Las Vegas’ Hidden Natural Wonder: Valley of Fire State Park
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Valley of Fire State Park is nothing like the bustling life of Las Vegas as it stays true to its nature. On the day of my visit, tourism was scarce. One may conclude that life ceases to exist there as harsh temperatures take over the entire valley. Still, my partner and I ventured off to the unknown as the sun rose to its peak not caring whether it kills or scorches hiking novices. But the heatwave didn’t hinder our wandering spirits as we stood astounded by the incredible hues of red. Truly, one may attest that the valley is on fire.
Why is the Valley of Fire Red?
Like myself, many might’ve wondered the genesis of its color. The red sandstone formation began millions of years ago with numerous shifting of sand dunes along with faulting around the region. In addition to that, considerable erosion is the reason for such an awe-inspiring landscape.
1. Elephant Rock doesn’t disappoint as the rock formation looks similar to the animal. This landmark is close to the exit going towards Lake Mead, and drivers would pass it on their side of the window. However, for those who has never seen Elephant Rock, it is easily missed as it blends so well with neighboring rocks. It’s a very short hike from the parking lot which only took about ten minutes for us to do. To get a better view it, a bit of scrambling is necessary.
2. Seven Sisters is a group of red, eroded boulders that is now surrounded by the sandy desert. A nearby formation once united these boulders, but relentless erosion and forces shred away its deposits. It’s predicted that, hundred of years from now, the Seven Sisters will cease to exist.
3. The Beehives is the first landmark that tourists will encounter, and it’s unique in its geological design. Each layer is a sample of geologic cross bedding, and every grooved line is going in numerous directions. As such, the bed represents different layers of residue that are deposited at various times.
Life in the Valley of Fire
One may attest that life doesn’t exist in such harsh conditions as temperatures go as high as 100s on the summer time. Still, brittlebush, burro bush, creosote bush and a variety of cacti thrive there. On my hike to Elephant Rock, a beautiful lizard was spotted underneath a bush filled with curiosity. Though plants seem to dominate this valley, animal activity is present and wild.
4 Things I Learned While I Was There
- It is incredibly hot! Embarking on a trip to Valley of Fire without water is dangerous especially on a hot summer day. The sun shows no mercy as the heat took over my entire body. Shade is scarce, and dehydration is inevitable.
- Embracing silence. When you live in the city, it’s easy to forget what silence is like. White noise from the refrigerator, cars, tv, and other industrial products make it difficult to stay in tune with one’s thought. Upon my visit, there were spots that were less traveled, and the silence was immense.
- The valley is photo worthy. Still, there’s nothing like seeing it in front of you to really appreciate its formation. Nature has truly outdone herself here.
- Appreciate the company. I was in good company when I was visiting Valley of Fire. Besides being one with nature, there’s nothing like spending it with those you care about to appreciate the day.
- Entrance Fee will be collected at the time of arrival.
- Picnic areas are available. I suggest going to the Seven Sisters because it’s excellent regarding shade.
- Camping is available for a fee.
- Visitors information is open with a full overview of the park. Souvenirs are also on sale for everyone’s convenience.
- Hiking is suggested, but many of the landmarks are within walking distance from the road. I highly recommend checking with an expert to see which trails they suggest for the weather as they can be different in terrain and difficulties.
|Elephant Rock after a small hike to the top.|
|Two boulders from the Seven Sisters.|
|An image of the Beehives.|
|Different layers represent several directions of formation found on the Beehives.|
|Plant and cacti dominate life on the valley.|
|Different types of bushes can be found all throughout the Valley of Fire.