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How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

1 post
How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

Hey everyone, so I plan to go to Vegas for my 21st with my boyfriend and my family. It's in August. I'm already making an itinerary as we speak. I have the first day down but the second day is important, because it's the day before my birthday and on the eve of it, there's a meteor shower that I want to see that always comes on that day. More specifically the second day of my trip will be August 11, my birthday is at August 12, and the meteor shower starts at 12 AM August 12. I found a park called Valley of Fire National Park that is a one hour drive from Vegas. I'm thinking of starting the drive there at 11 and parking just to see it. Will I be able to enter the park around this hour? What safety precautions do I have to keep in mind? Have any of you been to the park at midnight to see the stars and do you have any advice for me? Is it just driving there, paying for parking, parking, seeing the meteor shower, then leaving? Are there any tips for this? Thank you for reading.

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10 replies to this topic
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
Level Contributor
15,823 posts
7 reviews
1. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

Valley of Fire closes at sunset unless you’re in one of the campgrounds.

Maybe email this local astronomy club and ask about viewing suggestions?

Indianapolis,IN
Level Contributor
6,225 posts
2. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

Dave is correct about the park hours. Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes if you’re in the desert at night (rattlesnake country ). Good luck !

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
Level Contributor
15,823 posts
7 reviews
3. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

Sorry, the link would have helped!

http://www.lvastronomy.com

Topeka, Kansas
Level Contributor
18,607 posts
65 reviews
4. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

Tonopah is the Star Gazing Capitol of the World, and I can tell you it is truly the darkest place we've ever been to witness the stars! That being said...it is a 3 hour drive North of Vegas on Highway 95 (easy drive but long). There are several motels there, but I doubt you want to spend your birthday in Tonopah ;)

There are several areas around Vegas and up by Mesquite where you will have light polution from the city, but the area is a much closer drive and you can still see the shower. I personally think the area out around Red Rock is nice. UNLV might have a Summer program....know they've had them in the past along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Wherever you go, I hope you have time to post a note when you return since I am interested to hear about your experience :)

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
58 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

Actually go to Nelson Nevada about 45 minutes south of Vegas towards hoover dam. There is a little store a couple houses and not much else. It is all BLM land but not a park and as dark as dark can be. There is a good area to pull over and star gaze

Vista, California
Level Contributor
3,436 posts
1 review
6. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

"... and the meteor shower starts at 12 AM August 12."

For what it's worth meteor showers don't start at a specific time. They are simply best after midnight due to your local positioning on the earth. Note that due to daylight savings time the best time is actually after 1am, but you will see meteors anytime after dark.

As suggested contact an astronomy group to see where they're going. An added benefit is there will often be telescopes there which some people will let you look through. Not for the meteors, but for example Saturn and Mars will be out.

Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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7. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

The Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings has stargazing events with telescopes. Several tour operators offer this event, but you could also just drive out there.

Roughly the same distance from Vegas as Valley of Fire(and a bit cooler due to being over 4000 feet) is the Mojave Preserve at Cima Road. It is incredibly dark out there, the only light is a gas station out off I-15. Park at the Mojave Cross picnic area or at the old cattle corrals.

Another great place if you drive is Dante's View near Death Valley.

I'm in Beatty and Tonopah every August for the Vegas to Reno off road race, and have seen some great Perseids meteor showers at that time of year. Instead of staying in a motel. I usually opt to sleep on the race car trailer under the stars.

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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8. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

Your date of August 12 also coincides with a new moon, so it will be nice and dark.

https:/…august

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
10,297 posts
11 reviews
9. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

I have driven south from Vegas on the I-15 about 50 - 60 miles to the middle of nowhere. I pull off the highway at one of the freeway exits, and simply pull over and park. You are in the middle of the desert, with minimal light pollution.

Bring soft drinks and snacks.

Chicago, Illinois
1 post
10. Re: How do I go from Vegas to Valley of Fire to see the stars?

Lots of good suggestions here. I'll add mine.

The night sky is incredible in Death Valley National Park, which is about a two-hour drive from the strip. A few miles from the west entrance, there are two lodgings, the Oasis at Death Valley (luxury) and Stovepipe Wells Village (clean, more for families). When you stay there, at night, you can drive a few miles in any direction and just pull over for watching, or you can go to some popular watching spots about 15 minutes away from the lodges. It is so worth taking this side trip for a night or two. The stars and Milky Way are phenomenal on most nights up there.

Also, you may wish to consider Great Basin National Park, which is about a four-hour drive from Vegas, near the Utah border. It's actually designated a Dark Star Park, of which I think there's only a dozen or so in the world. The park doesn't have lodging, but there are some BnBs and motels nearby.

Hope this helps. Enjoy!

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