Entry into Valley of Fire State Park is easily the best $10 we have spent this year. I posted about our Bowl of Fire hike the other day and how incredibly cool all the red sandstone rocks and canyons are. Valley of Fire is the same and I’m still impressed. We got an early start and had the place to ourselves. First we hiked the Pinnacles and then we hiked up into the jungle of red rocks behind The Cabins. The Pinnacles hike was 5.4 miles and we didn’t record The Cabins freehike but it was easily 3 or 4 more miles.
Valley of Fire State Park is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. It was dedicated in 1935 and covers 34,880 acres. Why is it named the Valley of Fire? Once you see it, or see photos, you’ll have your answer! The red sandstone Formations were created during the age of dinosaurs, 150 million years ago, from sand dunes that shifted. This shifting, along with lots of erosion combined with uplifting and faults, created the uniquely shaped formations that make up the Valley of Fire State Park. Many of the rock formations also include limestone, shale, and conglomerates.
The hike for Pinnacles starts up a gravely wash and it looks impossible that the mountains in the distance could be hiding such a cool landscape. Lo and behold, after about 2 miles we rounded a corner and BAM there stood a whole jungle of red pinnacles and boulders, cliffs and towering walls. We climbed around and explored a lot here, marveling at the beauty. After hiking through the entire pinnacle area, we continued around into the wash on the other side to complete the loop. The “trail” is marked with little signs all the way to the pinnacles but once you’re there it is choose your own adventure. We didn’t see any people this entire hike!
The Cabins Freehike
Our next hike was at The Cabins. There are 3 rock cabins in the Valley of Fire State Park, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. The Cabins were built using native sandstone to shelter weary travelers. Now they are being preserved as a reminder to the great work of the CCC and this is a picnic area. We snapped a picture but kept going past the cabins and hiked up into the rocky canyon behind them. Honestly, you could hike around in this place for as long as you wanted, it just keeps going and going. We plan to be back another day to visit some more of the feature areas.