White Domes Road. Or is it Mouse's Tank Road? The sign near the visitor center at Valley of Fire State Park says White Domes Road. But Google Maps lists it as Mouse's Tank Road. Mouse's Tank is indeed a stop off of this road, so it could be... But for me, I had to call it something, so I chose White Domes Road. Makes more sense as the White Domes lays at the opposite end. But it really doesn't matter anyway. Just drive it. You won't worry too much about what it's called once you start.
On my first day at Valley of Fire, I decided to take a drive to scout out where many of the sites I planned on filming are located. Well known sites like the Fire Wave, Mouse's Tank, and the White Domes (to name a few) are located off of this out-and-back road that stretches for several miles beyond the visitor center.
As I started the initial ascent up a hill that cuts directly through the jagged, fiery-red sandstone hills (or perhaps miniature mountains), I knew within moments that this was something special.
At this point I almost need to pitch the video I made so you can understand the effect that the initial climb has. I struggle with words a bit. You might want to just stop reading this and watch it instead.
But for those that prefer the written word, let's continue. As you get to the peak of the first hill and come up and over it, you may hear the sound of an angelic choir somewhere in the back of your head. At that point, you'll see the road meandering left and right, and up and down over gently rolling hills, through the most fantastic red, Martian-looking landscape you might ever see during your time on this earth.
It's one of the most beautiful moments I've had. Granted, I'm drawn to red rocks for some reason. Maybe for you, it would be pretty neat, but not have the same effect? I doubt it, but whatever your flavor, it's something to behold.
And I know I'm not the only one. I can't tell you how many times on that trip I saw wedding parties pulled over on the side of the road, taking photos in this location. How many Lamborghinis, Ferraris, or other crazy cars parked, with the owners (or maybe renters), posing for an epic photo. I know you can rent extreme sports cars in nearby Vegas, so I assume this might be a destination for those drivers.
There are many pull-offs in the early section of the road, and I stopped at every single one. Each one had a picture-worthy moment. You'll want to be sure to take advantage of those when you visit too.
As you proceed down the road, you'll first pass Mouse's Tank, and then shortly after passing Rainbow Vista, the landscape opens up and you'll be able to see even further off in the distance. You'll witness rolling fields of smooth sandstone formations, all very gentle in color, floating away into the distance, as if they were ships frozen in time. These are scenes that somehow just relax the mind, shutting off the endless internal monologues we all carry. Those voice ceaselessly reminding us of stuff we have to do or worry about day after day. Poof! All gone. The scene before you just takes you away.
You'll forget about drivers honking their horns, trying to speed around you to get to where they desperately want to go. Here, everyone drives slowly, savoring the views. Motorcyclists pass by flashing peace signs instead of middle fingers.
Everyone here is cool like Fonzie. Bad moods are not allowed.
As you drive down the more open sections of the road, you'll pass by many of my favorite places. At one point you'll come across a parking lot, simply named parking lot # 1. I rarely see any cars there. Guessing it is overflow parking for the busiest of days or something like that. Be sure to stop at places like that to snap a few photos or go explore a bit off the beaten path. It's part of the whole experience!
After a while, you'll eventually see the parking lot for the Fire Wave. At this point you'll see more craggly-looking red rock formations off in the distance.
If you're lucky enough to be around near sunset like I was my first time, I'm sure you'll agree that some of the best views to be had are around here, facing north.
Not far after the Fire Wave parking area, you'll round a couple corners and before you know it, you'll be at the end of the road. The road ends at the White Domes Loop Trail parking lot. Just like everywhere else, this area has many picture-worthy moments. Some of the best the Mohave Desert has to offer.
After my very first drive down the road, I knew that a new tradition had formed. Anytime I visit Valley of Fire in the future, the first thing I'll do after settling in is to take the drive down White Domes Road around sunset.
Call me obsessive, but during my almost week-long, first visit to Valley of Fire, I made the drive down White Domes many times. If you ever visit, and if you have the time, you should do the same, at least once during your visit. Just drive. Don't stop. Just enjoy. And don't worry. Clear your mind and let the open road be your guide.