How to Visit Valley of Fire State Park in One Day

Only have one day for this day trip from Las Vegas? Not a problem! Here you will find out how to see the best sights within Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada in only one day! Bonus of where to take the best photos while you’re there.

This stunning, red rock wonderland is only about an hour drive from the popular city of Las Vegas. If you’re here for only a few days and need a break from the bar hopping and casinos, I highly recommend checking out this geologic playground. Fun fact: Valley of Fire is Nevada’s largest and oldest state park.

Alright so let’s jump into this adventure! We started our trip by getting here at sunrise, and while that’s not necessary, I do believe it’s the best option to have less crowds! Especially if you want photos at the Instagram famous location on Mouse Tank Road, like this picture here.

Admission Information:

  • $10 for in-state vehicles, $15 for out of state vehicles
  • If you get there at sunrise, the park is open but there won’t be guards at the gate yet. There is a pull off immediately to the right where you can either pay by cash or card. Please do this! We saw so many people just ride by it.
  • The park does close at sunset, only campers are allowed in the park past that time.
  • The visitors center is open from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

What to bring with you to Valley of Fire State Park:

  • Water, water, water!! Can not stress this enough. If you’re not sure you have enough, bring more.
  • Comfortable shoes! There’s plenty of hiking here to check out. A lot of trails are sandy, just keep that in mind.
  • Drones are not allowed! While that is unfortunate, please respect it.
  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses – protect yourself from the harsh sun!
  • A full tank of gas! The closest gas station outside of the park was charging $8/gallon. No joke! Fill up in Vegas before you head out.
  • Fellow dog parents – dogs are allowed on a leash! However, temps can get really high here and most trails are not shaded, so be careful of course.

Alright, let’s get into it shall we?!

1. Mouse Tank Road

The famous Instagram spot that I’m sure you’ve seen a million times and for good reason! Because it is so popular, I recommend making this your first spot. We got here right at sunrise and shortly after there was a couple of other people stopping here for the same iconic photos!

We parked on the side of the road right before the Rainbow Vista trailhead. Getting here at sunrise will also ensure that there won’t be as many vehicles in your background!

Pro tip: A zoom lens would be useful here, zooming in as much as possible in order for the mountains to appear closer and then standing far away from the camera. We used my 85mm prime lens as I don’t own a zoom at this time. Also, be sure to underexpose so the back mountains are visible!

Alternatively, I suggest getting the angle from above. There was a boulder that was easy to climb up and allowed for some creativity.

And lastly, getting the road shot from up above!

2. Fire Wave

Next on the list is the Fire Wave! This is labeled as Parking Lot #3 on Mouse Tank Road. This hike is 1.5 miles, out and back. This easy trail It will take you maybe 15 minutes or so to get out to the various hues of red zebra striped rocks.

Pro Tip: Get that wide angle view!

3. White Domes Trail

My favorite location in Valley of Fire because it has a stunning slot canyon!!

Eeeekkkkk! I was obsessed with this location. We had so much fun taking photos in here! You can find these on the White Domes Trail, which is the last trail on Mouse Tank Road. The very sandy hike is a 1.1 mile loop trail that is fairly easy. The beginning of this hike does descend down into the canyon, with a little rock scrambling and is a little steep.

You will find these slot canyons about halfway through the loop. I suggest taking photos from both sides as the lighting will be different (as you can see from the above photo and the below photos), both make for awesome instagram photos though! There are definitely other epic locations on this trail but we had brunch reservations and had to be out of the park by 1100.

We were able to do these 3 spots within 4 hours and even though there are plenty of other beautiful spots to check out, I think these are probably the most famous locations in the park!

Have you been here? If you’re heading that way, let me know what trails you’re eager to check out!

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Kristen Noel Photography

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