Valley of Fire – a photo essay, part one

We visited Valley of Fire State Park, east of Las Vegas, on November 30.  We now share some of the many pictures we took of this colorful park.

This is a mid afternoon shot of 2 of the Seven Sisters (large eroded rock monoliths in one section of the park).  Blue sky, sunlit rock and lengthening shadows combine for an impressive pic.


Seven Sisters Valley of Fire State Park



It had been many years since we had been to this state park.  Previous visits had been in the heat of summer where day time temperatures can soar to above 45 degrees Celsius or above 113 degrees Farenheit.  The idea in the summer is to see this park in the morning and be done by about 11:00 a.m. or earlier.  A cold Canadian air mass had descended on the Southwest US in the last several days of November.  The day of our visit the high temperature was 50 degrees F.  The air was cool and crisp and the colors were there to be captured by our camera.  As it is hard to pick a “best of” set of images, we will simply show most of the pics in this multi-part essay.

Along Interstate 15, travelling northeast from Las Vegas, one sees barren hills and desert scenery.


desert road


Here is the service road to the park’s west entrance at midday.  This road is approximately 11 miles long and connects the highway to the state park (exit 75 from I – 15).


road to park entrance


A sign heralding the entrance to the park.  In the late autumn, shade and shadows are prevalent even at midday.


park sign


The change of colors in the scenery foreshadows the spectacular vistas to come.


road into park


The dark dolomite in the distance is older than the orange sandstones in the foreground.


standing rocks


Many colorful views are seen from the paved roads in the park.

These rock formations were hundreds of millions of years in the making. Sediments laid down in ancient, shallow seas in this part of the continent were later thrust up and then slowly eroded by the elements.


red rocks


More rocks.  Note the sparse vegetation.  This area is desert.


Valley of Fire State Park


Bizarre shaped eroded rocks in various shades of orange and orangish red abound in the park.  A viewer can see many uncanny resemblances to animal shapes in these erosion sculpted rocks.


Valley of Fire State Park


The clear sky was a nice deep blue this day.  One thing of note for photographers is that the time of day and consequent angle of the sun in the sky makes a difference in what colors or shades of colors are seen in the rocks. During late spring and in the summer, early morning gives you the richest colors in a place like this.

Trying to stick with the time order that the pics were taken in, we now have some shots with Lucy, my wife, in them.


Lucy 2


A minute later, this next image was captured.  The same background pretty much without a human in view.  This area of the park is known as “the beehives” as some of the formations resemble beehives in shape.


Valley of Fire State Park Nevada


The next minute we shot this image from another angle.  A cool day but without much wind, thus, it was not uncomfortable.


Lucy 3


Here is an interesting view.  Some of the rocks are in shade or shadow while others are sunlit a little before 1:00 p.m.


Valley of Fire State Park Nevada Rocks and Shadow


Driving around the park, here is another view.  There are hiking trails that visitors can walk and get into and among many of these rock formations.


Valley of Fire State Park


A couple of minutes later we were able to get this closer view (a slightly different angle) of the scene in the previous picture.


Valley of Fire State Park Nevada


At 1:00 p.m., we climbed this staircase.  The sun is behind this formation and we are in shade.  A nice image.


Valley of Fire State Park Nevada Rocks and Shadow


At the top of the walkway (as seen in previous image), we look to the east.


Lucy in shadow


We see that the walk up the stairs led to petroglyphs.


Marker Valley of Fire State Park


The petroglyphs left by much earlier visitors.


Petroglyphs Valley of Fire State Park


A view of the same rock formation area from below.


Color in Valley of Fire State Park


Our first stop at the visitor center area.  Erosion forms holes or gaps in the rock.


Lucy in hole


Although you cannot see it in this picture, state historical markers in Nevada are framed in metal that is in the shape of the state.  Valley of Fire is considered the first state park in Nevada.


Valley of Fire Nevada State Park


. . . . to be continued . . . . 

copyright 2015 –

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