Las Vegas can be very overwhelming. The constant hum of slot machines, the windowless rooms, all the feathers, sequins, and mix of excited energy & disappointment coated in cigarette smoke – it can be a little much.
No doubt, there is so much to see and do packed into a strip of land, but if you are like me, after a day or two, you are looking for a little break from the strip. And more so, some fresh air and wide open spaces.
Enter the perfect day trip from Las Vegas: A spectacular road trip loop that goes through Valley of Fire, Lake Mead Recreational Area, and Hoover Dam!
VALLEY OF FIRE
Driving from Las Vegas, it will take a little over an hour to get the Valley of Fire visitor center from the Las Vegas strip.
Entering from the West Entrance, your first stops will be The Beehives, Arch Rock, and Atlatl Rock. These are all relatively quick stops. The Beehives are unique sandstone rocks that have been naturally formed by nature and look like little beehives. Arch Rock is a quick photo stop. And Atlatl Rock is your first look at some of the petroglyphs in the park.
All of these stops are right near the west entrance that includes the 2 Mile scenic road – your first little taste of Valley of Fire.
From there you will move onto the Valley of Fire Visitor Center, which is also the parking lot to the viewpoint of Balanced Rock. The visitor center is also the beginning of Mouse Tank Road (aka: White Domes Road), a ~5 mile scenic road.
Start by going all the way to the end of the road – to the White Domes trailhead parking lot, then make your way back to the visitor center stopping at the following:
Once you are back on the main road heading east, you will see Seven Sisters on your right. This is a quick photo stop. Then continue on to The Cabins. Again, a relatively quick photo stop.
Last stop before leaving Valley of Fire is Elephant Rock. This is an ~1 mile hike to a rock that is naturally shaped like an elephant. You’ll know it once you see it.
LAKE MEAD RECREATIONAL AREA
Once you exit Valley of Fire through the East Entrance, Lake Mead Recreational Area is immediately to your right.
You will drive through Lake Mead Recreational Area for ~1.5 hours that connects you from Valley of Fire to Hoover Dam.
Along the way you can stop at Rogers Springs (a little hot spring to get refreshed after playing around in Valley of Fire) or Redstone Park (just in case you haven’t had a fill of the beautiful red rocks yet – this is also another good picnic spot).
You should also stop at some of the scenic viewpoints for .. well .. the views.
The last stop on the loops before heading back to Vegas will be Hoover Dam.
For those not afraid of heights, you can park at the bridge overlook to do the Memorial Bridge Walkway. This will give you those views from above … but I wouldn’t recommend if you have a thing with heights – that bridge is HIGH.
Then continue down to the bridge where you can drive right over the Hoover Dam.
When you are done it is time to grab a coffee from the Hoover Dam Cafe and head back to Las Vegas. It will take ~45 minutes to get from the Hoover Dam to Las Vegas.
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