Discover Nevada State Parks Day

Saturday, June 14, 2014 is “Discover Nevada State Parks Day.”  Nevada State Parks is planning a statewide event to celebrate Nevada’s 150th birthday!  All state parks will waive day-use admittance fees and offer free fishing. The first 150 cars will receive a free deck of Nevada Heritage playing cards.

This is a perfect time to come discover Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada’s first state park.

Valley of Fire Sunset

Valley of Fire Sunset

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Rainbow Vista

Rainbow Vista

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire-Scenic Drive

Valley of Fire-Scenic Drive

Valley of Fire-Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mojave Desert

“Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mojave Desert” presentation at Valley of Fire State Park on Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Mojave Desert is home to a surprising number of diverse reptiles and amphibians, all of which are specially adapted to survive in extreme conditions.  Josh Parker, PhD, co-author of Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mojave Desert: A Field Guide will be giving a presentation discussing the diversity of reptiles that call this harsh climate home and what makes the Mojave Desert  a truly unique area. Dr. Parker will also share some of his impressive photographs of desert creatures throughout the presentation.

WHAT:  Presentation by Josh Parker, PhD, co-author of Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mojave Desert: A Field Guide. 

WHEN: Saturday, May 10 from 11 a.m. until noon.

WHERE: Valley of Fire visitor center located at 29450 Valley of Fire Road in Overton, Nevada 89040.

WHO: This event is open to the public.

COST:  There is no cost to attend this event, however, the park entrance fee is $10 per vehicle; Nevada residents receive a $2 discount.

Valley of Fire Lizard

Valley of Fire Lizard-Chuckwalla

Valley of Fire State Park lizards

Desert Iguana at Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire Horny Toad

Horny Toad Lizard

 

 

Spring at Valley of Fire State Park

Spring at Valley of Fire State Park is a wonderful time to visit!  The wildflowers are in bloom and so are the beavertail cactus.

Wildflowers at Valley of Fire

Wildflowers at Valley of Fire

beavertail cactus

beavertail cactus

Valley of Fire flowers

Valley of Fire flowers

Wildflowers on Valley of FIre Highway

Wildflowers on Valley of FIre Highway

Valley of Fire Wildflowers

Valley of Fire Wildflowers

Valley of FIre Highway

Valley of FIre Highway

Road to Valley of Fire State Park

Road to Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Beavertail at Valley of Fire

Beavertail at Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire Events

OVERTON, Nev.– A wide variety of programs and guided hikes are offered this November.  All events are free of charge, but entrance into the park is $10 per vehicle; Nevada residents receive a $2 discount. Programs and hikes may change due to weather and staffing. All events are open to the public.

November 2: Fire Wave Trail Guided Hike

Take a guided hike with a ranger to one of Valley of Fire’s most popular rock formations, “Fire Wave.” During this 1.5 mile roundtrip hike, a ranger will provide information about the geology of the area and the local plants and wildlife that call it home. Please wear hiking shoes and bring plenty of water.  Participants will meet at the Visitor Center and then proceed to the trailhead.

            WHEN: Saturday, November 2 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

            WHERE: Meet at the Visitor Center located at 29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV 89040.  Park is      approximately 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15, exit 75.

November 9: Atlatl Demonstration

Join a ranger to learn about the atlatl, its history in the Southwest and how exactly it was used. A demonstration is included and participants can try throwing an atlatl on their own.

            WHEN: Saturday, November 9 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

            WHERE: Atlatl Rock picnic area located at 29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV 89040.  Park is approximately 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15, exit 75.

November 23: Guided Petroglyph Hike

Tour Mouse’s Tank trail and observe the more than 800 petroglyphs. The ranger will provide information about the processes used for dating and interpreting petroglyphs. Wear hiking shoes and bring plenty of water.

            WHEN: Saturday, November 23 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

            WHERE: Mouse’s Tank trailhead located at 29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV 89040. Park is approximately 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15, exit 75.

November 30: Children’s Ancient Arts and Crafts

Children of all ages will enjoy fun crafts and activities, such as making rain sticks, drawing petroglyphs, and more.

            WHEN: Saturday, November 30 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

            WHERE: Atlatl Rock picnic area located at 29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV 89040. Valley of Fire State Park is approximately 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15, exit 75.

CONTACT: Chris Johnson, 702-397-2088, vofinterpranger@mvdsl.com

Valley of Fire Road Shot

Valley of Fire State Park

Rams at Valley of Fire

Rams at Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire Rams

Valley of Fire Rams

Valley of Fire Sunset

Valley of Fire Sunset

Valley of Fire-Scenic Drive

Valley of Fire-Scenic Drive

 

Valley of Fire State Park March 2013 Events

Three days of discovery and competition involving the ancient atlatl tool, which predates the bow and arrow and was commonly used by natives for hunting bighorn sheep.  The events are free of charge, but entrance into the park is $10.00 per vehicle; Nevada residents receive a $2.00 discount.  Please contact Ranger Amber Heman at 702-397-2088 or at vofranger2@mvdsl.com for questions.  Events are dependent on weather and could change.

March 22: Atlatl Demonstration

Drop by Atlatl Rock to learn about the ancient atlatl tool, which predates the bow and arrow.  The atlatl was commonly used by natives of the area while hunting bighorn sheep at Valley of Fire.  Get a chance to throw an atlatl and test your hunting skills.

  • WHEN: Friday, March 22 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Atlatl picnic area
  • WHO: This event is open to the public.

March 23: 22nd Annual World Atlatl Contest

Join people from around the world as they compete to be the best Atlatl Champion.  Registration starts at 8 a.m.  Trophies will be awarded for first, second, and third places in the women’s, men’s and children’s divisions.

  • WHEN: Saturday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • WHERE: Atlatl picnic area
  • WHO: This event is open to the public.

March 2:  Kids Ancient Arts and Crafts

Join park staff for fun crafts; learn how to throw with an atlatl; create your own petroglyphs; and many more fun activities.

  • WHEN: Saturday, March 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Atlatl picnic area
  • WHO: This event is open to the public.

March 24: Atlatl Endurance Challenge

Join competitors from around the world as they test their endurance in pursuing prey.  Competitors will choose to run/walk a 1-mile fun run/walk, 5k (3.1 miles), or half marathon (13 miles) trail route, and finish with a precision shoot-out as they test their skills in ancient hunting tactics.  Medals will be awarded for first, second, and third place in all three run distances.

  • WHEN: Sunday, March 24 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • WHERE: Atlatl picnic area
  • WHO: This event is open to the public.

The Nevada Division of State Parks plans, develops and maintains a system of parks and recreation areas for the use and enjoyment of more than 3.3 million visitors a year.  The division was established in 1963 by the Nevada Legislature to form a new state park agency within the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The division manages and maintains 24 parks, historic sites and recreation areas in Nevada.

Valley of Fire State Park

29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV 89040

Valley of Fire State Park is six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75.

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire State Park, Overton, Nevada

 

Valley of Fire Hiking

Valley of Fire State Park – Celebrate the New Year with park rangers on a fun outing on trails. These free First Day Hikes are sponsored by the National Association of State Park Directors. Park entrance fees are waived for participants in the hikes.

December 31-January 1: Midnight Hike to the Pinnacles
Meet with park staff for a guided 2.5 mile hike to the Pinnacles to ring in the New Year at midnight.  Start your year off right by hiking in the moonlight and gazing at the beautiful stars.
               WHEN: Monday, December 31 from 11 p.m. to Tuesday, January 1 at 1:30 a.m.
               WHERE: Atlatl Rock picnic area, 29450 Valley of Fire Road., Overton, NV 89040. Valley of Fire State Park is six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75.
               WHO: This event is open to the public.
               Cost:  Inform staff at the gate you are participating in the hike to have the entrance fee waived.
January 1: Quick and Easy Mouse’s Tank Hike
Start your year of with this quick and easy hike to discover the many petroglyphs down Petroglyph Canyon, and the most famous water tanks in the park.   This is a quarter mile hike through sand, but is very easy and will be given four times throughout the day.  Bring appropriate footwear, sun block, and water
               WHEN: Tuesday, January1 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
               WHERE: Mouse’s Tank Trailhead, 29450 Valley of Fire Road., Overton, NV 89040. Valley of Fire State Park is six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75.
               WHO: This event is open to the public.
Cost:  Inform staff at the gate you are participating in the hike to have the entrance fee waived.
 January 1:  Fire Wave Guided Hike
Join a ranger on a guided hike to the World Famous Fire Wave. Along the way, learn about all the flora and fauna, wildlife, and geology the area has to offer.  Bring appropriate footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses and water.
               WHEN: Tuesday, January1 from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
               WHERE: White Domes road parking lot #3, 29450 Valley of Fire Road., Overton, NV 89040. The park is six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75.
               WHO: This event is open to the public.
               Cost:  Inform staff at the gate you are participating in the hike to have the entrance fee waived.
January 1: Pinnacles Guided Hike
Start you year with a 4.5 mile guided hike to the Pinnacles.  Along the way, you will see a great example of a pristine desert ecosystem, and spire like sandstone formations.  Bring appropriate footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses and water.  This is a moderately difficult trail.
               WHEN: Tuesday, January 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
               WHERE: Atlatl Rock picnic area, 29450 Valley of Fire Road., Overton, NV 89040. Valley of Fire State Park is six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75.
               WHO: This event is open to the public.
               Cost:  Inform staff at the gate you are participating in the hike to have the entrance fee waived.
January 1:  Arrowhead Loop Guided Hike
Join park staff for a 1.5 mile hike from the Arrowhead Loop to Elephant Rock. Along the way, learn all about the geology and history of the area. Bring a camera, appropriate footwear, sun screen, sunglasses and water.                                                          
              WHEN: Tuesday, January 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
               WHERE: East entrance of the park, 29450 Valley of Fire Road., Overton, NV 89040. Valley of Fire State Park is six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75.
               WHO: This event is open to the public.
               Cost:  Inform staff at the gate you are participating in the hike to have the entrance fee waived.
January 1:  Top of the World
Start your new year with breath taking views of Valley of Fire on a hike to the top of the world or the highest point from the White Domes road.  This is a 3 mile moderate hike with a 500 foot elevation gain.  Please bring a camera, appropriate footwear, sun screen, sunglasses and water
               WHEN: Tuesday, January 1 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Elephant Rock at Valley of Fire State Park

Elephant Rock at Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire HDR Photography

Valley of Fire HDR photography is not only a lot of fun to do, but you can get some awesome results!  Anywhere in the park can be a great place to get some fantastic images to work with.  A day with some clouds is definitely a bonus.

HDR explained:  High dynamic range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a set of methods used in imaging and photography, to allow a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods. HDR images can represent more accurately the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, from direct sunlight to faint starlight, and is often captured by way of a plurality of differently exposed pictures of the same subject matter.

In simpler terms, HDR is a range of methods to provide higher dynamic range from the imaging process. Non-HDR cameras take pictures at one exposure level with a limited contrast range. This results in the loss of detail in bright or dark areas of a picture, depending on whether the camera had a low or high exposure setting. HDR compensates for this loss of detail by taking multiple pictures at different exposure levels and intelligently stitching them together to produce a picture that is representative in both dark and bright areas.

HDR is also commonly used to refer to display of images derived from HDR imaging in a way that exaggerates contrast for artistic effect. The two main sources of HDR images are computer and merging of multiple low-dynamic-range (LDR) or standard-dynamic-range (SDR) photographs.  Tone mapping methods, which reduce overall contrast to facilitate display of HDR images on devices with lower dynamic range, can be applied to produce images with preserved or exaggerated local contrast for artistic effect.

