My annual fall trek to Texas began with an overnight in Fresno to visit friends T and R, along with darling grandsons, one of whom was celebrating a birthday! After a quick overnight in Barstow I scraped through Las Vegas traffic to happily turn south to the Muddy Mountains.
Many years ago I read about the Valley of Fire in the AAA Via magazine. It was referred to as a great escape from Las Vegas. And for me it was my second surprise in Nevada this year. (The other being, of course, the Ruby Mountains!)
Valley of Fire was the first and is the biggest of Nevada's State Parks. There's a $10 fee to enter that can be applied to a camp site. Red rock is soon on both sides of the road. The first observation point is at the Bee Hives.
A couple miles into the park on the one road through the valley is the Visitor's Center. It sits against the mountains under these craggy rocks.
There is a short trail from the Visitor's Center to Balancing Rock.
Well past lunch with no shade in sight I went back to the campground for a snack. That was a good choice as I ended up leaving my van in camp and walking the Scenic Route back around to the main road near the entrance station. It's a dirt road, but very few visitors that day, so no problems with dust or traffic. The rocks were spectacular and I took many beautiful pics.
There are two campgrounds. One is developed with showers and electric hook-ups. It was maybe half full. I choose primitive camping with only two other rigs.
This is the road through the primitive camp.
I tried to choose a camp protected from the wind, but was rocking and rolling most of the night.
Back to camp after my hike it was time to explore the rest of the park before dark. A mile or so past the VC is a feature called the Seven Sisters. Several of the sisters were busy with a wedding party, but I did get to see these two.
It was hard to believe, but as the sunset got lower in the sky the rocks actually got brighter. This is looking east from a ridge near some petrified logs.
Up and over another ridge on the far east side of the Valley goes the Arrowhead Trail, now the main road through the park.
It was almost too dark to photograph Elephant Rock. Next time I will know to get there a few minutes earlier.
In contrast to the vivid red of the park sunset, looking over to Lake Mead the clouds took on a lovely pink hue. It was time for me to make tracks back to my camp; I made it just at dark!
(BTW, Valley of Fire would be a great winter time escape from Tuolumne County by driving over Tehachapi)