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Petroglyph Canyon (Valley of Fire State Park)

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Short, easy walk through canyon filled with prehistoric indian petroglyphs
Near:Overton, NV
Distance:1 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:200 ft
Hike Time:1 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: Petroglyph Canyon at Valley of Fire State Park is probably the most accessible way for visitors to view petroglyphs. The walk is short and very easy in the sandy bottom of this narrow canyon. Resist the temptation to touch the petroglyphs as they are easily damaged and cannot be repaired, or replaced. Absolutely no one alive today knows for certain what these ancient markings mean, but there is an informational sign at the trail entrance which explains some of the most commonly accepted interpretations. As you walk through this canyon, it is easy to imagine that you're transported back in time -- the grandeur and solitude (if you're lucky that is) of these brilliant red sandstone cliffs is almost overwhelming. In the summertime, the heat in this canyon is stifling and intense -- best viewed early in the morning or just before sunset; daily summer highs usually exceed 100 degrees, and 120 degrees is considered common. Carry water with you year-round.
Trailhead: There are 2 popular ways to reach Valley of Fire from Las Vegas. The faster and shorter route is 55 miles north via I-15 freeway, exit from fwy and entry to Valley of Fire is well marked, although the 2 lane paved entry road is 35 - 45 mph, curves, and can easily wash out during rain. The longer but more picturesque route is 60 miles from Las Vegas via Northshore Road. The Northshore Road is a main 2 lane paved road which winds you around Lake Mead, past Callville Bay, Bowl of Fire, several picnic areas, short hikes, Echo Bay, and finally past Overton Beach. Lake Mead is a fee area, but this fun (and more isolated) drive is a "must do" whenever I take visitors to Valley of Fire. It is a wonderful full day road trip to begin at Hoover Dam, follow Northshore Road, and end up at Valley of Fire; taking the I-15 fwy S to make a loop back to Vegas. Begin this hike early in the morning in the summer as the heat is intense. RR at TH pkg, but no water. Very hot for dogs (Lat:36.44107 Lon:-114.51659)
Trail Guides for Petroglyph Canyon (Valley of Fire State Park):
Free brochure for Valley of Fire State Park
by Nevada State Parks (Nevada Div. of State Parks)

Hiking Around Las Vegas
by Jim Boone (Jim L. Boone)

Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Valley of Fire State Park (702) 397-2088, P.O. Box 515, Overton, NV 89040
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kat Green, who has posted  86 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Submit your own review
Reviewed by tuttle566 on 11/4/2010
We enjoyed this park so much magical and beautiful. We will be going back again. Our only limitation was the hot weather during our visit. We were blessed to see some big horn sheep during our visit. see my link to photos below.

Reviewed by Donna on 12/3/2009
My husband, 8yr. old daughter and I took the 1 hour scenic drive out to the park. Originally we were going to do the Grand Canyon but ran short on time and I am so glad we did! We were in awe of this park! Every turn was interesting and beautiful. (We are from the North East, our landscape is much different.) Took tons of pictures of the petroglyphs, carefully climbed up to the many caves, I wouldn't really consider this a hike though, it was very short, more like walking on the beach! My sneakers were full! I came to this website to learn more about the canyon, wish we had more time to spend there! LOVED IT!

Reviewed by Jenn on 10/19/2008
My friend had said that Valley of Fire was not that interesting, but I talked him into taking me (I haden't been here before), well I took him on this hike, and it was a realy easy hike. On our way in i didn't pay much attention to the walls I was watching were i was stepping because of the sandy bottom but on the way back out i took the time to look up, and wow it was so neat to see the polygraghs some of them were realy clear it took me a little time to actually look and find them but once i found a couple it was realy easy to find them. Now my friend sees the Valley of Fire differently he thought it was neat also.

Reviewed by Derek on 3/1/2007
This is a staple hike for when friends and family come to Las Vegas to visit. The trail is mostly loose sand, so watch your step and do wear proper hiking shoes or boots. It is always fun to watch people in dress shoes, high heels, and flip flops try to navigate their way through. Focus on the left side of the trail and carefully scan each part of the rocks and you will see the petroglyphs. You will see literally hundreds of them by the time you get to Mouse's Tank. When you see the tank(water hole), look for a small route up the left side of the hill and you can get a better view of it. You will not be disappointed with this hike and be sure to take lots of pictures.

Reviewed by Rohana on 12/6/2006
The sand is kind of hard - for those of us that insist on hiking with bum knees - however my son (age 6) and husband had a really good time. A great hike to do at a leisurely or intense pace.

Reviewed by Carolyn on 5/11/2005
the only thing that detracted from this hike was the intense heat and the difficulty of walking in sand, other than that it was wonderful! I felt like I was on another planet, or another era. I highly recommend it.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Nevada Hiking, Nevada Trails, Nevada Hikes, Clark County Hiking, Clark County Trails, Clark County Hikes

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