Hacienda Movie Set ruins from the movie The Professionals

White Domes Loop Trail in Valley of Fire

White Domes Trail Head The White Domes Loop Trail is an awe-inspiring hike located in the Valley of Fire State Park. This scenic route will show you the true beauty of the desert. Red rocks, white domes, and wide ranges of desert dotted only by distant hills and desert plants. The crags of yellow and red sandstone jut from the earth like giant teeth, which casted our van in a long shadow as we pull up and parked the car near the trailhead. To make it from Las Vegas to the trailhead is about an hour and a half, being just under 60 miles away. According to the website, to enter Valley of Fire State Park the following fees apply: Day use entrance fee:  $10.00 per vehicle (Non-NV Vehicles: $15.00 per vehicle) Camping:  $20.00 per vehicle, per night (Non-NV Vehicles: $25.00 per vehicle, per night) + 10.00 for sites with utility hook ups Bike in:  $2.00 per bike White Domes Trail marker As we were only hiking, we paid the resident $10.00 fee. I forgot to inquiry about ADA fees as we have an Interagency Access Pass which provides admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five Federal agencies. However, upon later research the federal cards are not accepted for state parks. Also, per a number of signs posted at the entrance. When I called the offices of the State Parks, I was informed that presenting proof of disability would qualify for a $1.00 discount. Hey, a dollar’s a dollar. Next time, we will show our placard and the accompanying letter to see if that will be enough to save that sweet, sweet dollar. As we exited the van, the wind swept by, pulling at our clothes and whistling through my hair and beard. Grains of the red and yellow sand tried their hardest to get into my eyes, and many succeeded. The trail starts as a sandy hill, reminiscent of the Mouse’s Tank Trail (also in Valley of Fire). Scrambling down to the Movie Set The hill is a mild incline, which can be a little challenging on the knees. As we crested the hill, we could see the descent was a little precarious. We traversed rocky steps of sand-covered stones. WATCH YOUR STEP! Amber and Merlin were able to make it down the hill okay. The descent was tricky and required some scrambling. If you are a disabled hiker, know your limit and take your time. If climbing down is difficult or you find yourself tired at the base of the stairs, it was our experience to proceed with the hike and finish the loop, rather than turning around and going back up. After the hill and stone steps, the rest of the hike ranges from mild to moderate in effort. If you have toddlers or younger, I would suggest using a baby backpack. A front baby carrier would not be optimal, as it obscures your feet from view. Backpacks are the way to go. Kids 6 and above should have little to no trouble with the trail. Both of my daughters were able to make it down with no aid. Sign describing The Professionals movie set At the bottom of the stone stairs is what remains of the Hacienda Set from The Professionals (1966). The next leg of the journey was a short descent into a dry riverbed. Following the riverbed led to a small sandstone canyon. As the walls of the canyon crowded in around us on either side, we noticed the holes in the walls. The deep grooves worn away by the wind over countless years, left behind skeletal like eyes and yawning mouths. It reminded me of the Kodama spirits from Princess Mononoke (1997). Hacienda Movie Set ruins from the movie The Professionals The trail then started to loop around, and we saw some taking vistas of red and yellow rock. The valley is truly beautiful when you get to see so much of it at the same time. The landscape was dotted with hills, bright red and yellow rocks, some distant white domes, and native plants. Its easy to imagine you’ve stepped back in time. One last ascent up some stone steps and we found ourselves walking along the road back up to the parking lot.  It may behoove you to utilize the parking spaces down here instead of the handicap parking near the trail head. We were pretty winded after the hike and the last little hill to our parking spot took some effort. Side view of The Professionals movie set ruins The Loop is only a mile, but it is a moderate effort with stone stairs and mild scrambling over rocks. Keep to the trail and look for the signs. Tempting as the other canyons and dry riverbeds may be, stay on the trail, lest you leave your bones to bleach in the sun on the desert floor. This trail is not wheelchair friendly. If you use mobility dogs, braces, or canes may you may find this route difficult. The views are absolutely worth it.  There is a nice covered-picnic table area if you wish to stop for a packed lunch. Can’t wait to go back!
Trail: 4/5 Merlins
Varied terrain, points of interest. An enjoyable and not at all boring hike.
Access: 2.5/5 Merlins
Not wheelchair friendly. Moderate-Slightly Difficult at the beginning for compression knee braces or for limited mobility such as braces or canes.

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