|Valley of Fire and Virgin River Gorge - Part 11 of 11 of 2010 Tour of
fantastic Southwest USA
I have toured Valley of Fire State Park three times. My first tour was on late afternoon of November 6 near
sunset time, 2006. My second tour was during the mid day on June 8, 2010. My third tour was on May 1,
2012 near sunset time. The pictures of Valley of Fire on this web page are from these three trips in 2006,
2010 and 2012.
2. Red Rock Canyon
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Valley of Fire State Park near Overton in Nevada, USA derives its name from the fascinating blazing red color
of sandstone formations in this starkly beautiful valley of the Mojave Desert. It is located in the Mojave Desert
of southern Nevada only 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate Highway I-15 and State Route 169.
The main highway that goes through Valley of Fire State Park in East-West direction is Nevada State
Highway 169 which connects into Interstate Highway I-15 on both ends.
Map: Click here to see interactive Google Map showing location of Valley of Fire State Park
Visitors seeking to tour the City of Lights may find a tour of this natural wonder more colorful and brighter than
any casino marquee.
The Elephant Rock near the Eastern Entrance of Valley of Fire State Park.
The Arch Rock or Arch of the Gods
Rock formations that look like beehives.
Red sandstone often appears to be on fire when reflecting the sun's rays at sunset or sunrise time, giving the
Valley of Fire its name.
The brilliant red sandstone mountains and the Fire Canyon in Valley of Fire again remind me of the Flaming
Mountains (火焰山 ) along the historical Silk Road in XinJiang province in western China.
Fantastic multi-colored panoramic views from Rainbow Vista along the Scenic Drive in northern part of Valley
of Fire State Park. This is one of the most scenic parts of the Valley of Fire because there is a considerable
mixture of color deriving from the sandstones.
Every turn of the road brings another remarkable and unique feature of the Valley of Fire into view.
Valley of Fire has long been admired by many artists, as evidenced by 3,000-year-old petroglyphs left on
the ancient sandstone formations by Native Americans and is known as Playground of the Gods. It has
served as the backdrop for major motion pictures, a laboratory for geologic study, a source of intriguing
insight into early mankind, and a photographer’s dream. Its dramatic scenery has attracted the attention of
filmmakers (such as Star Trek: Generations, 1994 and The Professionals, 1996) and has been the
backdrop for numerous TV commercials. This is where Capt. James Kirk died in the motion picture "Star
Trek: Generations." In Valley of Fire, you feel as though you have been transported to an alien planet.
As the sun sets, the fiery-colored sandstones seem to ignite in flames.
The Valley of Fire is home to a complex array of colorful panoramas. Covering roughly 35,000 acres, the
unique geological features inside this Playground of the Gods will keep you and your camera busy all day.
Feel like a kid in a candy store.
There are numerous arches in Valley of Fire.
Sandstone pillars - Seven Sisters (seven outcrops of red rocks) in these 2 pictures with a roofed picnic area
between 2 red sandstone pillars.
1. Valley Of Fire (火焰谷)
2. Virgin River Gorge
Many of the formations are in yellow-gold color. This gives a striking contrast to the red sand dunes and red
rocks around them.
Brilliant contrast between white domes vs. red sandstones.
The Valley of Fire is a theater for the imagination
It felt like no matter where I pointed the camera, the photo would always come out beautiful. It was truly a
humbling experience to see such great and mighty creations, and how blessed I was to have the opportunity
to tour this Playground of the Gods.
The scenic Virgin River Gorge is in northwest Arizona at the corner of Arizona, Utah and Nevada. The scenic
4-lane Interstate Highway I-15 follows the Virgin River for 14 miles through the bottom of the spectacular
deep Virgin River Gorge. There are numerous pull-outs along the highway where visitors can safely park for
sightseeing, hiking, or climbing.
In our 2010 Tour of fantastic Southwest USA, we drove through this spectacular section of I-15 along Virgin
River Gorge twice: (1) On June 1, 2010, we drove on I-15 to go from Las Vegas in Nevada to Kolob Canyon
in Zion National Park in Utah, and (2) On June 8, 2010, we drove on I-15 to go from St. George in Utah to
Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
The Virgin River is the water system that is responsible for carving some of the gorgeous main canyons in Zion
National Park in Utah that attracts about 3 million visitors every year. After leaving Zion National Park and
flowing southwest, the Virgin River then cuts through the Virgin Mountains and Beaver Dam Mountains to
create the spectacular Virgin River Gorge reminiscent of the Grand Canyon carved by Colorado River with
eroded, stepped cliffs and terraces of sandstone and limestone.
After leaving the Virgin River Gorge and passing the towns of Beaver Dam and Littlefield, the Virgin River
enters southern Nevada near the town of Mesquite and empties into the Colorado River at the Lake Mead
reservoir, approximately 40 miles east of Las Vegas. The last 30 miles of the Virgin River forms the north arm
of Lake Mead. In other words, Virgin River is one of the tributaries of the mighty Colorado River.
Near the lower end of the Virgin River Gorge is some of the most challenging rock climbing in the United
States. Climbers worldwide come to climb the legendary limestone in this narrow gorge. The Virgin River
Gorge Recreation Area, run by the Bureau of Land Management, and the Cedar Pocket Rest Area lies
halfway through the gorge at Milepost 18 (Cedar Pockets exit ).
