Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

One of the state's most-loved parks is the Valley of Fire, 42,000 arid acres about an hour's drive northeast from Las Vegas. The park provides its own type of high-stakes drama, trading neon and nightclubs for 150-million-year-old sandstone formations and 3,000-year-old petro glyphs. You could even say it has star quality: The surreal, burnt-sienna landscape stood in for Mars in the 1990 movie Total Recall If you're embarking on your personal photo safari or DIY sci-fi flick in Nevada's prevalent state park, don't overlook Arch Rock, Elephant Rock, or the Beehives, all of which are essentially solid-stone versions of accurately what they resonance like. And be confident to take snapshots with and without people in the frame—the structures are even more excellent when you can get a sense of their scale. Most essential of all: Bring lots of water with you. There are few amenities within the park, and the sandy stretches of some hikes make them more exhausting than you'd think, mostly in the summer, when Mojave Desert temperatures top 120 degrees. Best to come in spring or fall for a more relaxed trip.


Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

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