Updated: May 17
Valley of Fire State Park, located less than an hour from Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam is Arizona's oldest and largest state park and is absolutely beautiful. There are a bunch of must-see sights in this park, and I would suggest spending at least 2 days here. They do have spaces for tent camping and RV camping, first come, first serve, and they include grills, water, and restrooms. Or you could just stay in a hotel in Vegas, and drive the 45 minutes to the park, up to you. If you are not staying in the park overnight, they promptly (and rudely) kick you out before the sun sets, and if you are camping in the park, you have to stay in your campsite area throughout the night. But enough about all the rules and shit (check out their website for the rest of them), lets talk about some of the stuff you can see inside the park!
The White Domes Trail: This one mile loop hiking trail was my favorite. It had some absolutely gorgeous scenery, plants, and was a pretty easy stroll too. Lots of cool red rocks, orange sand, and neat plants were scattered here. It had a cool slot canyon that you had to walk through, and some arch rocks as well. I did this hike right before the sun set, and it was amazing to see the sky and sun paint the rocks different colors as it set. Also, bathrooms at the trail head. Times spent here: about 1.5 hrs
Beehives: These neat rock formations were one of my first stops when getting into the park. They're very unique (I think formed by wind?) and fun to climb on. They're right off the side of the road, so no need to hike here. Time spent here: 30 mins
Atlatl Rock: Right off the Atlatl rock campground, you'll find some Native American history. Petroglyphs, from around 4,000 years ago, can be clearly seen on a rock which you can view by climbing up a staircase. They are beautifully preserved, and it's very interesting to see the historic artwork. You can also find out why the hell it's called atlatl rock, and what the hell an atlatl is, since some of the drawings include hunters wielding them. Not to brag, but when I was like, 10, I was the National Atlatl Champion of my age group. That's right, I own a bunch of atlatls and spears for no reason, and I'm really good at aiming them. Time spent here: 45 mins
Arch Rock: Just a short drive down the loop road from Atlatl Rock, you'll find Arch Rock. This rock formation (an arch, shocker, I know) is pretty cool to view. This isn't a hike, but more like a quick photo stop off the side of the road. Time spent here: 10 minutes
Petrified Logs Loop: Want to see wood so old it turned into rock but don't want to drive all the way to the Petrified Forest National Park? You're in luck! Check out Petrified Logs loop trail, only 0.3 miles, to see some petrified wood. Pretty neat, but you can't touch em.
Time spent here: 30 mins
Petroglyph Canyon Trail and Mouse's Tank: Different from the previous petroglyphs, this trail is out and back and only 0.8 miles. You can see more petroglyphs along here, as well as a beautiful canyon full of the softest and most red/orange sand I've ever experienced. There are some gorgeous rock formations around you on this hike, and you have the opportunity to climb around and explore a little off the trail here. I really enjoyed this short hike. Time spent here: 2 hours
Pastel (Pink) Canyon Trail: This unmarked canyon in Valley of Fire is stunning. With it's pinkish, swirling walls, it was really gorgeous to explore and take photos here, plus, because it's unmarked, slightly less people. The rocks seem to flow like water from the erosion and the colors are really inspiring, so be sure not to miss this stop. But don't ask any of the workers where to find this spot, because they'll yell at you to "get off the internet" and that it's "not inside the park". I'm not kidding, I asked at the visitors center about this spot, and the old guy told me to get
off the internet and that it wasn't inside the park. Which it is technically inside the bounds of the park, and no, I will not get off the internet. (Seriously though, all the workers here were hella rude.) Time spent here: 1 hour
I barely accomplished all of this stuff listed here in one day, and even got kicked out as the sun was setting. (The sun was legit still technically up, and I was driving out, like what do you want me to do, drive faster??? Put down your damn megaphone.) So I would absolutely try and stay at least one night to give yourself 2 days in this park. And FYI, your National Parks Pass won't get you in here, and I believe it's $15 for a non-Arizona resident to visit for the day. Absolutely worth it to visit though, despite the rude staff and fees, I would go back here again in a heartbeat. Also, this park isn't too far away from my all-time favorite hike, Arizona Hot Springs, which you can read about here.