Valley of Fire, Spring Break 2012

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I lava it!!!
Jan 19, 2012
Valley of Fire, Spring Break 2012

I've been to Valley of Fire a few years ago and somehow it wasn't very appealing to me. I think the bad waetehr was the reason, because with grey skies nothing looks really interesting.
So I blamed my negative experiences with the park to the weather and that was it. But somehow I wanted to go back and give that little park another try. And that's exactly what I did during my Spring Break this year. After a few days in Snow Canyon and the Red Cliffs area and a backpacking season opener in Zion NP I headed down south to Nevada and finally reached the park later in the morning.
My first surprise was the long line of cars waiting at the entrance booth. Holy cow!!
It went surprisingly fast to get past the booth and I decided to secure a camp spot first. AtlAtl Camp was almost filled up and the sight of all those RVs packed close together wasn't what I wanted, so I headed to Arch Rock campground. I found a neat little spot for my little tent and the next site wasn't too close to mine. I really don't like it to be packed too close together on a State campground, one reason I prefer camping in the wild.

I set up camp and then headed out to explore the park a little bit. I had nothing special in mind, I just wanted to see and explore by myself.
My first stop was at the Beehives area, it was nice but way to crowded. I passed the Visitor Center and headed toward the Rainbow Vista viewpoint. There was a little trail and I began to explore the area. The first desert marigold were in bloom and now and then I discovered nice accumulations of cacti and even Cholla Cacti.

I turned onto the graded dirt road to the Fire Canyon Overlook and explored it a little bit by myself .

I also discovered a Chuckwalla which was hiding between some rocks.

And a very friendly looking snake :)

Back on the main road I stopped almost every hundred yards and walked cross country to explore.
The mix of red, yellow and orange sandstone was so awesome and even the cacti seem to love it, because they all appear in a heart shape. :)

Eventually I made it to the White Domes trailhead and decided to do a little bit of hiking. Unfortunately the sun was gone due to some high clouds but the hike was nice anyway.
I passed some old ruins of a former movie set and headed to the little slot canyon.

Too bad I forgot my tripod in my car, otherwise the would have done some fun shots of myself hanging on the canyon walls. And there was definitely no place to lay down my camera.
I also passed an arch and finally the sun came back and lit the sandstone with nice warm colors.

On my way back to my camp I stopped again for exploration and found a few more arches embedded in the sandstone. They were really everywhere.

Arch Rock was next to the campground and I stopped there as well, because it was glowing in warm colors by the setting sun.

Sunset at my campsite

I waited until it was late enough and the traffic to the campground ceased and tried to do some star trails.

Air traffic in Southern Nevada really sucks, but anyway, it was nice to play around with my camera and thanks to Nick's nice manual I was able to get some decent shots.
The next morning I was too lazy to go somewhere for sunrise shots and had a late start today.
I decided to hike cross country today, because yesterday I saw some really nice areas I was intested in. I parked a mile after the Rainbow Vista viewpoint and began to hike through the desert. There were footsteps everywhere so I wasn't the first one with that idea.

At least I tried to avoid to destroy the fragile desert soil and criss-crossed the area in a funny pattern due to the appearance of slickrock.
I also found some weird rock formations and they were everywhere.

Again there were a lot of high clouds in the sky that covered the sky most of the time.
And the views were simply awesome.

I also found some nice and impressive barrel cacti and there was some real craziness with all the mixed sandstone patterns mixed together.

Eventually I reached the popular Fire Wave which wasn't planned to visit during my cross country hike. Anway, it was nice to stop by and I took some shots.

To the east of the Fire Wave were a few little canyons and discovered a tiny arch next to one of it.
I retraced some of my steps and decented into a wash which lead to the road again.

I wasn't ready to call it a day and decided to explore to area on the other side of the road.
So I followed the wash a while and finally the landscape became more rugged and intesting.

There was a little of scrambling involved and I discovered a lot of small and bigger arches.

The canyon narrowed and even a tiny slot section was there to cross. And again arches everywhere and very dramatic changes in the appearance of the landscape.
Finally the canyon opened up a bit.

During the highest point of the hike I stood atop of the sandstone cliffs and the view was so awesome.

The last half of a mile I hiked the desert lowlands again and finally reached my car.
Originally I had planned to go back to the Fire Wave for sunset, but I was too lazy for that and so I just stopped along a few spots on my way back to camp and took some
pictures. I did another star Trail that night.

Because I woke up early the next morning I took some sunrise shot at my campsite.

Even without visiting all the typical locations someone usually does in Valley of Fire I've seen a lot and really enjoyed my visit there. And I will definitely coming back in the further future,because there is still so much I left out I would love to see.
It was an amazing trip and this little park is definitely worth another visit.

Featured image slideshow:

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Feb 23, 2012
Great pictures.
I never knew this place existed until I started seeing trip reports on backcountrypost. I need to find a reason to go and take a look.


Jan 17, 2012
awesome shots! I love that place, and hope to spend a little more time there on my trip out in October.

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