Petroglyph Canyon, Valley of Fire NV

• 4-star hike
• 0.7 mile trail
• Easy difficulty | Gain 60 feet
• Overton, NV | Southwest US
• Driving Directions: Trailhead

By the Visitor Center in The Valley of Fire

Located less than an hour's drive from the spectacle of the Las Vegas strip is another remarkable sight that's been wowing visitors for even longer. Valued as a destination in its own right and also as a stop-off on the way to the more well-known natural wonders of Utah, The Valley of Fire State Park is a remarkable panorama of bright red sandstone outcroppings.

Humans have inhabited these rocks for over ten thousand years and surviving petroglyphs carved into rock some 2,500 years ago are visible reminders of these ancient dwellers. This short hike close to the park's visitor center typifies the trails of this park with a walk through a wind-carved sandstone landscape, but enhanced by sightings of such petroglyphs.

Petroglyph Canyon Trail

Petroglyph Canyon Trail 4★
0.7 mi, Out & Back, Easy, Gain 60 ft
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

The Petroglyph Canyon Trailhead begins 1 mile from the visitor center, and a short paved path quickly yields to the soft sandy floor of the Fire Canyon Wash. To preserve the vivid red sandstone rock that surrounds you, the park rangers ask visitors to stick to the trail. Though sandy the trail through the canyon is brief, and requires no more effort than a walk along a beach.

You will find sightings of the petroglyphs particularly common on the darker oxidized sandstone surfaces - some close by and others high above your heads. There are reports that these petroglyphs may be made by ancient descendants of Pueblo Indians from four thousand years ago, though the park's website lists an age half this amount. What rangers are sure about however is that this specific canyon was highly valued by the settlers here, as at the end of the canyon you'll arrive at Mouse's Tank - a sandstone basin filled with trapped rainwater, even after long dry periods.

The Valley of Fire State Park requires visitors to pay a fee at the entrance. Some folk visit from Las Vegas by app-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, but be aware that getting a return ride from the park is not always possible so plan appropriately.

Petroglyphs on the canyon wall.

• Trail Links: Official, Public Map at AllTrails
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

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