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Thread: Going to Vegas for Christmas, Is the Valley of Fire worth a day trip?

  1. #1
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Going to Vegas for Christmas, Is the Valley of Fire worth a day trip?

    My wife and I will be spending 5 days in Las Vegas, NV over the holidays. Since I am not much of a gambler, I am looking for places to go to do some shooting. One of the places that peeked my interest was the Valley of Fire State Park. It's only 50 miles away from Vegas and I was hoping someone could offer an opinion and perhaps some good locations to start. I would also be interested in other scenic areas that are a short drive from Vegas.

    Any input or advice is appreciated.

    Bob
    Bob

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Bob,

    I went to Vegas a few years ago and was amazed at how much was in close proximity. My wife was going to a conference and I was doing stuff during the days. I never did Valley of Fire, but it did look good. But one day, I dropped my wife off at 8 am, drove to Death Valley and was back to pick her up at 5 pm. But Zion NP is 2.5 hrs away, Furnance Creek Ranch and Badwater (lowest point) in Death Valley are both ~2 hrs away, then Red Rocks and Hoover Dam are both 30-40 minutes away. I day tripped all four while my wife was at her conference. Granted, I would love more time at Zion, Death Valley and Red Rocks, but I've seen them.

    BTW, I am not much of a gambler either (only powerball when it is over $300 mil), but, if you've never been, the shows, strip (Bellagio, etc) and a few buffets (Paris) are impressive.

    Have a good trip and Merry Christmas,
    Brant

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    Senior Member EricPvpi's Avatar
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    Its a little bit further out (2 hr 45 minutes) but I recently did a side trip from Vegas to Zion and it was spectacular. Some pictures are posted here.
    http://community.the-digital-picture...ead.php?t=6777

    I haven't been to Valley of Fire. You also have Red Rock Canyon close by. If you look at some of the various tours that run out of Vegas (Pink Jeep Tours, etc) they might give an ideas of where to go. I probably wouldn't recommend a tour since they won't give much time for photos, but you can get some ideas on what is close.

    Next year I would like to head to Bryce and Grand Staircase.

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    Red Rock Canyon is a must and a very easy trip. You don't even need a full day. Death valley is also worth the journey, although our visit there only made me wish I had booked a room at the inn there so I could have more time.

    Valley of Fire is a very cool place. I couldn't stop taking pics and I still didn't get all I wanted. I was driving my wife crazy pulling over every 100 yds or so for another shot. If you go, bring lunch. There is no place at all to get food there. If you come in from the highway side and drive all the way through, there is a small town a few miles north of the back entrance where there is a McD's, but it's not what you'd call close. Stop at a sub shop in Vegas and bring a sandwich and soda. The backroads back to Vegas from the back entrance are also very scenic. You might give them a shot if you have a GPS or a decent with maps.

    Here's a pano of the first thing you see when you drive into the park. Click for the full image.

    Last edited by M_Six; 12-13-2012 at 04:24 AM.
    Mark - Flickr
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    I went to Vegas a few years back. I spent most of my time playing street photographer. Vegas is king when it comes to finding strange things to shoot on the street.

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    Hey Bob, if you love doing landscape photography, I highly recommend Valley of Fire State Park. I've only been there once and spent a half day there but to me the photo opps seem endless. I use Flickr a lot when planning photo trips, so do a search for "Fire Cave" or "Wind Cave" and the increasingly popular "Fire Wave." Here's a couple from my day trip from Vegas...

    [img]Road Trippin' by ernogy, on Flickr[/img]

    [img]
    Valley of Fire, Midday Wave by ernogy, on Flickr[/img]

    [img]
    Fire Cave in Valley of Fire State Park, NV by ernogy, on Flickr[/img]

  7. #7
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post
    Bob,

    BTW, I am not much of a gambler either (only powerball when it is over $300 mil), but, if you've never been, the shows, strip (Bellagio, etc) and a few buffets (Paris) are impressive.

    Have a good trip and Merry Christmas,
    Brant
    Thanks Brant, great tips. As far as Vegas itself goes, I have been there a few times, but this is the first time my wife has been, so I'm not sure how much time I will have to shoot. One thing for sure, I really want to get a good night shot of the Bellagio Founatin and of course a decent shot of the strip at night. Everything else is iceing on the cake. I'll look into those other places you mentioned.

    Thanks again,

    Bob
    Bob

  8. #8
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricPvpi View Post
    Its a little bit further out (2 hr 45 minutes) but I recently did a side trip from Vegas to Zion and it was spectacular. Some pictures are posted here.
    http://community.the-digital-picture...ead.php?t=6777

    I haven't been to Valley of Fire. You also have Red Rock Canyon close by. If you look at some of the various tours that run out of Vegas (Pink Jeep Tours, etc) they might give an ideas of where to go. I probably wouldn't recommend a tour since they won't give much time for photos, but you can get some ideas on what is close.

    Next year I would like to head to Bryce and Grand Staircase.
    Thanks Eric, Red Rock is definately on my list to work in to the schedule. BTW----Nice series of shots.

    Thanks for the motivation and suggestions,

    Bob
    Bob

  9. #9
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
    Red Rock Canyon is a must and a very easy trip. You don't even need a full day. Death valley is also worth the journey, although our visit there only made me wish I had booked a room at the inn there so I could have more time.
    Thanks Mark, Cool Pano. and thanks for the reminder about taking a lunch (important stuff) and for Red Rock and Valley of Fire confirmations--Looks like both are definitely on my schedule.
    Bob

  10. #10
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    I went to Vegas a few years back. I spent most of my time playing street photographer. Vegas is king when it comes to finding strange things to shoot on the street.
    Funny you should say that HD, Since I don't game much, I selected Treasure Island as our Hotel since it has this cool little indoor/outdoor restuarant and bar that over looks the water feature and the strip. I am hoping the weather will permit me to sit outside for a little while with my camera and catch some of the people activity. I also do a lot of walking up and down the strip and plan to take my camera along whenever possible (disguised of course)


    Bob
    Bob

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