you can see the typical terrain in the
Valley of Fire is very colorful but can also be very challenging. The distances,
the heights and in the summer, the heat are all factors that effect what
you can do and
what you need to be ready for to have a safe visit.
The What to Bring List:
Water - half to full gallon per person, very depending on the length of time and
Long sleeve shirt and pants - (this keeps the sun from directly heating your
skin - in case you were wondering);
Stay on the trails.
Ever leave kids in cars unattended;
Reach under bushes or rocks, or into crevices and caves;
Go into caves;
Step on bushes or pants - you could get spiders or other insects on you - they
Don't forget the film.
The best and most
immediate preparation for the Valley of Fire is to have plenty of water. A good
rule of thumb is to bring about a gallon per person depending on size.
The summer months see temperatures in excess of 120° Fahrenheit in the
afternoons. This is not an environment that you want to trifle with. It is
unforgiving and heat takes lives every year in the deserts around Las Vegas.
You should bring a hat, long sleeve shirt, long pants, preferably Levi's, sturdy
tennis shoes or boots. Sunglasses are optional but in the midday sun you will
appreciate them. Sunblock would be a good idea even if you do not plan to get
out of the vehicle.
The Valley of Fire is one of those parks where you do not really need to get of
of your vehicle to see most of it. However, to see Atl Atl Rock, The Mouse's
Tank and Petroglyph Canyon, you will need to get out of your vehicle. Atl Atl
Rock is a short walk and a climb up some steep stairs for about a dozen or so
The challenging hike is The Mouse's Tank and Petroglyph Canyon. This is about
half a mile through a hot, narrow - although a spectacularly beautiful - canyon
with a sanding, sometimes rocky floor. This is not a hike that you want to take
small children on in the summer. It gets hot early and the heat effects smaller
children sooner than adults. Unless they are used to desert heat, you might not
want to take them on that hike.
If you are bringing children, do not plan to leave them alone in the vehicle for
any length of time. That is illegal in this county. The exception is of course
if you are camping there. The local officials get very upset if children are
left unattended in a car for example.
It is recommended that hiking be done on established trails. There are many
reasons for this. A really good reason is those pesky rattlesnakes. The peak
time for rattlesnakes in Clark County is April to middle May. Rattlesnakes do
not like the hot sun. Thus the safest time to hike around, (on the trails and
staying away from bushes, rocky ledges and large objects that might have
something under them), would be at the hottest time of the day.
In the last half century or so only one person has died from snake bite in
Southern Nevada. While their bites can be fatal, they are usually dealt with
successfully. They don't like us
and they don't want to eat us. They want to be left alone. In one of my
encounters with a snake, I was reaching for what I thought was a basket, or
piece of a basket. As I reached for it the snake reared up and hissed at me. In
that instance I realized that I was trying to pick up a snake(!!!) not a basket
fragment. I then set the world record for the 100 meter dash rocky mesa slopes.
In other words, you might want to consider what you reach for or try to pick up
and where you are picking it up at.