We have electricity, and water, no sewer, no cell phone coverage, and no computers. We do have a view. We are at Valley of Fire for the rest of the week. The view from our front window. Our friends Patti and Joel are in the RV in front of us.
In the summer — Hot!
I had seen the sign on Interstate 15 for the Valley of Fire, Nevada State Park every time I traveled I-15 and always wondered — what could be down there that would be good enough for a state park. The sign generally points toward the north end of Lake Mead and given that it was usually summer when I was there, that the name referred, most likely to the temperature, that you would expect to find in that location. In the summer — Hot!
I also knew that in that area, Lake Mead flooded multiple settlements along the Colorado River. As the waters rose after the completion of the Hoover Dam, huge farms and even towns were submerged. Perhaps, Valley of Fire referred to the view of the flooded valley. I was guessing, I didn’t know what was down there. This was also before instant answers on the internet, so if you hadn’t been there, you probably wouldn’t know.
First State Park in Nevada
Interstate 15 going north of Valley of Fire is nice enough assuming you are entertained by the high desert. Nothing there that would inspire me to stop –nothing here that would make you believe that anything special was about twenty miles to the south. But Nevada did make it their very first state park, so I assumed that it would be at least above average. Well to the east, past Mesquite, the Virgin River area, I-15 cuts through a very dramatic canyon. Valley of Fire – not named Canyon of Fire held a mystique that I just had to see. When I found out that they had a campground at Valley of Fire my interest spiked.
Valley of fire is huge and the number one feature is red sandstone. There are hundreds if not thousands of interesting sandstone features in the park. There are sandstone sand dunes from 150 million years ago, sandstone cliffs, sandstone that after it was laid down, tilted and folded due to geologic activity and petroglyphs carved up to two thousand years ago into the sandstone. The place is a photographer’s dream. It is also inhabited by desert bighorn sheep. We found the herd near the southeast entrance near the visitor center.
My initial assessment of the place being hot was not inaccurate, but not the reason for the name. The shimmer of light coming from the sandstone formations was the reason for the name. (I assume the red sandstone was the fire and the shimmer was the smoke above the fire.) Temperatures greater than 100F have been recorded between April and October; but for us, the weather was great. Temperatures typically exceed 100F daily during June – September. The camping was comfortable. Low temperatures were in the high 40F range at night. You can predict January temperatures by subtracting ten degrees from my March experience.
First Come – First Serve
You can’t see Lake Mead from the Valley of Fire State Park; it is more of a standalone destination. Camping sites were adequate but not ample. When we were there, first-come-first-serve was the order of the day. We arrived early on Monday morning and wandered the campground identifying the sites that would fit, which were empty and which would empty and were successful finding two spots, one for ourselves and one for our friends before 11 am. The campground filled each day – early. There is free boon-docking outside the park to the north which was our backup plan if we were not successful.
Here is a link to the google map for the area.
Link to our route Las Vegas to New Mexico
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