More Fire

Last week we began exploring the Valley of Fire State Park in southern Nevada. Today we’ll hike just a little deeper into the park and visit a few more sandstone formations, and one that may remind you of a more iconic desert Southwest location.

On the north end of the park is a beautiful loop trail through what is known as the White Domes Area. There are multiple parking areas throughout this region that provide good views, but the best way to experience the White Domes is to hike the loop trail at the north end of the road. The White Domes trail takes the hiker on a 1.25 mile scenic trail through a slot canyon, and features sandstone formations with brilliant contrasting colors.

The White Dome Trail, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Along the White Dome Trail, in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada.

But the crown jewel of the park is the Fire Wave. No, this is not the famous “Wave” – that one is actually in Utah, and is certainly more dramatic. But the Fire Wave is beautiful in its own right, and is certainly worth a visit. Just across from the White Domes area, the hike to the Fire Wave takes about an hour, round-trip. As with many desert hikes, this one is not recommended in hot weather! In fact, I found dawn to be the perfect time to venture out onto this trail.

Fire Wave, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

A beautiful sandstone landscape awaits hikers at the end of the Fire Wave Trail, in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada.

The trail brings the hiker not so much to a single point, but to an area of interesting slickrock formations that beg to be explored. These outcroppings of smooth, weathered sandstone have interchanging streaks of beige and red-orange. Slickrock is said to have gotten its name because it is dangerous to horses wearing iron shoes. Horses have a tendency to slip and fall when crossing slickrock, especially at high speeds. And it can have the same effect on hikers if they’re not careful!

Fire Wave Landscape, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Slickrock has interchanging streaks of beige and red-orange colored sandstone, in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada.

After exploring the area a bit more, it was time to move on to my next campsite. I hadn’t planned to go further south into California, but the wildflower reports I was getting were too tempting to miss. So next week we’ll see what the state parks in California have to offer!

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