Rainbow Vista is a short trail in Valley of Fire State Park. The hike is popular for its sweeping panoramic views of bright red and orange rock formations and canyons.

Rainbow Vista Trail Hiking Guide – Valley of Fire State Park

The best thing about going to Las Vegas is not actually spending any time in Las Vegas. One of the sprawling desert city’s best known secrets is actually about an hour north outside of Las Vegas and called Valley of Fire State Park. This 40,000 acre state park is Nevada’s oldest and is popular for its vibrant reddish orange rock formations and twisting valleys, canyons, and washes. The bright red rocks mark a stunning island amidst the typical beige color of the surrounding desert landscape. The rocks are a remnant of Aztek standtone dated back to the Jurassic Period. As time elapsed, ancient seas, wind, and rising land mass exposed the bright red rocks for us to see and enjoy (1). Historically the Valley of Fire area has been home to several cultures that have settled the area. The earliest known civilization is the Basketmaker culture with evidence of their settling dating back to around 2,500 years ago. The Basketmaker gave way to the Pueblo and then the Paiute. Eventually the Mormons settled in the area in the mid-1800s. Native American culture can still be seen in the park in the form of petroglyphs that are scattered throughout the area. The hike to Rainbow Vista is a short out and back trail. The trail winds through red sand and scattered rocks before reaching a vibrant and stunning overlook to the southwest of Fire Canyon Wash.

On A Personal Note:

The trail winds through red sand and scattered rocks before reaching a vibrant and stunning overlook to the southwest of Fire Canyon Wash. Near the trail’s termination is a wind created arch through the solid sandstone. It is one of many arches formed throughout the area. Valley Of Fire State Park is a great place to visit if you happen to be near the Las Vegas area. There are many short trails and they can all be paired together for more mileage. For a list of other things to do in the park, check out the Guide To Exploring Valley Of Fire. Sources:1. N.a. “History of Valley of Fire State Park.” Nevada State Parks. http://parks.nv.gov/learn/park-histories/valley-of-fire-history. Accessed 25 March 2022.

  • Overall Difficulty: 35% 35%
  • Overall Views: 95% 95%
Rainbow Vista Trail Quick Facts:
  • Max Elevation: 2,152 feet.
  • Elevation Gain:  121 feet.
  • Estimated Distance: 1.1 miles.
  • My Actual Distance: 1.1 miles.
  • Estimated Time: 20-60 minutes.
  • My Time: 28 minutes; 35 minutes total.
Rainbow Vista Trail Directions:

Open in maps. The Rainbow Vista trail is located on the east side of Mouse’s Tank Road. There is a $10 day fee to enter for NV license plates. All other states are $15. For overnight fees please check the Valley of Fire State Park website. Nevada annual state park permits are also accepted.

Rainbow Vista Trail Pictures:
Who Rainbow Vista Trail Is For:

Novice Hikers: This is a great trail for new hikers or those with limited hiking experience. The trail is short enough for families as well. Advanced Hikers: This trail is no challenge. Pair several short hikes together in the area for a full day of hiking. Expert Hikers: Same as above. It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.

Best Time Of Year To Hike Rainbow Vista Trail:

The best time to hike this trail is from mid-fall into the winter and towards mid-Spring. Outside of mid-spring the days just get hotter and hotter until summer and eventually cool towards the back half of fall. During the summer it’s not uncommon for summer temperatures to be anywhere from 100-120 degrees F. 

Annual rainfall tends to be an average of no more than six inches of rain at best. The bulk of the rain comes from rare passing winter storms and monsoonal thunderstorms during the summer. On a rare winter day it can snow here but it’s usually short lasting. Summer monsoons bring about other problems than just rain: lightning. If dark clouds are approaching and the sound of thunder is in the air seek shelter immediately. This trail is completely exposed and it is never a good idea to be out in the open when lightning is present.It’s always a good idea to check the weather before heading out on a hike.

Rainbow Canyon Trail Conditions:
The Rainbow Vista trail is in excellent condition and maintained by the Nevada State Park service. After a heavy thunderstorm it is possible for the trail to become slightly washed out but it will otherwise be fine. The hike is primarily through soft sand with some areas of worn sandstone and rocks as the wash overlook nears. Being that this is a desert environment, keep an eye out for rattlesnakes.