January 21, 2004
This is David Bert with another stop Along the
Jennifer Finlen, Park Ranger- I like this trail because it
has just a wide variety of things.
Valley of Fire Park Ranger Jennifer
Finlen knows that in this land of great hiking opportunities the newly
designated White Dome trail stands out as one of the most beautiful and diverse
trails within the Park. That beauty is in evidence the moment you begin the hike
down the trail where you'll see plenty of the bright red rocks that Valley of
Fire is known for.
Jennifer Finlen, Park Ranger- That's
true. That's how it got its name. But here in particular the different colors
come into play. You have all of the different reds and purples and yellows and
oranges and pinks. Colors that you would never expect to find on a trail such as
this. You come around the top of this hill and it's just beautiful. It takes
The first quarter mile is full of the colorful vistas
that you expect to see here in Nevada's first state park, but at the bottom of
the hill you'll find something that is completely unexpected.
Finlen, Park Ranger- This was left just kind of as a reminder, and as an
interpretive tool for the trail. Now when we have commercial photography out
here all they leave are footprints. They take out everything.
there are over 45 commercial photo shoots every year in the park this is the
only place where you'll see any remnants. Back in 1965 'The Professionals'
starring Burt Lancaster and Lee Marvin was filmed here. One of the walls of the
cantina set, complete with bullet holes, still remains. Opposite the wall is an
interpretive sign that gives a brief description of the history, past and
future, of filming here at Valley of Fire. This is the only sign on the
trail, but there is another way to learn more about the
Jennifer Finlen, Park Ranger- That's correct. We just
finished a brochure that you can pick up at the visitor's center. In that
brochure there's a detailed map with descriptions of various points along the
This relatively easy trail is only about 1 1/4 mile in
length and you could complete it in about half an hour. But why would you want
to? As you continue the hike you'll enter a wash just a few yards away from the
movie set. You really should take the time to look around here. The shorter
walls of the wash are basically cross-sections of the sandstone. They look like
those sand paintings you can buy in southwestern gift shops. Except this is
nature's artwork. If this were in a museum you wouldn't run through it. So why
not stop and ponder the beauty here. Other subtle geologic formations above you
are also in evidence. So take your time and look around. Then, less than a
hundred yards into the wash you come to a feature that you won't have to look
hard to find.
Jennifer Finlen, Park Ranger- At its narrowest point
it's 17 inches, and also it's 75 feet high. So if you can get a picture of that
it's absolutely beautiful. And I think this slot canyon is a perfect example of
the effects erosion has on our park.
This slot canyon isn't very
long, but it twists and turns in such a way that you can never see both the
entrance and the exit at the same time. Because of that it has a mystery and
magnificence well beyond its size. Take some time to explore this slot canyon.
As you walk back and forth you'll notice it has very different looks depending
upon which direction you're heading. As a matter of fact, if you have the time,
try exploring everything here. You never know what kind of treasure might be
lurking just off the trail.
Jennifer Finlen, Park Ranger... As you
exit the slot canyon if you take a left there's a narrow trail. It's just a
short jaunt up the hill and it will lead you to a beautiful arch that will be on
your right-hand side. It just takes you breath away. You have this massive slab
of rock on both sides and right in between there's this arch. It's pretty small,
but it's neat. It's not where you'd think it would be 'cause it's kind of in the
middle of nowhere. Just the different spirals and the colors throughout it are
Talk about jam-packed. We've only hiked half the trail.
There are still so many beautiful things that we have yet to see and discover.
Just to the right as you exit the slot canyon is a section of rock that in the
afternoon sun has such beautiful and colorful cross bedding that it's almost
impossible to describe. And as you continue on the trail you'll see many other
colorful formations. Some small and intimate others of massive proportions. And
lets not forget the plants and animals. As you move into more open ground plants
will start to appear in greater number, and in the spring when they bloom they
will wage a mighty battle with the geology for best of show. All this and you're
still not back to your car. I know they say that hiking the White Dome trail at
Valley of Fire will only take about half an hour, but for the life of me, I
can't imagine how they do it.
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