Each photo below was created from a series of 7 identical images shot at 7 different exposures and imported into Photoshop and merged into one HDR image.

Valley of Fire Arch HDR

Valley of Fire Arch

Trey Tomsik, Las Vegas Photographer-Elephant Arch HDR

Elephant Rock at Valley of Fire State Park

Trey Tomsik, Las Vegas Photographer-The Cabins HDR

The Cabins at Valley of FIre State Park

Trey Tomsik, Las Vegas Photographer-Arch at Valley of Fire HDR

Arch at Valley of Fire State Park

Trey Tomsik, Las Vegas Photographer-Valley of Fire HDR

Valley of Fire

Trey Tomsik, Las Vegas Photographer-Valley of Fire Road Photo

Valley of Fire Road

Valley of Fire Photography

Valley of Fire Photography

Valley of Fire Photo

Valley of Fire Photo

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire HDR Photography

Valley of Fire HDR Photography

Trey Tomsik Photographer, Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

All photos courtesy of Tomsik Photography

 

The Desert Tortoise of Valley of Fire State Park

The Desert Tortoise of Valley of Fire State Park

The desert tortoise is a rare site at Valley of Fire and if you are fortunate enough to see one, please keep in mind that it is unlawful to touch, harm or harass these wonderful creatures.  The desert tortoise makes it’s home in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

The desert tortoise population is very slow to grow.  Female desert tortoises do not reproduce until they are approximately 15-20 years old.  Survival into adulthood is only about 2-3 hatchlings per 100.  The desert tortoise has a long list of predators including; ravens, Gila monsters, kit foxes, roadrunners, and coyotes.

The desert tortoise is an herbivore (plan eater) and primarily feeds on grasses, but also eats wildflowers, herbs, and cactus growth.  The desert tortoise can store water for long periods of time in its bladder and access it when needed.  The desert tortoise is able to go up to a year without access to water.

The desert tortoise lives in burrows and hibernates between November and February each year.  The desert tortoise may also hide in its burrow during the heat of the day in the summer months.

Valley of Fire-tortoise

Valley of Fire-tortoise

Desert Tortoise

Desert Tortoise

Valley of Fire Tortoise

Valley of Fire Tortoise

 

Valley of Fire Events

Valley of Fire State Park-September 2012 Programs

Valley of Fire State Park is offering a wide variety of free programs and guided hikes this September.  Entrance fee to the park is $10.00 per vehicle. All programs and hikes are open to the public.  CONTACT: Amber Heman, 702-397-2088, vofranger2@mvdsl.com

September 1, 2012 Atlatl Night Walk

Join a park ranger to explore the Atlatl Rock Picnic Area, looking for scorpions and petroglyphs. Please wear appropriate footwear and bring lots of water.

WHEN: Saturday, September 1 from 6 PM-7 PM

WHERE: Atlatl Rock Campground site #31.

September 15, 2012 Mouse’s Tank Guided Hike

Discover the many petroglyphs down Petroglyph Canyon, as a park ranger leads you to the most famous water tanks in the park. This is a ¾ mile hike through sand, but is very easy. Come join us and make sure to bring appropriate footwear, sun block, and lots of water.

WHEN: Saturday, September 15 from 10:30 AM-11:30 AM and 2 PM-3 PM

WHERE: Mouse’s Tank Trailhead, 29450 Valley of Fire Rd., Overton, NV 89040. Valley of Fire State Park is six miles from Lake Mead and is 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75.

September 16, 2012 Desert Survival Tactics

What would you do if you were stuck out in the desert with no water, no food and no sign of help? Join a park ranger to learn some basic skills to survive the desert.

WHEN: Sunday, September 16 from 10:30 AM-11:30 AM and 2 PM-3 PM

WHERE: Visitor Center

September 22, 2012 Dinos of the Valley of Fire

Discover the many types of dinosaurs that used to roam Valley of Fire with guest speaker Cap ‘N Dave.

