Monday 12 August 2019

Las Vegas Valley of Fire, Fire Wave Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 2.2 km (1.4 miles), terrain: a few ups and downs, gain 50 meters

Las Vegas Running Routes:
The Strip  
University of Nevada

Red Rock Canyon
White Domes, Valley of Fire 
Fire Wave, Valley of Fire

For more running routes, see the Route List page.

NOTE: This is in the desert: don't run it during the summer heat. Either get there at daybreak or wait till the cooler part of the year!

Here is another short run in amazing Valley of Fire State Park, north of Las Vegas. You could add this to the short White Domes run, as this is just 200 meters to the east.
The Fire Wave
The Fire Wave is the most famous spot in the park: undulating white- and red sandstone layers in petrified sand dunes that have been sculpted by the wind to look like undulating waves. If you have a free day and a car (the park is 60 miles northeast of the Strip), you won't want to miss it.

The start of the run is at almost the same spot as for the White Domes Trail: drive north from the Valley of Fire visitor center on White Dome Road. The Fire Wave trailhead and parking lot is the next-to-last one, before the road makes a 180-degree left-turn to the White Domes trailhead.
There is a sign marking the start of the trail, where you head downhill through sand among desert plants like creosote bush, cactus and sagebrush.
Rounding the ridge
The trail turns right to avoid the red-rock ridge blocking your path in front of you. When I was there, a herd of bighorn sheep was grazing there.
Big-horn sheep on the ridge
Now the trail follows the base of the ridge, curving around its south end through boulders and caves.
Slick-rock along the hillside
After rounding the ridge, the trail heads southeast along the edge of some red-and-white slick-rock (bare rock hillsides).

Finally, at about the 700-meter point, the trail goes up onto the slick-rock and turns straight south. Little stone cairns (piled-up stone pyramids) point the way over the firewaves to the main viewpoint.
Caves in the firewave
The trail ends above some firewave-hills below, with inspiring views to the other multi-colored cliffs and peaks to the west and south. What a great place!

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