Florida Keys

Florida Keys
Florida Keys September 2014

Saturday, April 18, 2015

We head west for our trip to a few national parks


Date: 4/18/2015

Location: Valley of Fire State Park


Well, after several months of planning and waiting, our trip to a few western national parks has arrived. We were going to do a big loop, Las Vegas –> Valley of Fire –> Zion National Park –> Grand Canyon (south rim) –> Boulder City –> Las Vegas. All in one weeks time.

our daughter Allison, who also lives in Florida, decided to join us since she was interested in experiencing some of the national parks out west. We planned our flights to (hopefully) arrive in Las Vegas about the same time, grab a rental car and get the heck out of Vegas as fast as we could. Or at least as fast as the Las Vegas traffic would allow!

Our flights as well as Allison’s both experienced some delays, but none too bad and we all eventually made it to Las Vegas. Julie and I arrived a little before her, spent an hour in the rental car line and then picked her up in front of the terminal. We then made a bee line north on I-15 towards Valley of Fire State Park.

We knew we didn’t have a lot of time to fully experience Valley of Fire, but we at least wanted to do a quick drive through on our way to Zion where we had reservations for three nights. we arrived an hour before the visitors center closed, so we did a quick tour of the visitors center and then picked out one short hike.

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The Visitors Center at Valley of Fire State Park



Some of the Red Rock formations at Valley of Fire State park


Right outside of the visitors center were some amazing rock formations, with small “caves”. It almost looked like something from the Flintstones. Here’s is Allison getting her picture taken in one of them. She commented that all of this didn’t look real and wondered if it was man made, On of the rangers was walking by and reassured her that all of the rock formations in the park were “really real”!! . We don’t get to see this type of thing in Florida.

Allison checking out some of the odd rock formations


The one trail we picked was at the Mouse’s Tank Trail which was just up the road from the visitors center. This trail promised a view of several petroglyphs which Julie found very exciting. This was a very easy and level trail, with just some loose sand to hike over. We ended up filling up our shoes with red dirt!

Our short hike at Valley of Fire was on the Petroglyph Canyon Trail


After about a quarter mile we came across our first set of petroglyphs. Julie and Allison had to pose and get their picture taken in front of the them.

After a short walk we came across some of the petroglyphs


As with all our hikes over this next week, there were many flowers blooming along the trails. I guess we picked a good time to make this venture.

Some of the many flowers we came across on our hike.


After about 30 minutes of walking/hiking we decided to turn around and head back to the car. It was getting later in the afternoon and we still had a two hour drive to get to Zion National park. There was still much more to this park to explore and it was difficult not continuing on down the main park scenic road, but we had to move on.


Here's Julie peering around the bend in the trail. Deciding if we should continue on.


We’ve added Valley of Fire State Park to our list of places to return and explore some more. It has a few amazing campgrounds we’d like to stay at…some day! 

Here’s the GPS track of the short hike we did at Valley of Fire.


Valley of Fire State Park at EveryTrail

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