Valley of Fire - Less Than an Hour But a Million Miles from Vegas
We couldn't wait to leave Las Vegas, but unfortunately a flight out of the city in just a few weeks time meant we couldn't stray too far away for the rest of April. We decided a retreat up to Southern Utah was just what we needed to wash the Vegas away. On the way is the Valley of Fire State Park, and after seeing the photos of many Instagram friends we knew we had to make a stop there. We love rocks, especially multicolored ones and we were not disappointed.
One thing I like about the Nevada State Park system is that they don't take reservations. That is definitely a double edged sword, but all too often in other states we see people looking for somewhere to stay while parks have many empty spots. This problem happens because popular parks are reserved months in advance and when people's plans inevitably change they don't always cancel their reservation. This leaves us more spontaneous travelers shut out and frustrated to see perfect camping sites unoccupied. Nevada keeps it simple - no advance reservations. We had no trouble finding a spot arriving there just before 2pm, but the campground was full by 5 or 6 pm each night we were there.
The campground and park are wonderful. We took several hikes that led us to amazing rock formations, but the only downside was that many of them are across soft red sand. Not only does it get everywhere, it is very tiring to walk through. We were pooped by the end of the day.
After boondocking in Vegas and Lake Mead for a week we were in need of laundry but the nearest town of Overton was kind of lacking in facilities. We would have to dig deep in the undies department and wait until we found a laundromat in a few more days. What the town did have was a small library. On the road we actually use local libraries quite often. We don't carry a printer with us, as we rarely have a need for paper, but if we do we have found libraries always the best and most cost effective places to print. We visited the Overton library primarily to use their WiFi. Valley of Fire campground and the surrounding area in the park had poor cell reception and for us that means little or no internet connectivity. The library had super fast, free WiFi that allowed us to catch up on all our online things. The library was a hub of activity and it is wonderful to see these kinds of facilities serving the needs of their residents so well.
After a few days at Valley of Fire we moved further up the road to an awesome overnight campground just over the state line from Nevada called Virgin River Canyon Campground. We just wanted to break up the journey a little and catch a restful afternoon before completing the journey the next day. It was a wonderfully scenic spot and we'll probably stop there on our way back to Vegas too. Next time we'll maybe jump on one of the trails there.
Vegas may attract all the attention in Nevada with the big fancy hotels and the flashy shows, but we were much more impressed by the dazzling array of colors and the beauty on display at Valley of Fire. They provided us with all the bright lights we needed.