It is believed that the Virgin River was named "La Virgen" by Spanish Catholic Missionaries in honor of the
After the arrival of Mormon settlers in the mid-1800s, this deep gorge became the Mormon Corridor, funneling
travelers between Utah and California. It also became a popular wagon route for many traders, settlers and
miners headed to California. Eventually, settlements developed above and below the Gorge, but the canyon
itself remained uninhabited
On June 1, 2010, after we drove through the spectacular Virgin River Gorge and continue north on scenic I-15,
we saw many beautiful wild flowers on the roadside along I-15. These two pictures of wild flowers were taken
while our car was running on I-15 at the typical highway speed of about 65 miles per hour.
A 6-minute movie clip of a morning drive on this scenic I-15 through the spectacular Virgin River Gorge can be
seen at the following YouTube website:
After we finished touring the Valley of Fire on June 8, 2010, we drove south to Hememway Park in Boulder
City, Nevada near Lake Mead and Hoover Dam to take a look of the wild desert bighorn sheep grazing on the
lawn in Hemenway Park. This park is near a desert mountain and wild desert bighorn sheep often come down
from the harsh desert mountain to this park to enjoy the lush green grass in this park. The first time I visited
Hemenway Park was on November 6, 2006 and we saw a pair of desert bighorn sheep. On my second visit on
June 8, 2010, Wow! We saw at least 50 wild desert bighorn sheep grazing on the lawn in this park. I took
several pictures of the large number of bighorn sheep and added them at the end of my Travelogue web page
We then drove to Las Vegas to enjoy a nice dinner of seafood buffet in a Casino. Next morning on June 9,
2010, we returned our rental car at Las Vegas airport and flew back to New Jersey. This completes our 10-
day 2010 Tour of fantastic Southwest USA.
A picture of me (Sing Lin) at Arch Rock -
This photo by Michael Chen
Our 10-Day 2010 Tour Route of Southwest USA is a large loop starting and ending in Las Vegas in Nevada,
USA. The sequence of fantastic Point-Of-Interest (POIs) on this large loop is:
Las Vegas in Nevada --------> Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park in Utah ---------> Cedar Break National
Monument in Utah --------> Red Canyon State Park in Utah --------> Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah
--------> Scenic Byway 12 through beautiful Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument in Utah --------> Scenic
Burr Trail and southern Part of Capital Reef National Park in Utah --------> Goblin Valley State Park in Utah
--------> Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah --------> Canyonland National Park in Utah ---------> Arches
National Park in Utah --------> Goosenecks State Park in Utah --------> Monument Valley in Arizona -------->
Antelope Canyons in Arizona --------> Glen Canyon Dam and Bridge over Colorado River in Arizona -------->
Horseshoe Bend of Colorado River in Arizona ---------> Navajo Bridge over Colorado River in Arizona
Scenic Highway 89-ALT from east to west along beautiful Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona
--------> Grand Canyon - North Rim in Arizona --------> Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada --------->
Hemenway Park in Boulder City in Nevada ---------> Las Vegas in Nevada.
Valley of Fire contains brilliant formations of eroded sandstone and sand dunes with bizarre and intriguing
landscape. They often appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun's rays. The rock formations are particularly
luminous as the sun's rays drench them just after sunrise and just before sunset. It's during these times that
the valley's rocks gather the intensity of the sunlight and appear to glow a deep fiery red.
The Black-And-White Virgin River Gorge as a sharp contrast to the nearby fiery-colored Valley of Fire. The
Virgin River Gorge is along Interstate Highway I-15 and is about 40 miles northeast of Valley of Fire State
A petrified log in Valley of Fire State Park.
A quail (鹌鹑) near the visitor center in Valley of Fire State Park.
A very beautiful stretch of Scenic Drive winding through fantastic multi-colored landscape.
There's a short side road that takes you about a mile off to the east of the Scenic Drive. At the end, you reach
the parking area for the Fire Canyon and Silica Domes. The picture above is a view of the Fire Canyon from
this parking area. It shows signs of rock being forced up from inside the earth, forming jagged folds at odd
I also took a panoramic picture of the Fire Canyon and Silica Domes in Valley of Fire State Park as shown on
my Travelogue web page at:
In this picture, I was looking from north to south along the Scenic Drive through this red canyon.
In addition to many fantastic views along Highway 169 in East-West direction through the Valley of Fire, from
slightly west of Visitor Center, visitor can turn north from Highway 169 into the Scenic Drive that goes north
through the brilliantly red canyon in the picture above and lead north to several interesting and beautiful areas
including trailheads for Mouse's Tank, for Petroglyph Canyon, Rainbow Vista, Fire Canyon & Silica Domes,
White Domes, etc. A little further up the Scenic Drive through the red canyon in the picture above, you
emerge from this red canyon, and a rainbow of color spreads out before you. This is, obviously, why
Rainbow Vista received its name.
Detailed park maps of Valley Of Fire State Park are available at the following website:
Therefore, no journey to Valley of Fire State Park is complete without experiencing the detour from Highway
169 to go north along the fantastic Scenic Drive !
One of Silica Domes as viewed from the parking area of Fire Canyon & Silica Domes.
How I use information age technologies to enhance my enjoyment greatly of sightseeing large driving tour loop
of thousands of miles and of one to two weeks in duration covering many Points of Interest is described on
my web page at: