Just six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles NE of Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and biggest state park. As with any “go to” natural destination, your visit can be more enjoyable by having a fundamental understanding of the location’s history and highlights. Here are a handful of facts you probably didn’t know about the park:
1. There’s a lot of movies and shows featuring this setting
For decades, the Valley of Fire has been the selected setting for many movies, creative projects, and TV shows, including:
- The Professionals (Movie)
- Total Recall (Movie)
- Star Trek Generations (Movie)
- Transformers (Movie)
- Airwolf (TV Show)
- Criss Angel Mindfreak (TV Special)
- Need for Speed: The Run (Video Game)
- Ride by Lana Del Rey (Music Video)
2. There’s a lot of flora
Although at first glance it may seem desolate and void of any plants, the Valley of Fire is home to a variety of life! A discerning eye will note many plants, including:
- Beavertail cactus
- Creosote bush
- Burro bush
- Cholla cactus
In the spring, you’ll see a lot of flora along the park roads, including:
- The desert mallow
- The desert marigold
- The indigo bush
All the flowers and plants in the park are steadfastly protected by Nevada state law and may not be removed or tampered with in any way.
3. There’s a lot of fauna
Wildlife abounds in the Valley of Fire. While many migrating birds pass through the area en route to their seasonal destinations. The Valley of Fire is home to many birds including:
- The raven
- The house finch
- The sage sparrow
- The beloved southwestern roadrunner.
With temperatures often soaring off the charts in the hotter months, it’s no surprise most of the desert critters at the park are nocturnal. What you may not be aware of, however, is the diversity of wildlife found here, including:
- The kit fox
- The spotted skunk
- The black-tailed jackrabbit
- The antelope ground squirrel.
Even more of a wondrous (and rare) creature to behold is the desert tortoise. Like the vegetation at the Valley of Fire, all animals, artifacts, petrified wood, minerals, and rocks are protected by law.
4. There were a lot of visitors in days gone by
Long before the wildlife and plant life became protected at this park, lots of people made this their “go to” destination for hunting, food gathering, creating art, and performing religious ceremonies. From the prehistoric Basket Maker people to the Anasazi Pueblo farmers, the Valley of Fire was occupied between 300 B.C.E. to 1150 C.E. There are several designated sites within the park today where you can peruse the amazing rock art created by these ancient peoples.
5. There are a lot of visitors today
The Valley of Fire is a popular destination for many visitors. Groups of school children; special interest organizations; campers; hikers; geology students; area residents and tourists all head to the Valley of Fire for both its breathtaking beauty and rich history. The park is open 24/7 and offers:
- Full-scale visitor center (open daily until 4:30 PM) with lots of interpretative and interesting displays
- 72 designated spaces throughout two areas for camping that include showers, tables, water, restrooms, and grills
- 3 large group areas for meetings, celebrations, and picnics, and
- Hiking trails
BONUS FACT – You can get married there
Maverick Helicopters offers Valley of Fire Wedding packages that put you right in the middle of the bright red Aztec sandstone. Exchange your vows surrounded by the natural beauty of the Valley of Fire and then conclude your wedding day with a breathtaking flight where you’ll enjoy views of the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.