Latitud 36.485523, Longitud -114.531312
Located east of Las Vegas, approximately one hour away is the Valley of Fire State Park in the Mojave Desert. I decided to visit this spot on the recommendation of certain members of the Las Vegas Astronomical Society, since they told me that east of Las Vegas the sky was better for astrography.
I was hesitant to visit this place, since I had planned my entire itinerary to visit Death Valley from the beginning, but the problem was that it was completely to the west, that is, from the opposite side. In the end I changed the itinerary and since it was more of a reconnaissance trip I decided to stop by and take a look.
Valley of Fire
This park is impressive: the Mojave Desert area abounds with large red rock formations. In fact, on the road to this valley there are several points of interest equipped with roofs, benches, tables and bathrooms where one can stop and even have a picnic. In fact, originally I was supposed to stay at a point called RedStone Dune Trail, which I must say is excellent but curiosity led me to visit the Valley Of Fire.
RedStone Dune Trail, Nevada
The desert view in conjunction with the numerous giant reddish rock formations is impressive. It is literally possible to park anywhere and wait for it to get dark and take astrophotography. Since it is a park, at night, not many cars pass by with their lights on to ruin our shots.
Where to stay
Apparently there is a campsite within the park, but I decided to stay in a nearby town called Overton Moapa Valley. Unfortunately this is a very small town so it doesn't have many options, however I managed to find an excellent motel, the North Shore Inn: the rooms are very good plus it has a pool. The bad thing is the price that for my taste given the area is very expensive, which is almost U.S. $ 100 dollars a night. There is another one, the "Plaza Motel", but although it's cheaper (US$60) you can immediately tell it's a low class motel.
During my stay I found a very pleasant surprise: in front of the North Shore Inn, there was a Mexican restaurant, La Fonda, which was not a small resto, it is a fit restaurant and for my taste they made a very good meal.
How to get there
There are two routes to get there from Las Vegas: from the back, taking Highway 15 towards Arrolime; the other option which was the route I took which is Highway 564 and then take Highway 167 which passes through Lake Mead. I recommend you to take this last one because this is where you can find several scenic spots like Redstone Dune Trail and Echo Bay. The trip takes about 1 hour.
The skies of Valley Of Fire
I don't know why I felt, even though the sky was more than suitable for astrophotography, that there was some light pollution because several photos came out with a lot of noise. It's also possible that it's because there were a lot of dust particles suspended in the sky. The place where I stopped to spend the night taking pictures is called "Petrified Logs", simply because there were some petrified logs. The good thing about this place is that it was a little far from the main road and there was plenty of room to park the truck.
The big problem that unfortunately came up, and I didn't expect it in general from the places I visited, was the strong winds. When I got out of the car I realized that the wind was blowing stronger than normal, so I was almost resigned to throwing in the towel and not taking an astrophotos that last night. However, I decided not to give up and went down under a small slope near where the petrified logs were, and for my luck that was enough to protect me from the wind and be able to take a picture.
If you go to this park, I recommend that you take something you can use as a wall to protect yourself from the strong winds that blow through these parts.