Las Vegas, 3 things that comes in mind? Hottest day and night clubs, casinos and the best of all, my favorite…buffets. When I was a teenager up to my early 20s, I remember just knowing Las Vegas as a Sin City. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. I never truly appreciated and researched anything about this place because, seriously? When did I ever really hear someone tell me about the whole other side of Las Vegas? Plus, I don’t really remember having great adventure memories here. All I remember was just going to Las Vegas with my parents and waiting for them for hours in our hotel room while they gamble plus the dreadful long hours of drive back home because, well, my Dad liked driving in the middle of the night and stopping in every rest stop for every hour. Don’t get me wrong though, I did have quite a few good memories here too back in my teenager days like spending some time with my sisters in Circus Circus or shopping away our $100 gift from our Aunt and Parents whenever they win and of course how can I forget the long DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) session in the arcades. But it wasn’t till I grew up and started to have interest with adventure that I learned that Las Vegas has so much more to offer than just casinos.
Before New Year’s day my Husband and I decided to go visit my Aunt and Uncle that lives in Vegas for New Year. It was a totally different plan from our usual get-drunk-and-wasted-New Year’s Eve plans like every year. I was happy though because not only do I get to see my Aunt whom I haven’t seen in a while but I have also made some research on what to do aside from gambling and partying in Vegas for our free day on Saturday. Surprisingly enough, did you know that there are other hundreds of things you can do in Las Vegas aside from gambling and partying? And one of the many, if you’re up for an adventure is the short hour drive from the strip to Valley of Fire State Park. Which what we ended up embarking on and the best first adventure of ours for the year of 2016.
The next morning, off we went to Valley of Fire and our day started on a good note already. As expected, when coming to National Park or any State Park, most of the time, you are expected to pay some entrance fee. But this time, since we were coming on a holiday (New Year’s Day), the Park was free for everyone.
The first thing I noticed about the Valley of Fire State Park was its name. Valley of Fire? Now that’s a strong powerful name for a State Park if I ever heard one. Why the name? I remember even my husband couldn’t even get the name right. For some reason he was mixing it with State Fire Valley, Fire Valley, Fire View, Valley on Fire. Needless to say, I was really curious as to “why the name”? What the hell is up in this place for them to name this place as Valley of Fire? Well, I got my answers, alright.
Shortly after driving away from the gate of Valley of Fire, I soon noticed that every rock formations and every little corner I see there turned into the color of a flame: most part of the valley were just pure red and sort of orangey then some parts were a gradient of white, yellow, orange to deep dark red. Perhaps, why they probably call this place as is. As the sun is at its peak, the whole entire valley looks as if it was a Valley of Fire. And boy was it beautiful. I immediately forgot that I was in Las Vegas. It was one of those moment where I completely forgot where I really was. It was one minute we were driving in a vast empty road of the high dessert then next thing I know we were entering a whole other world. And this my friends, is one of my favorites when going on an adventure. Mother Nature’s sweet surprises.
Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest and largest park in Nevada. Funny enough, I lived in Las Vegas before too but I have never heard about this Park up until recently. The park does offer quite a number of activities you can do. There’s camping, hiking, backpacking and more, whatever you fancy. My Husband and I are trying to plan to camp here but we have yet to talk about the dates because with camping in a high dessert like these, the weather could be quite unpredictable. I assume that since we are now in Spring season, right now is the best time to go.
The park, of course is no hidden gem nor an off beaten path. There were a lot of tourists from all over the State when we were there. The park is also well maintained. Bathrooms were kept clean with little to no trash around. One reason why I also do not mind paying fees when it comes to National Park and State Park.
The information center does offer a lot of information and history you can read before you head on to your day exploring this place. Inside the information center were also some animal statues to some real ones, like snakes, scorpion and tarantula spiders in their own little aquarium. It’s for people to be aware of what to be careful for in this park. Now, I like to skip and ignore this most of the time because I have yet to see bears or mountain lions during my adventures but not at this park. On our way back we crossed our path with some frolicking rams in the area. Naturally, of course, I took some photos but we didn’t approach them as I already know that it’s common sense not to approach wild animals. Which brings me to beg you my fellow tourists or traveler or whatever you call yourself, to please when you find yourself into a situation like these, please let the animals be wild and free. Do NOT approach them or feed them. Don’t be that idiot tourist that pets and takes a selfie with wild animals (like that baby dolphin that died from being passed around by tourist to have a selfie, ugh! #stilltraumatized). Not only could you harm them but the most important thing is they could harm you.
Anyways, we spent the whole entire day just basking in the sun, hiking and exploring as much as we can. We were limited on time so sadly there weren’t any secret gems I learned about to share with you guys. But I still guarantee you that there is nothing in this Park that will ever disappoint you. This place is surely just beautiful. Too beautiful that you will not even realize that this place exists just an hour away from the hustle and bustle of the strip. And the best thing about this place is even the most touristy spots are just worth the time stopping for. The beehive rock formation, short and easy hike to elephant rock and Fire Wave were the few activities we did and see there. But that’s a whole another story I will tell you about next. Until then, a few information about this place hope inspired you to surprise yourself with beauties like these hiding behind not only from places you never heard of but also in places that you thought you knew all about.