Just the names "Valley of Fire" and "Red Rock Canyon" spark imagination and beckon exploration. Be sure to gas up you vehicle as fuel stations are few and far between.
Valley of Fire State Park is just about an hour's drive from downtown Las Vegas and conveniently located midway along a circle route which includes the Lost City Museum in Moapa Valley. After a straight 55-mile shot up I-15, take a right on Hwy 167, Valley of Fire Highway. Wind your way through the aptly named Muddy Mountains and enter through the west entrance station ($10/vehicle).
Several loop roads enter and exit onto 167, affording you fantastic views of spectacularly colored rock formations called the Beehives. Tucked in between formations are secluded campsites ($10/night or $20 with RV hookups). Stop in at the visitors center for an introduction to the rich prehistoric history and geology of the region.
Many stops along the winding park road treat visitors to view of colorful rocks and intricate, detailed petroglyphs or rock art.
To complete your circle route, continue on through the park and head north on 169 through the Moapa Valley about 9 miles to the Lost City Museum in Overton. If you didn't take a picnic lunch to enjoy at Valley of the Fire, there are several good lunch spots in right in Overton.
Lost City Museum is a treasure trove of both prehistoric and historic artifacts beautifully displayed within a traditional adobe building. The museum is situated at a prehistoric Pueblosite and incorporates some of the ruins within the museum to protect them.