Postcard from Nevada: Valley of Fire | Ciao Bambino!

Postcard from Nevada: Valley of Fire

An hour’s drive – 50 miles northeast – from Las Vegas, the otherworldly Valley of Fire State Park comprises 40,000 acres of Aztec sandstone rock formations rising from and contrasting against gray and tan limestone beds. The park is also notable for its innumerable petroglyphs, some dating back more than 2,000 years, and serving as evidence that humans have long lived in the region.

While the petroglyphs were admittedly a harder sell with our two children, the rocks were certainly not. Both our 4-year-old and 8-year-old were eager to scale and climb their way to the tops of the dramatic rock formations, solving the jigsaw puzzle that Mother Nature was posing before them. We explored both the 3/4-mile Mouse’s Tank trail and White Domes area and found them to be easy for little legs and also fun for grownups. 

The highlight of our visit, though, was spotting a group of bighorn sheep just as we were entering the park. Is there any greater thrill for children (and even some adults) than seeing animals in the wild? We watched the sheep graze and nonchalantly hop atop and down from rocks. Along with the sheep, roadrunners, coyotes, kit fox, jackrabbits and the rare desert tortoise all call this desert terrain home.

For younger children especially, the park’s dramatic landscape is a great introduction to outdoorsy exploration, a perfect stepping stone to maybe making your way to the Grand Canyon eventually.

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  • Beautiful photos! Brings back memories. What a cute little face poking out! 😉
    I think it’s great to start hiking young with kids and we started when my daughter was 2. One of the only advantages of having a baby that walks at 6m and ran faster than me at 9m, was this kid can walk, run & hike forever. It’s been very handy on our world tour. 😉
    We lived in the Santa Cruz mountains when she was born & her first 5 years, so she was use to doing lots of walking from the start… as just getting our mail was long daily trek. 😉 We never owned a stroller, so I think it really helped that she walked so much from early on.
    She can still out run & walk me, but luckily her athletic dad can keep up with her. One of our great joys during our world travels are long hikes and bike rides in new countries.

  • The contrast of the snow and the greenery in the middle picture is wonderful. I’ll need to look up Sorensen’s, sounds like a winner!

  • I remember going bushwalking (what Australians call hiking) with my mother when I was little. I loved it! I have no memories of it until I was about eight but Mum says I loved it before then too.

  • It looks like a beautiful place – those flowers are stunning. We love hiking with our children too, I’ve found chocolate is a great motivator!

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