Hi friends, welcome back! I’m changing it up from my spring adventures in NYC and beginning a new series about my hiking trip out west. This trip came to fruition because my mom wanted to celebrate her 60th birthday hiking out west with my sisters and I. Her birthday was in February, but there aren’t many warm spots to hike, so we delayed our trip until May. We all entered to win permits for a few hikes through the National Parks lottery system, and we ended up winning four permits to hike Angels Landing in Zion National Park. My sister Lauren is an avid hiker, so she created a four-day itinerary for us in Zion and Bryce National Park. Luckily for the rest of us she had been to both parks and knew the ins and outs and best hikes. We all booked our flights into Las Vegas on a Friday, miraculously arrived on schedule from Portland, Chicago, Detroit, and NYC, and were on our way!
We had some time to kill before our hotel check-in so we headed to the Valley of Fire Nevada State Park in the Mojave Desert to move our legs. This park is about an hour (55 miles northeast) from Las Vegas, and it was 97* when we arrived. The entrance fee costs $15 and there isn’t currently a reservation system in place until next year, so anyone can visit on a first come, first serve basis. We were welcomed by this Desert Bighorn Sheep, Nevada’s state animal.
In the 1920s the Valley of Fire got its name because it looked like the entire valley was on fire at sunset. This park opened in 1934, but officially became Nevada’s first state park in 1935. The Valley of Fire spans 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone dispersed among the gray and tan limestone. I’d never seen anything like this, it really felt like we were on a different planet!
It was so hot, so we efficiently got a few pictures and ran back to the car. On a cooler day you can find petroglyphs that are about 2,500 years old from the Ancestral Puebloans. You can also camp and partake in numerous hikes throughout the park.
We enjoyed driving on the eleven-mile Valley of Fire Scenic Byway, the main road that goes through the park and connects both entrances. I thought this park was neat and unlike anything I’d seen before. If you’re flying into Vegas and heading to Zion I’d highly recommend stopping here and exploring.
We spent about an hour here before heading northeast to Zion National Park. The drive took about two and a half more hours and was very scenic and enjoyable. We stayed at the La Quinta in Springdale near the park entrance and we all loved this hotel and would highly recommend staying here. We especially loved how the hotel was so picturesque surrounded by the mountains. There was also a resident deer that loved to snack in the courtyard.
Hope you enjoyed the change of scenery! Stay tuned for our first full day in Zion National Park hiking Angels Landing 🙂