The Valley of Fire/Moapa Valley is located just 50 minutes outside of Las Vegas on I-15. The easiest way to access the park is by taking I-15 (Towards Utah) to the Moapa exit (also titled "Valley of Fire".)
Once there, the 1st thing you will encounter as a weary traveler is the Moapa Tribal Enterprises convenience store. Here you will find everything you need as a weary modern traveler, everything from cold sodas and beer, to snacks and cigarettes!
Since Moapa Tribal Enterprises (MTE) is located on the outer rim of the Paute indian reservation, all sales are *NOT* subject to Nevada state sales tax! (currently 7.25%) Also, CIGARETTE purchases are *NOT* subject to state and/or federal taxes! Imagine name brand cigarettes from $1 a pack! And as if THAT weren't enough, so called "illegal" fireworks can be purchased right off the shelf! (With the intention, of course, to be used on the reservation, as any other use would be unlawful.) Here you will find everything from sparklers and picolo pete's, to firecrakers, M-80's, and exploding rockets!
After you have had your fill of MTE, continuing down the same road will take you straight into the National Park. (Remember *NOT* to bring in any fireworks, as they are illegal in the National Park. Any ranger stopping you will *NOT* be your friend if he/she finds you in possession of fireworks).
The great State of Nevada charges for access to the park. For an all-day pass for one car (family), it is around $5 ($12 for a camping permit). There are collection centers located just inside the park on both major access routes, and camping fees are collected at the various camping sites.
Once legally inside the park, one can expect to find an area rich in history and abundant in ancient indian carvings. Several hiking trails have been maintained, and many areas have plaques that explain their historical significance to Nevada and the early trapping days of the old west.
Several picnic areas have also been erected, making the harsh Nevada desert a little more palatable. Bringing in a couple of packs of sunflower seeds will make for great fun feeding the local population of desert squirrels, and every now and then a desert rabbit will also take part in the ritual feeding!
If you plan on camping in the park, you will find some of the best camping facilities ever erected in such a remote location. Full restrooms (plummed with electricity!), and even showers. Although not exactly like a 5 star hotel, the showers at the campgrounds are clean and nothing is better after setting up your tent in the hot summer sun than a nice shower and a fresh change of clothes! There is even soap provided in case you forgot to bring in your own!
Although a little "out-of-the-way", Valley of Fire/Moapa Valley can be a great, inexpensive, fun-filled day for the entire family.
A must see for any family visiting or passing through Las Vegas, and definately a great alternative to the ritualistic feeding of the one-armed bandit!