In March, Dan and I went on our first Jeep adventure in Nevada. We spent the day driving around Lake Mead and The Valley of Fire. The landscape was absolutely gorgeous and I can't believe in all of my vacations to Vegas, that I had never ventured off of the strip to visit either of these places.
We didn't quite know what to expect, but we paid our daily fee at the Lake Mead rangers station and drove into the park. There was plenty of sunshine, but it was a crisp, winter day.
Just before reaching The Valley of Fire, we took a detour to see Lake Mead. The water level was low and the boat launch area had a defunct hotel. It looked like it once was a thriving resort. The area was practically deserted and we only saw one other couple taking pictures. The water was a beautiful blue and crystal clear. Next time, we hope to see a more active part of the lake and to maybe rent a boat.
My pictures can't do it justice, but The Valley of Fire was a stunning explosion of red and orange rock formations. We visited in the late afternoon, when the setting sun made the rocks look even more dramatic with intense shadows and warm light.
We entered The Valley of Fire from the unattended side. There was an honor system daily permit box, where you got a little slip to retain for your records, but basically wrote down your license number, stuck ten dollars in an envelop and dropped it into a locked box. A lot of people were decided to take their chances and not paying. In case you were wondering, they do check. The whole area is crawling with park rangers and there is a manned booth on the opposite end. Even if you think that you might get away with it, just pay the fee. It goes to supporting an amazing National Park and our parks need the funds!
We encounter a bit of excitement as we were leaving the valley. We noticed a couple of tourists had tried to go off-roading in their rental car and they got stuck in the sand. Bad idea. Dan got to use our Jeep's winch for the first time. He was happy to rescue them, but probably even happier to test out the winch!
I even recorded the action.
The Valley of Fire and Lake Mead should be added to your must-do list for your next trip to the Las Vegas area. It's magnificent.
Here are some last shots as we headed down an empty road and back to the strip.