Located near the west entrance of the Valley of Fire State Park you will find Atlatl Rock showcasing a collection of petroglyphs on large sandstone rocks. The park has installed a metal staircase to help you get as close as possible to enjoy these ancient arts. NOTE: In the summer the staircase may be hot so watch out, especially if enjoying with little ones.
What is an Atlatl according to Wikipedia:
A spear-thrower or atlatl is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing and includes a bearing surface which allows the user to store energy during the throw.
It may consist of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The spear-thrower is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup. The dart is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist. The throwing arm together with the atlatl acts as a lever. The spear-thrower is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the dart over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.
Ancient tribes of people who lived in this area depicted in the 4,000-year-old petroglyphs that can be seen at Atlatl Rock.
Overview of Atlatl Rock Hike
This is more of a “let’s park the car and walk over to some stairs” instead of a hike. Because of this, I removed some of the “template information” I normally include for hikes.
Atlatl Rock Hike Information and Stats
Route Type: Out and Back
Distance: 0.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 16′
Hiking Time: 5 – 10 minutes (make it as long as you want but it’s a SHORT up and down)
Terrain: Metal staircase, which will be smoldering HOT in the summer
Accessibility: Easy to access from parking lot to staircase.
Atlatl Rock Parking Lot – you can see the limited number of parking spots and the covered picnic area.
Getting to Atlatl Rock
Trailhead address: Scenic Loop Road, Valley of Fire State Park, Overton, NV 89040
Coordinates: 36.4233° N, 114.5505° W
Directions: From Las Vegas, take I-15 North for ~35 miles to exit 75 (You will see brown signs for Valley of Fire State Park and Lake Mead National Recreation Area). At the end of the offramp, continue southeast on Valley of Fire Highway. Once you reach the park’s west entrance, drive another 1.8 miles and turn left onto Scenic Loop Road (Atlatl Campground Road), which will be the first paved road on the left, directly across from a gravel road to Petrified Logs Loop. Drive 1/2 mile, passing the entrance to Atlatl Rock Campground, and turn left into the parking area below Atlatl Rock.
Trailhead: There isn’t a “trailhead” – just a jaunt from the parking lot to the staircase.
Parking: Small parking lot – if you are there early you shouldn’t have issues finding a spot.
Fees: $10 fee for entering the Valley of Fire State Park. Click here to read about the Valley of Fire entrance fees.
Other Information About Atlatl Rock
Nearby you will also find an interpretive trail and the Atlatl Rock Campground, which has 43 campsites and 3 group campsites.
Cellular Service: ATT was a no go for me but my friend with Verizon had one bar
Kid Friendly: Yes
Dog-Friendly: Yes, must be kept on a leash when outside of your vehicle. Note that you will need to bring your own doggy bags as the park does not provide them. Click here to view top rated doggy waste bags (they smell like flowers!).
Other amenities: picnic tables, grills, trash cans, water spigots, vault toilets, and covered area.
What to Take on Your Hike to Atlatl Rock
Not much is needed for this “hike” to see the Atlatl Rock petroglyphs. If it’s a really hot day I would recommend taking the following to keep you from heating up too much. (BTW, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my thermal umbrella as it makes a considerable difference in keeping me cool.)
Atlatl Rock Photos
Valley of Fire Resources
- Valley of Fire State Park
- Valley of Fire Visitors Center
- Beehives at the Valley of Fire
- Lone Rock at Valley of Fire
- Seven Sisters at the Valley of Fire
- Atlatl Rock Campground
- Valley of Fire Group Campground
Online Reference and Resources for Atlatl Rock
- I am a hiking enthusiast and not an expert, the information shared here is from my personal experiences and research to share with others as a reference.
- All stats such as distances, elevations, elevation gains, ratings, and times are approximate based on mobile apps, GPS data, Google Earth, and other references compiled as a resource.
- Click here to view my current hiking diary of other trails for reference.