Just on the outskirts of Cascadia is another hiker’s haven. It is aptly named Valley of Fire because the site literally looks on fire on a hot, sunny day. It is located in Overton, Nevada, just 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, and boasts of a range of rock formations including crimson red sandstone spires, stunning arches, and oddly-shaped boulders.
Valley of Fire is a destination in and of itself, in that making a trip to Nevada for the sole purpose of trekking the valley is wholly worth it. The valley has several hiking trails, and taking any one of them is a great way to explore the area. A word of caution, though: The sun’s unforgiving heat will bear down on you, so be sure to dress accordingly. Take lots of water, too!
Your first order of business when visiting should be to make a stop at the visitor center. There you can find all the information you’d ever need to make the most of your trekking experience. Strike up a conversation with the rangers and view the relevant displays; talk to everyone in the center in the effort to figure out which trail is best for you. Generally speaking, Fire Wave Hike is commonly recommended, and we tend to agree that it’s a good option to start with. The trail covers a distance of just 1.2 miles, meaning it’s relatively easy and takes an hour or two at the most. The views, as on any other trail in the area, are striking, with vistas of colorful, oddly-shaped rock formations greeting you at seemingly every turn. Again, a word of caution: You’ll be walking on sand in some portions, and that can be exhausting. Additionally, remember that rocks radiate he
at; prepare for a scorching trek.
For a shorter and even easier hike, there’s Mouse’s Tank. It covers less than a mile, and is generally a flat trek all the way through. As you walk along the trail, you’ll see an array of petroglyphs. These are images created on the surface of a rock via carving or incising. These images date back to the days of the Anasazi people, who occupied the area thousands of years ago. Chances are you won’t be able to figure out what the images mean, but you should still take time to actually look at them. Do so and you’ll be able to gain at least a modicum of insight into the Anasazi way of life. After this, follow the trail straight ahead and you’ll be greeted by – what else? – the Mouse’s Tank. It is a natural water catchment area (though in dry spells water isn’t always present).
The trails just mentioned are only two of several in Valley of Fire. But they make for a good sampling, and as mentioned you can always find additional recommendations at the visitor center.
Another perk of a hiking destination like Valley of Fire is that once you’er done, you can make a detour to Las Vegas and enjoy the sights and sounds there as a means of unwinding from your natural excursion. For some, that will mean taking advantage of the games of chance that are at the heart of Las Vegas. Nevada remains one of two U.S. states with lenient laws on gaming (the other being New Jersey), which means you can enjoy just about any kind of betting activity that may capture your interest. Whether that means placing a bet on a sporting event and laying in a hotel bed to watch it as you rest your legs, or spending a few hours seated at poker tables is up to you.
Others still might want to emerge from Valley of Fire and enjoy a purely restful experience in Las Vegas, eschewing the gaming opportunities altogether. It is, after all, a city famous for comfortable resorts, extravagant pools, and world-class spas. Particularly if you opt for some of the more strenuous hikes in the valley, a day of pampering at facilities like these can make for a nice (and healthy) treat to wrap up your vacation.
All in all the combination of natural beauty, hiking options, and convenient ways to unwind make this a unique and spectacular destination for adventurers.