Las Vegas, NV: Fire Wave

People come from all over the world to see Fire Wave, an unusual wave shaped rock that rises out from the sandstone.
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People come from all over the world to see Fire Wave, an unusual wave shaped rock that rises out from the sandstone.

Before 2012, most visitors to Valley of Fire had only seen photographs of Fire Wave rock. It taunted us from the pages of the Nevada State Parks brochure; and from websites of photographers lucky enough to find it. There was no designated trail to Fire Wave. Hikers trying to locate it created a web of social trails which cut through the desert causing erosion. Finally the State Park built a designated trail complete with great trail markings. It’s an easy 1.5-mile trail with little elevation change.

The trail begins across the road from Parking Lot #3. Hike east from the trail-head sign through thick sand; toward the base of a looming, sandstone monolith. The trail turns south as you reach the monolith and you’ll walk alongside it for 200 yards. The trail then turns east around the south side of the monolith for 200 yards before heading southeast to a trail sign. From here you will follow carins across the sandstone, south to the Fire Wave.

Retrace your steps to get back to the trail-head. BY CHELISE SIMMONS

Random Information
- The shape of Fire Wave rock is a result of sandstone being eroded by wind and water.
- The different colors of sandstone are due to oxidization of iron (red) and manganese (pink). The presence of silica and/or bleaching of the sandstone caused by years of contact with water makes the sandstone white.
- Even though this is a short trail, if you hike it in late spring and summer, you’ll need plenty of water. There is no shade and it gets very hot. Not good for dogs in the summer.
- Official State Park website: http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/

Trail Facts

  • State: NV
  • City: Las Vegas
  • Distance: 0.0
  • Contact: (702) 397-2088, vof@mvdsl.com
  • Land Type: Other

Waypoints

FWT001
Location: 36.488282, -114.529040
From parking lot #3 cross road and head east.

FWT002
Location: 36.487025, -114.524627
Follow cairns across sandstone.

FWT003
Location: 36.485497, -114.522483
Trail marker.

FWT004
Location: 36.482685, -114.522333
Fire Wave.