Moapa Valley is a little gem in the southern Nevada desert, edged between Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Valley of Fire State Park. Made up of a series of alluring communities—Overton, Logandale, Glendale and Moapa—this is where you’ll also find the Muddy River, a tributary of the Colorado River system that empties into the expansive Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Various occupants have made the valley home for centuries, but archaeologists have found evidence of both Pueblo and Paiute civilizations that used the Moapa Valley. Interestingly, the Anasazi people lived in this region nearly 12,000 years ago and used the valley as their westernmost outpost. Here, they constructed their homes out of mud to create hive-like structures, which made for some interesting villages. The largest, known as the Lost City was comprised of an astounding 94 rooms. Although many of these fascinating villages were swallowed up by the gargantuan Lake Mead, their replicas can be toured at the Lost City Nevada State Museum in Overton today.
Walk along the path that winds through an oasis for an enchanting stroll through a spring and stream system where dragonflies and birds can be observed. Hike the half-mile-long Loop Trail to the overlook structure to take in the panoramic view of the wildlife refuge, the adjacent Warm Springs Natural Area, and the surrounding mountains.
World-renowned for its 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone, Valley of Fire State Park contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. A Visitor Center provides exhibits on the geology, ecology, prehistory and history of the park and nearby region. The park also hosts an Annual Atlatl Competition in which participants test their skills with replicas of ancient spears. Open year round, the park has numerous campsites equipped with shaded tables, grills and water, as well as many intriguing trails to tempt hikers.
Located 45 minutes from Mesquite, this family farm converts into a fun, wholesome collection of season activities including a cleared maze through a real cornfield, horseback riding, a petting zoo, zombie paintball, pumpkin patch and more. Seasonal during October 5 thru October 28, 2019.
Valley of Fire consists of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone mountains. The sandstone is from the Jurassic period and is the remnant of the sand left behind by the wind after inland seas subsided and the land rose. Early man moved into southern Nevada as far back as 11,000 years ago. The most obvious evidence of occupation is the petroglyphs carved into the rocks by the Basket maker culture about 2,500 years ago, followed later by the Early Pueblo culture. Paiutes were living in this area in 1865 when Mormons settled at nearby St. Thomas at the south end of the Moapa Valley. Farming, ranching and mining occurred in the region along a narrow stretch of water.
A rough road was built through this area in 1912 as part of the Arrowhead Trail, connecting Salt Lake City with Los Angeles. This road allowed people to travel through what became known as Valley of Fire. In the 1920s the name was coined by an AAA official traveling through the park at sunset. This person purportedly said that the entire valley looked like it was on fire; hence the name. It was also during the 1920s that the archeological richness and recreational possibilities of the area were recognized and about 8,500 acres of federal public domain, the original Valley of Fire tract, were given to the State of Nevada.
In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the first facilities and campgrounds in the park. On Easter Sunday in 1934, Valley of Fire was formally opened as Nevada’s first state park. However, the park didn’t receive its legal designation from the Nevada State Legislature until the body convened in 1935. Since then, the park has grown to its present size of more than 40,000 acres of multi-colored rock displaying a varied array of shapes and textures.
The peaceful Moapa Valley has been a fertile area not only for farmers but also for archaeologists and other lovers of the ancient past. In the 1920s a startling discovery came to light in the fields around Overton, the remnants of an ancient Pueblo culture that became known as the Lost City.
The Lost City Museum was built of adobe by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the 1930s as Lake Mead slowly formed behind Hoover Dam, covering some sites as the water level rose. Today the museum presents displays and artifacts ‚ baskets, pottery, weapons, and food ‚ that tell of the valley's early residents, some of whom were farmers themselves, and how the people mysteriously left the valley about 1150 A.D.
The Valley of Fire became Nevada's first state park in 1935. The visitor center in the middle of the park has information, books, gifts, and exhibits on the area's unique geology. Attractions include petrified logs and many scenic vistas. Ancient Indian petroglyphs or rock writings can be seen at two locations: Atlatl Rock, named for a spear-throwing weapon depicted on the rock, and Petroglyph Canyon. The latter has a trail that leads to Mouse's Tank, which served as the hideout of a reclusive Paiute in 1897. Visitors will find such beautifully eroded landmarks as Elephant Rock, the Seven Sisters, and the Beehives.
The Valley of Fire is 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and State Route 169, which were once part of the historic Arrowhead Trail. The park is 12 miles south of Overton by State Route 169. The Moapa Tribal Store, located at the Valley of Fire exit, provides a tour stop for Indian art, crafts and a smoke shop. The Valley of Fire also can be reached by the North Shore Road, which follows the edge of Lake Mead northward from the Hoover Dam area.