Three years ago after having done most of the official trails I started systematically exploring the entire length of Valley of Fire State Park. Fun was the highest priority, but making an effort to connect all my hikes over time was a secondary goal. It was really about getting to know the landscape. This will be the first of numerous blog entries about those outings and combines three different trips. I’m still not done exploring so I don’t know how many there will be, but I’ve covered most of the distance now from from north to south along the main chain of high rock features.
The far northern section of Valley of Fire State Park overlaps with an OHV or Off-Road recreation area called the Logandale Trail System. While the first part of this system of over 200 miles of trails is basically a gravel road, it quickly turns into high-clearance-only deep sand and rocky canyon roads. Some of the roads in the system are clearly only for ATV’s or Jeeps. Additionally, the condition of the roads change over time. As the area has become more popular over the years I have found some roads are borderline beyond the capability of my stock 4Runner, whereas in past years the same roads were not a problem. I destroyed my skid plate on one of those. As a bonus, the official trail system has a couple of locations of outstanding petroglyphs.
The OHV trail system goes through and around a miles long section of high sandstone fins. Over three trips to this area I traversed about 4 miles of the maze from south to north and also bisected the high walls from west to east. It was extremely complicated to the point that on my second large trip when I connected to my previous hike, I didn’t recognize where I was until I saw my own footprints in the sand from 18 days earlier. Then I turned around I finally recognize the view as the farthest I’d hiked that other time. That was also some good evidence of how infrequently this area sees any foot traffic. There were no other footprints in the area except the ones I put there nearly 3 weeks earlier!
These pictographs are along the bottom of a cool arch!
There are a ton of glyphs and they continue up the side canyon in the background.
Delicate carvings are scattered all over.
If you like technical wilderness hiking and enjoy overcoming many obstacles and puzzles this area has a lot to offer. I probably covered 4 miles of terrain if you don’t count all my back and forth and dead ends but I could probably go back gain and travel the same area in completely different mini canyon between high fins of sandstone.
In south area of the system is this huge sand hill. It was a pain in the butt trudging through the sand up to the top.