WHEN: Saturday, September 22 from 11 AM-12 PM, 12:30 PM-1:30 PM, and 2 PM- 3 PM

WHERE:  Valley of Fire Visitor Center

September 23, 2012 White Domes Guided Hike

Hike this 1.25 mile loop with a park ranger and you’ll enjoy the remnants of an old movie set, slot canyon and a lesson on plant identification. Please bring appropriate footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses and water.

WHEN: Sunday, September 23 from 10:30 AM-11:30 AM and 2 PM-3 PM

WHERE: White Domes Trailhead

September 29, 2012 Fire Wave Full Moon Hike

Join a ranger on a guided hike to the World Famous Fire Wave by moonlight. Along the way, look for creatures of the night and learn about the geology the area has to offer. Please bring appropriate footwear and water.

WHEN: Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 5 PM- 7 PM

WHERE: Meet at the Visitor Center lower parking lot and caravan to parking lot #3 on the White Domes Rd.

September 30, 2012 Atlatl Demonstration

Drop by Atlatl Rock to learn about the Atlatl, an ancient tool that predates the bow and arrow. The Atlatl was commonly used by natives of the area while hunting bighorn sheep at Valley of Fire. Get a chance to throw an Atlatl and test your hunting skills.

WHEN: Sunday, September 30 from 10:30 AM-12 PM

WHERE: Atlatl Rock Picnic Area

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire

 

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park Lizards

Valley of Fire has several different lizard species including: common chuckwalla, desert iguana, whiptail lizard, horny toad, and side-blotched lizard.  The Rainbow Vista area at Rainbow Vista is a great place to spot lizards; you just need to look around.  In the spring, the lizards start coming out of winter hibernation to warm up and to eat.

The common chuckwalla is one of 5 species of chuckwallas and is found in the deserts of the southwestern United States and into Mexico.  This is the second largest lizard that dwells in the desert (Gila Monsters are larger) and can grown up to 18 inches in length.

Chuckwallas eat leaves, fruit, flowers, and insects.  Chuckwallas like rocky terrain and can hide in tight rock spaces, inflating themselves with air to protect from enemies.

The desert iguana is a medium-sized lizard that grows up to 16 inches in length.  It has a tail that is approximately 1-½ times longer than it’s body.  The desert iguana is able to withstand very high temperatures.  It lives in burrows in the sand and mates in early spring.  Desert iguana hatchlings are born in September.

Another lizard that resides in Valley of Fire State Park is the whiptail lizard.  There are approximately 230 species of whiptails.  Some species are all female and their eggs require no fertilization.  The offspring are the genetic duplicates of their mother.

Horned lizards (horny toads) are a little less commonly spotted in Valley of Fire.  They are easily identified by the horns on their heads.  There are about 15 species of horned lizards in North America.  Horned lizards are “sit and wait” predators, waiting patiently for a meal (such as ants) to stroll past.

The side-blotched lizard is a very common Valley of Fire State Park lizard.  They grow about 6 inches in length and reproduce prolifically.  Snakes, birds, and larger lizards prey on the side-blotched lizard.  Inch-long offspring can be spotted throughout the park from summer through September.

lizard at Valley of Fire State Park

Common Chuckwalla

Valley of Fire lizards

Desert Iguana

lizards at Valley of Fire State Park

Whiptail Lizard

Valley of Fire Horny Toad

Horny Toad Lizard

Valley of Fire Lizard

Side-Blotched Lizard

lizard at Valley of Fire

Chuckwalla at Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire Lizard

Valley of Fire Lizard-Chuckwalla

Valley of Fire State Park lizards

Desert Iguana at Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire reptiles

Chuckwalla at Rainbow Vista

Valley of Fire State Park lizard

Valley of Fire State Park Chuckwalla

Valley of Fire lizard

Valley of Fire lizard