Fire Wave: An Amazing Natural Wonder Near Las Vegas

I’ve always wanted to go the famous “The Wave” in Arizona. But after finding out that there’s a crazy permit process that requires a daily lottery system to dispense only ten next–day permits in person at the Kanab Visitor Center, I gave up on the idea. I later found out that Fire Wave located at Valley of State Park is nearly similar to “The Wave” and it’s just an hour drive away from Las Vegas!

Fire Wave stripes
The swirling red sandstone stripes of Fire Wave

It was a coincidence that my aunt found an article in a travel magazine about the Fire Wave and she told me that she would like to take me there. So after several nights of playing Roulette and Black Jack at Las Vegas Strip, we decided to break the routine and just go for a day of adventure at the Fire Wave!

Valley of Fire State Park is considered the oldest and largest state park in Nevada covering an area of almost 46,000 acres. For this day trip, we are only discovering a portion of the Valley of Fire State Park, which is the Fire Wave.

How to Get to the Valley of Fire State Park

Prickly Pears
A variety of cactus species like Prickly Pears can be found around the Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire is in the Mojave Desert around 53 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. In your GPS, set the destination to 29450 Valley of Fire Road Overton, Nevada 89040.

If coming from the Las Vegas Strip,  take the I-15 North which is 37.2 miles. Take Exit 75 and head East going to Valley of Fire / Lake Mead. Drive approximately 15.3 miles on Valley of Fire Highway to the West Entrance Station. You will reach in around 55 minutes.

Entrance Fee

Entrance fee is $10 per vehicle and only $8 per vehicle if you are a Nevada resident. There’s also a $1 discount on the entrance fee for an individual who holds a disability placard. If you plan to visit more often, I suggest you get the annual permit for $75. 

Grab a map at the entrance. You will need it.

Visitor Center

Valley of Fire State Park's Visitor Center
Valley of Fire State Park’s Visitor Center

Upon reaching the West Entrance, drive another 3.5 miles and turn left towards the Visitor Center. It is worth a quick stop at the Visitor Center. The exhibit inside is informative so you could have a background on the ecology, geology, prehistory and history of the park. Drinking water, postcards, books, and souvenirs are available for sale. There are also park rangers that will answer your park-related questions. You can have an updated weather conditions before the hike too.

The Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm while the rest of the park closes at sunset.

Trail near the Visitor Center
Another trail near the Visitor Center

How to Get to the Fire Wave Trailhead

The Fire Wave Trail is a newer trail in the Valley of Fire State Park and it does not appear on some of the park maps.

From the Visitor Center, drive another 4.2 miles along White Domes Road / Mouse’s Tank Road towards the White Domes Loop. But before reaching White Domes Loop, look for Parking Lot #3 on your left after passing by Parking Lot #1 and #2. The trailhead is across the road from the Parking Lot #3.

Difficulty Level

Level of difficulty of the hike is easy. It is just a short hike of 1.2 miles back and forth.

Hiking at Fire Wave
Easy hike with my adventurous aunt
Easy hike to Fire Wave
My uncle leading the way to Fire Wave
Fire Wave Trail
The trail to Fire Wave

Fire Wave Trail

Gibraltar Rock
Gibraltar Rock

The beginning part of the trail is on soft sand. But approaching the Gibraltar Rock, the sand gets more packed so walking is easier. 

Gibraltar Rock in Valley of Fire State Park
The trail around the Gibraltar Rock leading to the Fire Wave

Go around the Gibraltar Rock from the right side and just follow the markers leading to the Fire Wave. Navigation is easy as the entire trail is well marked with reflector posts. Please follow these markers to protect sensitive areas and for safety reasons.

Near the Fire Wave
Almost there
Striped rocks
Striped rocks

Reaching the Fire Wave

The more you get closer to the Fire Wave, the more you get excited. The sandstone formations throughout the trail are spectacular but once you see the swirling red and white sandstone stripes in the rock at the end of the trail, you will be in awe!

Fire Wave
The Fire Wave
Closer look of the Fire Wave
Closer look of the Fire Wave

Complex uplifting, faulting and erosion, have created this natural wonder. I just couldn’t help but take loads of photos of this stunning place.

Fire Wave colors
The colorful waves in the rock
Striped layers of rock
Striped layers of rock
Impressive Fire Wave
Really impressive Fire Wave
Reaching Fire Wave
Reaching the picturesque Fire Wave with my uncle, Tito Boy, and my aunt, Tita Edith
Fire Wave Trail
On our way back

Best Time to Go

End of the Fire Wave trail
End of the Fire Wave trail

The hike to the Fire Wave is best during winter, early spring and late fall. Just avoid summer as there is no shade along the trail so it could be really hot.

Other Points of Interest

Dogs at Fire Wave
Pets are allowed in the park but must be kept on a leash of not more than six feet. They are not allowed in the Visitor Center.

There’s a lot to see in the Valley of Fire State Park. Other trails that you could hike are:

  • White Domes Loop (1.0 mi)
  • Old Arrowhead Road (6.8 mi)
  • Natural Arches (2.5 mi)
  • Petrified Logs Loop (0.3 mi)
  • Rainbow Vista (1.0 mi)
  • Prospect Trail (4.6 mi)
  • Elephant Rock Loop (1.2 mi)
  • Balancing Rock (0.1 mi)
  • Charlie’s Spring (4.7 mi)
  • Mouse’s Tank (0.7 mi)
  • Pinnacles Loop (4.5 mi)

Fire Wave is a real geologic wonderland. A photographer’s haven. However, Valley of Fire State Park is very underrated. Many don’t know about this, not even locals. Now, what are you waiting for?


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One thought on “Fire Wave: An Amazing Natural Wonder Near Las Vegas

  1. Wow!!! I can say, your love of nature is so magnetic that will inspire everyone even older people like me. I can’t wait to share this with all my friends. If I made it, everyone can. With a complete gear of hat, lots of sunscreen lotion and a comfortable shoes, I’am sure my senior friends will all make it. Good job! Waiting for your next vacation here. God Bless.

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