Thursday, March 8, 2012

Valley of Fire ~ Nevada State Park

We had heard of the Valley of Fire but really knew nothing other than it sounded like a wonderful place to visit with my camera.  It is located 80 km (50 mi) southeast of Las Vegas so after a visit in that city and an invitation from friends, we headed out for a couple of days to see the Valley of Fire.

Valley of Fire in Nevada
The Valley of Fire, named for the color of the rock at sunrise and sunset, is the oldest and largest Nevada State Park at 34,880 acres and was established in 1935.  There is a 16.9 km (10.5 mi) scenic road that connects the east and west entrances and offers many incredible sights along the way.  It is easy to understand why it has been the location of many movies over the years. 
Campground in Valley of Fire
The park offers 72 campsites at two locations, some sites include power and all sites have covered tables, grills and water. We had a great spot and suggest you arrive early in the day to get a spot to camp, it is a first come basis but they are really all good ones. 
I see a dog face profile in the rocks
The rocks have been formed since dinosaur days and their shapes are caused by relentless forces of erosion.  The formations of sand dunes and sandstone are 150 million years old and continue to change over time.
Formations and color of the Valley of Fire
Surface rocks have been pushed several miles from where they began and forces from within the earth kept changing the landscape over the years. Erosion has resulted in several canyons and sharp angular layers above. 
An old laughing toothless face
The sand grains that form the sandstone shapes we see are almost pure silica with the red color caused by small quantities of iron which produce the rust-like stain.  This gives a great variation in colors and the red lights up when the early morning and evening sun hits them. 
Petroglyphs found in several locations of Valley of Fire
 The petroglyphs, are the pictures that the ancient natives would draw on the rock to tell their story.  No one is real sure about what they all mean but it is interesting to speculate  about the symbols.  The atlatl, a throwing stick or dart thrower used in ancient times was likely their hunting tool and was often shown.   
Cabins in Valley of Fire
These cabins were built shortly after the park officially became a state park, for visitors to stay in on their travels through here.  Native sandstone was used and each one has a fireplace inside for warming up those cold desert nights. 
Blow holes in rock formations of Valley of Fire
All those hollow places are called blow holes and will eventually cause destruction that will take hundreds of years to happen.  That means we will be able to enjoy these beautiful sights for all of our lifetime and many to follow. 
Our view from the campsite
 Our visit was brief but we did get to see the sights of the Valley of Fire in all her glory.Our days were sunny and the sun was warm and we enjoyed every moment.  There are several hiking opportunities and they have a schedule for events happening in the park that one might want to check out for a visit.  
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1 comment:

  1. Love Valley of Fire - we have been there a few times and enjoy walking through all the various rock formations. A great place to unwind.



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