You might be visiting Vegas for a few days or on a southwest road trip and asking yourself, “is Valley of Fire worth seeing?” and I am here to answer that question with a HELL YES. This state park is so beautiful and it honestly floored me with how much variation it had. There are so many incredible things to do in Valley of Fire that one day isn’t enough in general, but it is enough to see a lot of amazing stuff. So if you’re planning to spend a day getting away from Sin City, or just putting this park on your road trip plan, here’s my recommended one day itinerary for Valley of Fire State Park.
The Short Version
This is the quick version of my ultimate guide to one day at Valley of Fire State Park:
- Start early and take the iconic Instagram photo above Mouse Tank Road
- Rainbow Vista Trail is an easier one of the Valley of Fire trails that ends in a spectacular view
- Get the most bang for your buck and hike the Fire Wave, White Domes, and Seven Wonders Loop to see all of the following natural wonders/photo stops:
- White Domes Slot Canyon
- Kaolin Slot Canyon
- Pink Canyon
- Striped Rock
- Fire Wave
- Fire Cave
- Thunderstorm Arch
- Crazy Hill
- Natural Arch is on a lot of Valley of Fire itineraries and it’s super cool but is small and you can’t get super close, so free to skip it if you’re rushed for time
- But if you do venture this way, Elephant Rock is nearby as well so you could swing there quickly too to look at that cool rock formation
- The park closes at sundown so you won’t have a lot of time to enjoy sunset or go on any real hikes for here, so I just drove west and found a parking lot and wandered off
The Long Version of my 1 Day Valley of Fire Itinerary
So if you’re asking yourself, “how far is the Valley of Fire from Vegas?” the answer is about an hour. If you’re also asking yourself, “What is the best time of day to visit Valley of Fire” the answer is as early as possible. What that means is you can totally just wake up a little early and drive out to this incredible park; you do not need to get separate accommodations unless you really want to. There are just so many things to do in Valley of Fire but if you’ve only got a day, this Valley of Fire itinerary/travel guide contains the things I recommend you spend your time on.
Valley of Fire Organized Tours to Add to Your Itinerary
If you prefer an organized tour, definitely check out one of these awesome Valley of Fire excursions to explore this awesome park exactly how you want to:
Where to Stay
Las Vegas makes an amazing home base and a very easy drive to kick off your Valley of Fire itinerary! Check out some hotels here for your stay:
Map of Your Day
This is where each of the recommended stops/trailheads are for your Valley of Fire itinerary. Feel free to download this map to your device and save it offline!
Morning at Mouse Tank Road
This is probably the most Instagram-famous photo spot in all of Valley of Fire, and a must for any Valley of Fire one day itinerary. and that’s for good reason. It might seem basic at this point if you’re like me and are DEEP in travel and adventure social media blackholes, but honestly, it’s so pretty. Don’t let the fear of it being “overdone” prevent you from seeing this gorgeous view.
Pro tip? Make this your first stop on the day, even if you’re driving past some other stops to get there. Because it’s such a popular Instagram spot these days, there are lots of other people wanting to stop and snag a photo here. So I would get here around 9am at latest just to be safe.
For a view from above, you’re going to drive to the photo location on the map, park, and climb up the rock that looks down back to the road you were just driving along. That’s where you’ll see that iconic view.
Hike the Rainbow Vista Trail
This is a great little Valley of Fire trail that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s not long nor is it steep, so the Rainbow Vista Trail is a great warmup for the rest of your day and a great starter to this one day Valley of Fire itinerary. I ended up going later in the day for this and I wish I’d gone earlier for better lighting, so do this earlier for optimal pretties.
Hike the Fire Wave, White Domes, & Seven Wonders Loop
This is one of the cooler hikes I’ve ever been on. I genuinely had a blast and this is a must-add to your Valley of Fire itinerary in my opinion. This hike alone makes Valley of Fire worth seeing!
This is an awesome loop trail that you get to see SO MUCH geological variation on. The hike itself is considered moderate, but I didn’t find it very physically strenuous at all. You just need to be prepared with sun protection, plenty of water, and good, stable hiking shoes.
I also 150% recommend using AllTrails and upgrading to Pro so you can download the trail before going out. It can be easy to get off-trail and get lost; I helped so many people who were lost on the trail while I was there. This is a definite recommend for any of the Valley of Fire trails!
On this hike I hiked through slot canyons, onto bright red rocks, through desert sand, and so much more. That’s what made this my favorite of the Valley of Fire trails I explored; there’s just so much variation in such a short hike! An absolute must-add to your Valley of Fire itinerary, whether you’re there for a day or three.
Natural Arch & Elephant Rock
If you have the time or energy after hiking these amazing Valley of Fire trails, check out these cool rock formations. They’re both super easy walks. I only visited Natural Arch and while it’s not the biggest or most impressive arch in the southwest, it’s still a magnificent natural spectacle.
So, if you’ve got the time, check them out. If you don’t, dropping them from your one day Valley of Fire itinerary is absolutely not the end of the world.
Enjoy a Quick Sunset Before Being Kicked Out
All I did was find a parking lot heading west from Natural Arch and hang out there until sunset. I walked out onto some nearby rocks and watched the sun set. Then, the ranger came along and hurried everyone back to their cars and out of the park.
It’s a little bit of a bummer but I do understand why the park closes at sundown. It’s for our safety, and it’s important to respect that.
So there you go, my one day itinerary for Valley of Fire. There is so much to do and see there, you’re going to have a blast. Just make sure you’re packed for the weather and prepared, and you’re golden!
As always, follow me on Instagram and TikTok to see what I’m up to in real time. Check out my Vegas Instagram highlight for tons of video during my time there, and reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Happy planning!