In 2013 my wife Claire and I set off on our honeymoon for 2 weeks to sin city – Las Vegas. Now many people would say 2 weeks in Vegas is crazy, but it was amazing!
To break the weeks up, we researched a list of places we wanted to visit away from Vegas.
Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon….Valley of Fire State Park.
Valley of Fire is found just 50 miles outside of Las Vegas. It is the oldest and largest state park in Nevada.
The landscape here is dramatic. Millions of years of erosion has shaped the rocks into radical shapes. Everywhere you look here your imagination can run wild, maybe a shape of a face, an animal, or even a spaceship carved in to the rocks over time by the elements.
The park gets it name from the breathtaking colour of the rocks, reflecting the sun like fire.
The heat is also fierce, 43 degrees when we visited, 40 in the shade! Plenty of water was needed.
The park is rich in history, throughout the park you can see ancient petroglyphs some estimated to date from anywhere between 300 BC to 1150 AD. The park was inhabited during this time by the Anasazi. The conditions here are almost perfect for preserving the rock art. In some locations, you leave wondering how they ever got into the positions where the art has been drawn, high on inaccessible rocks or where a staircase is now needed to get a view of their work.
Another great location for photographs are the 1930’s stone cabins. These were built for people to use when travelling through the park. They act as a great historic marker for a photo with the red rock bricks making them look unique.
We walked the trail to Mouse’s Tank. This was where the heat really took its toll but it was worth it. The trail is scattered with rock art, petroglyphs lining the canyon walls. Mouse’s tank is a natural filling well in the rocks which collects rain water and holds it. Mouse was a renegade Native American who used the valley as a hideout when he was wanted by the authorities. It is said that he used the tank to replenish his water supplies, hence the name. By this point we were both needing to replenish our water supplies!
The landscape here has been used for multiple science fiction films, providing a suitable terrain to double as the surface of Mars or other far off planets.
The way the roads cut through the park and through the red rock, make for great America road trip images. This place is a photographers dream!
If you’re heading to Vegas and have time on your hands, head out to Valley of Fire. It’s well worth it. Many companies do tours from Vegas to Valley of Fire, your hotel will be able to help you book your adventure. We used Pink Jeep Tours, who were brilliant, not only did they provide a great trip but also unlimited water and a nice lunch.
You can see more of my Valley of Fire images here: http://www.nathanaeljonesphotography.com/Valley-of-Fire
You can see more of my landscape and wildlife images here: http://www.nathanaeljonesphotography.com/browse
Follow me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/nathanaeljones
All images used in this blog are the copyrighted property of Nathanael Jones.