This blog post combines to separate half-day trips, but if you start in the morning, you can pack all this into one full day!
I pass Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada on EVERY Southwest road trip and always told myself I would stop by on the way home if I wasn’t tired… so this time we stopped there at the beginning of our Escalante road trip! I was only there for less than 12 hours, several of which we spent sleeping… but got to see a lot including: the insta-famous Valley of Fire road shot, Fire Wave and Pastel Canyon.
BLM Camping near
Valley of Fire
Camping: We drove in late at night around 3 am (left LA at 10 pm) and pulled out in a free camping area just 6 miles outside the park boundaries. This is the “overflow” camping for Valley of Fire and is close off Valley of Fire Road, but on a dirt road for less than half a mile. There is supposedly a few campsite options but we saw a bunch of RVs, trucks, and vans just pulled over… so we did the same and slept in the car since we planned to be up and about early.
Remember, it’s BLM so there are no campground services here which include toilets, running water, fire pits, etc. Pack it in, pack it out.
Park Entrance Fee: Bring cash if you plan to visit when the kiosk is closed so you can do the self-pay ($10 for entrance, $20 with camping inside park)
MOUSE’S TANK RD
Mouse’s Tank Road.
This insta-famous view can easily be found while driving through the park on Mouse’s Tank Road. This is NOT a hiking trail, nor is it an actual viewpoint! There are pullouts for parking or you can park at Mouse’s Tank trailhead and walk. Cars go flying by so make sure you’re always watching out for that and try to stay off the road when unnecessary. I’m just a hiker that likes to take pretty photos, but for any photographers that want to get a shot without shadows, I’d recommend going early morning or possibly sunset.
Fire Wave: This trail is different than the famous Wave in Arizona. For starter, this hike does not require a permit
Distance: 0.6 miles one way
Conditions/ temps: fully exposed 82-90 degrees when we went late Spring; would not recommend in the summer unless you start super early but the park is only open from sunrise to sunset and I heard they strictly enforce sunset closing…
Elevation: min 1948 ft; max 2114 ft.
There’s also cell phone reception at the parking lot if you find yourself needing it.
Pink Canyon aka Pastel Canyon: It’s a short 5 min walk to see the pink corral canyon, also known as Pastel Canyon. There’s no official trailhead and there’s only a small turnout on both sides on the road that fits 2-3 cars each. From the trailhead, head left and you’ll start to see the colors right away.
There are many places inside the park we did not get to visit as this was only a quick stop on day one of our road trip. Other popular recommendations from my research include: Elephant Rock, Beehives, Mouse’s Tank, White Domes.
For more ideas to extend your road trip within 1.5 hours from Valley of Fire, check out these Utah State Parks in St. George below! Gunlock State Park was our next destination and highly recommended right now because it’s the first time the water has flowed (& is currently still flowing) in YEARS!