One of the aspects of Valley of Fire State Park we love the most is the ability to hike anywhere directly from your campsite. No need to get in the car to drive to a trailhead, although that is definitely a possibility. We simply get up in the morning and walk in any direction and hike for hours and then return. Due to the geographical layout of the campground within the park you can easily navigate in any direction and visually navigate back to the campground. We have hiked in almost every direction from the campground, over the rocks in multiple directions, over the desert floor, along washes, through slots, etc. A terrific place to explore and hike for miles and miles.
We have found that the advertised hikes and viewpoints can get very crowded with day tourists from Vegas but if you create your own hikes you will be alone with peace and quiet and solitude.
The Pinnacles Loop
One of our favourite hikes is “The Pinnacles Loop”. This used to be called a trail and just this year we see it has been relabled a “loop” with a new sign. The sign provides all sorts of great information…but no graphical image of where “the loop” is….hmmm…
We discovered this hike via an advertisement a few years ago while here over Christmas and New Years as a New Years Eve Moonlight hike. We didn’t go on that hike but the following day we decided to find the Pinnalces on our own, which we did. We fell in love with the area and make it our goal to hike there every time where are at Valley of Fire.
This year we decided to try the new “Loop”. Off we went to The Pinnacles. A beautiful day, not a soul in sight and a lovely hike. We weren’t sure where the “loop” was but decided to just wing it. We hiked all the way up to the top of The Pinnacles in about 1 ½ hours and headed down the backside (the north side) of the mountain through the washes. We had a fantastic view of the mountains in the distant which were very familiar to us as they are the mountains to the east of the campground. So we knew where we were but didn’t see any trail markings at all and weren’t sure if we were on the “loop”. At least we were headed downhill. We continued for another hour or so. We could see Atlatl Rock and Arch Rock in the distance along with Lake Mead. A beautiful vista and a beautiful hike. We continued hiking and eventually came upon trail markers so presumably, we didn’t follow the loop the entire way. We have an idea where we think the loop may actually be and will try that approach next time. A little bit of detective work keeps us on our toes.
One of the popular spots in the park is the White Domes trail which is at the northern end of the road in the park. It is the location for a western movie in the 1960’s called “The Professionals”. It also has a short slot canyon called “The Narrows”. We have hiked it a number of times, once on Christmas day a few years ago and we were the only ones there. Other times we have been there the parking lot has been packed full of tourist buses and jeep tours and passenger rental cars. On those occasions we pass on the hike.
This time we arrived early in the morning and lo and behold, we were the ONLY car in the parking lot so off we went to enjoy the hike. Another beautiful day and another beautiful hike. When we finished the hike a few more cars had arrived in the parking lot. We timed that one right.
This is another popular tourist spot which involves a short walk into the canyon with the end result being a small pool of water nestled in the rock called “Mouses Tank”. Along the way you can see a wide variety of petroglyphs on the rocks.
Again, we arrived early to beat the tourists and had a nice, lovely short hike by ourselves. As we returned to the trailhead two big buses of school kids were unloading. Timing is everything.
Wave of Fire
This is a nice hike that we have done over and over again. One of our favorites. The first time we hiked it we followed the trail but each time after that we take a different route and just walk over the rocks or through the slots or wherever. We try to make it different each time.
At the wave we met a nice couple, Anna and Andy, from Canberra, Australia (by way of Manhattan). We chatted to them for awhile and since they were staying in the same campground as us we ended up having them over for drinks that evening by the campfire. We thoroughly enjoyed their company and spent hours laughing and getting to know each other. Safe travels Anna and Andy!!