it cost me about $12 from the Delano Hotel.  Have the Uber drop you off at Harry Reid Rent-a-Car Center, which is a few minutes from the airport itself.  And as far as rates go: Vegas has some of the most competitive prices for rental cars, because there’s so much competition.  You should be able to rent a car for $25-40/day; more if you wish to rent an SUV or truck. 

Plan to rent the car either at the beginning or end of your Vegas trip.  Then, if you’re flying home from there: you can just return the car to the airport, & hop on your flight.  Budget an extra 20-30 minutes to return the car & take a 10-minute shuttle to the airport. 

Road Trip from Vegas to the Valley of Fire

If you’ll be staying in Vegas after your visit to the Valley of Fire, check out some of my favorite solo dining spots in VegasAnd if renting a car still sound like too much of a hassle, check out some of Viator’s tours below, such as a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon….where they’ll do all the heavy-lifting for you. 

All you need to do is show up ; )  

xoxo Noelia

 

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Road Trip from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park, Girl WHo Travels the World