The Valley of Fire Story

The Valley of Fire Story

Deep in southern Nevada lies a mesmerizing place where the elements have a storied past.

In ancient history, the region had seas. Then, a hundred million years ago, water levels receded, leaving behind massive sand dunes and sediment that morphed into Aztec sandstone.

Over time, the forces of nature and the winds of time combined to form the magnificent landforms we see today. And the results are breathtaking, with towering arches, colossal overlooks and hidden passages. Around each corner is another sight to behold, a testament to the creative and destructive power of erosion.  

Native Americans were the first to make their mark here, arriving in the area more than 10,000 years ago. Visitors to the park have the opportunity to view their petroglyphs, a type of ancient rock carving, that date back to prehistoric times. This artwork provides a fascinating glimpse into what life was like for these native people.

The area began to take its current form in the early 20th century, when the Arrowhead Trail was built between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. That made travel possible, and soon surveyors and onlookers found themselves captivated by the valley’s charm.

For those early visitors, the first impression was remarkable. Geological layers and intricate landforms highlighted the warmth of the Aztec sandstone and other minerals. One visitor who saw the land at sunset said that the valley looked like it was on fire, and the name was born.

A growing reputation gave way to development, and Valley of Fire State Park opened in 1934. Today, the park consists of more than 40,000 acres of beautiful landscape, campgrounds, cabins, hiking trails, picnic areas and a visitor center.