Valley of Fire State Park

Road Trip: From Las Vegas to Zion National Park via Valley of Fire

Road Trips

This post is part of a series: Exploring the parks of the Southwest.

After a week of Vegas life and work, getting up at 6 today was pretty easy, even if it was a Sunday. With a quick breakfast complements of the Hyatt Place, I jumped on the road and discovered the rest of the city apparently still sleeping off Saturday night. While the 15 takes you the whole way and is unavoidable for the most part, I opted to add an hour of road time and go out through Henderson for a chance to check out the Lake Mead area and Valley of Fire State Park.

Clearing Henderson, it’s immediately a scenic although expected drive. Lake Las Vegas offers some rare water in the middle of the otherwise arid landscape while hills dot the background. But, as you enter Lake Mead area lands, that quickly changes: the hills get much closer and the rocks much more formidable.

Mountains of Lake Mead

Don’t let the name fool you, Lake Mead Recreation area is as much about the mountains as the lake,

I always figured the Lake was an area all its own but it turns out there’s a tremendous amount land around it all grouped up as a federal recreation land. As a result, you have to pay to drive through this way ($10 for a standard vehicle or covered national park annual passes), it’s worth it. What’s interesting mountains at first quickly becomes exquisite ones, red rock formations, and all sorts of other natural wonders.

One of the best stops I made on the road was at Redstone, and, well, just look at the photo. Not only is it insanely picturesque but this doubles as a full rest-stop with bathrooms, picnic tables and BBQs as do most of the marked turnouts on the 164… No water however, there isn’t many places with it, so come prepared. May have to come back and try my hand at some bouldering here…

Lake Mead's Redstone

Lake Mead Recreation area is home to insane rock formations. Redstone seen here offers a easy 1/2 mile hike.

I joked to a fellow poker player last night that the 3 hour straight shot would be 12 hours with 70 stops. I was close on both counts stopping nearly 20 times in Lake Mead area alone for photo ops of mountains, flat lands, even a couple creeks / lakes. Never did make it all the way down to Mead however…

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