Lake Mead and the Valley of Fire State Park

Tuesday morning 5/20/14 we figured would be a good day to take a drive around Lake Mead so after packing a lunch and loading Jack in the Jeep we headed off.

The entrance fee into the park is $10 per vehicle however with the old fart pass we entered for free.

I had planned on an easy leisurely day around the lake with a few stops at overlooks and day use areas. And that is the way the day started with me pulling into every pullout I saw looking out over the lake and taking pictures. But we had no idea the actual Lake Mead Recreational area was so vast!

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Diane had a map of the area and kept pointing to a road called North Shore Road and at the end of the road was the Valley of Fire State Park just outside of the Lake Mead Recreational Area. OK,, we just kept working that way slowly until we worked our way away from the actual lake and found ourselves winding through some very colorful rock formations on a pretty lonely and peaceful road, still stopping here and there for photos until we happened across a spot with a short ½ mile hike that also turned out to be a great spot for a bite to eat.

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While enjoying the peace and quiet of our lunch spot we took a better look at the map and realized the drive to Valley of Fire State Park was a little over 60 miles!! Hmm, a little farther than I had figured our drive would be for the day. And that was just TO the park. I’m glad I stopped and fueled up before we left. And I’m glad we decided to bring Jack along because the day was bound to be a little longer than originally planned LOL!!

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We continued our drive but at a little faster pace with a few less walks towards the state park until we exited the Lake Mead Recreational Area and almost immediately entered the state park. Our old fart pass wasn’t honored at the state park so we paid our $10 entry fee at the honor system booth and moved on.

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Valley of Fire State Park is 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas and is the largest state park in Nevada.

The Valley of Fire got its name from the red sandstone formations, formed from shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs, 150 million years ago. Complex uplifting and faulting of the region, followed by extensive erosion, have created the landscape.

At the top of those stairs are a few petroglyphs. Who ever put them there put forth some effort.

At the top of those stairs are a few petroglyphs. Who ever put them there put forth some effort.

Diane is almost to the top of the stairs to check out the petroglyphs.

Diane is almost to the top of the stairs to check out the petroglyphs.

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We stopped at about every observation area and point of interest in the park. And at the end of the day we had well over 100 photos, hmmm, imagine that, me taking so many pictures LOL!!

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Remember, you can click on the picture to enlarge it.

Remember, you can click on the picture to enlarge it.

That's called the Beehive rocks.

That’s called the Beehive rocks.

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Well obviously you can only look at so many pictures of colorful rocks so we will try to limit what we put you though here on the blog LOL!!

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These petroglyphs are along the Mouse's Tank trail.

These petroglyphs are along the Mouse’s Tank trail.

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The park is a great place to visit and if we didn’t have Jack with us we certainly would have hiked a lot more trails. Dogs are allowed on the trails in the park but it was a bit warm so we only felt comfortable taking him on a couple short hikes.

Diane and I took turns doing a couple more trails while the other waited in the Jeep with Jack. It’s not a perfect world but it’s better than not doing them at all. Old Jack doesn’t like the longer hikes any longer, especially in heat. And we ended up being gone close to 9 hours so leaving Jack alone was not an option. We do what we have to for things to work.

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Once we completed our visit at the park we had a choice. Backtrack the way we came through the Lake Mead Recreational Area or continue on through an area we had not seen. The obvious would be to go a way we had not gone before. However I just knew that if we went back the way we came we would have light hitting the mountains from a different angle creating new views. And now that we know what we do we would have retraced our path!!

Instead we decided to take the path less traveled,,, by us anyway but we soon figured out that everyone else took that path. It took us to the freeway and then through Las Vegas before spitting us out on the Boulder City side and eventually home.

So, if you ever find yourself staying in Boulder City and end up in the Valley of Fire State Park and need to get back to Boulder City go back through the Lake Mead Recreational Area. You will thank us LOL!!

Our casual low key day turned into a road trip of over 120 miles, much of it on roads with a speed limit of 35 to 45mph. It was a great day. I would like to go back to the Valley of Fire State Park and camp at the campground inside the park. It might be a bit interesting getting there in a rig our size but the park itself would certainly hold it. There are a few sites with electric and water hookups which would be great for leaving Jack while we went hiking.

Sorry if the pictures just look like one rock after another LOL! Sort of reminds me of when we visited City of Rocks and I must have taken 200 pictures of, well rocks LOL!!

After a long day we just didn’t feel like cooking so we headed to a place rated as one of the best places in Boulder City to eat by Trip Advisor called Southwest Diner. It wasn’t bad but I liked the upbeat atmosphere of Jack and Diane’s where we ate the other day a bit better.

After dinner we headed home to relax the rest of the evening. Another great day!!

Wednesday we plan to tour the Hoover Dam. Come on back and check it out.

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8 Responses to Lake Mead and the Valley of Fire State Park

  1. colibabas says:

    You shouldn’t have any issues getting your rig into Valley of Fire Dave. We’re 66′ and stayed there last fall. Looks like you had another awesome day!
    Safe travels

  2. Don’t be sorry about posting a lot of pictures of rocks. I have the tendency to do the same thing when it comes to “vista” shots. I enjoy seeing pictures of an area into which I haven’t been. Even though Jack is getting older, I’ll bet he enjoyed being with the two of you rather than being left at home.

    • Dave & Diane says:

      Jack likes his den in the back of the jeep. That’s HIS area with his bed and bag of toys. He is funny at times after we take him for a long ride or a really ling hike (for him) and we get him home and then get ready to leave again he will simply NOT look at us. It’s almost like he is thinking, if I don’t look at them they won’t see me and will leave me here, LOL! Other wise he will be up and at the door waiting on us when we are getting ready to leave like he is saying,, don’t forget me. Body language.

  3. Spectacular! Can’t wait until we are there to explore.

  4. spurandgair says:

    Nice! Stay safe 🙂

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