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Top 5 Hikes in Valley of Fire For Kids - The Flippin' Tilbys

Top 5 Hikes in Valley of Fire For Kids

5 Best Hikes in Valley of Fire for Kids

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Valley of fire is the perfect American Southwest sampler. Visitors will get everything from slot canyons, petroglyphs, red and pink rock formations, a mini wave formation, desert mountain goats, and stunning vistas, all within less than an hour drive from Las Vegas. 

All of Valley of Fires glory can be accessed via a series of short hikes, with most of them being less than 3 miles, making it the perfect adventure destination for families with young kids. Here are a few of our favorite hikes!

FIRE WAVE HIKE

If you only have time to do one hike in Valley of Fire State Park do this one. It is like a mini version of The Wave in Southern Utah, except you don’t have to get a permit and it’s only a 1.5 mile hike, round trip.

Even though its short, it can get very hot so both times we have hiked it we’ve done it in the early evening. Hiking later in the day not only saves you from the heat but allows you to see the wave in all its glory, during sunset.

The hike there is fairly flat, with a few technical areas, and the trail is a bit hard to follow once you hit the rock. Keep a sharp eye out for the trail markers, it is easy to get turned around and not find the actual ‘Wave’.

 Even though the Wave is the main attraction, if you keep exploring past it you will be rewarded by finding some small slot canyons, small but beautiful arches, and other amazing formations.

 Info: There are not any toilets at this trailhead. The parking lot is large and we’ve always gotten parking. You do need to cross the main road to access the trailhead from the parking lot. There are signs saying it closes at sunset, we’ve stayed a bit past without an issue but I wouldn’t want to push it too much. This hike is VERY exposed, bring lots of water.

FIRE CAVE / WINDSTONE ARCH

This isn’t an official hike, and we only found it because it popped up as a pin on google maps. It is probably a little over a  half-mile hike from Atlatl Campground, where we were staying. You can also access it by a dirt road, but we were successful in using GPS to make our way through the trails and to the caves. You would start at the trails that go past the hike-in campgrounds.

This is a fun little hike with a high-reward destination, and is a great opportunity for little ones to navigate with the GPS on a cellphone, since none of the trails are marked.  

 Info: There are toilets and water at the Atlatl Rock campground. There is a small parking lot near the hike-in campgrounds, the trailhead takes you to the tent camp spots and then past them, towards the mountains. 

 

MOUSE’S TANK HIKE

We did this hike mid-week in December and had the place to ourselves but it is usually a pretty busy hike. We get why, though. It is short, fun, and gorgeous. The .8 round trip hike takes you through a slot canyon filled with petroglyphs and beautiful rock formations. Our kids found all sorts of caves, crevices, and holes to wiggle through and the hike ended up taking us a few hours. The hike concludes a water hole named Mouse’s Tank.

When we first did the hike we speculated that mice might fall into it, hence the name. We later found out the name is less grotesque, and is named after a Native American named ‘Little Mouse’ who used Valley of Fire as a hide-out in 1890.

INFO: .8 Miles. There is a pit toilet at this trail head, it is advisable to hit this one before going farther up the canyon to other hikes, like Fire Wave, that doesn’t have toilets. This hike can get VERY hot, bring lots of water.  

ELEPHANT ROCK HIKE

The trail to Elephant rock is a bit more of a walk than a hike but either way, it is worth doing. It is right next to the east entrance of the park and one of the only places that we had decent cell service during our week stay at Valley of Fire. 

If you do want something a bit more than the .4 mile out and back walk to see the ‘Elephant’, there is a 1.2 mile loop that takes you past it as well. The views to the east from this hike are stunning and would be a fantastic sunrise vista. Some of the hike to the rock is very close to the road, so care should be taken.

INFO: There are bathrooms at the parking lot. Parking on the side of the narrow road is not advisable. 

WHITE DOMES TRAIL

White Domes Trail is a fun 1.1 loop. Even though it is short the scenery changes drastically multiple times and has generous offerings of huge domes, lots of wind formations, slot canyons, and even an old movie set!

Although the hike is pretty short, it is very sandy, making it a bit strenuous. We took our time on this hike, exploring the many crevices and formations along the trail. We took quite a bit of time in the slot, my kids liked that it was narrow enough for them to suspend themselves between the two towering walls. 

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