The 1.1 mile White Domes Trail
is probably the most popular hike in Valley of Fire State Park
since it is easy, a loop rather than one-way, and passes a good variety of scenery including many colorful rock formations of Aztec sandstone, and a short though pretty section of slot canyon, this along Kaolin Wash
a seasonal drainage which downstream continues through more photogenic terrain, through Pastel Canyon
and past Fire Wave. One other feature of incidental interest is remains of a movie set, a stone/adobe wall with protruding timbers, constructed for the 1966 film The Professionals
. Elevation change is minimal along the trail and the hike can be completed in less than an hour, even with plenty of stops for photographs.
The starting point for the White Domes hike is at the north end of the scenic drive, six miles from the visitor center. Spaces are limited and all can fill up by mid-morning at some popular times of the year. Like all trails in the park, dogs are permitted, on leashes of not more than six feet.
Anti-clockwise is suggested direction for the hike, and the path starts off by heading north, parallel to the road for a few hundred feet then turning west, through a little pass and into a wide sandy basin where it bends to the south, heading towards a gap between a wall of dark red sandstone and the undulating white domes after which this area is named. The path soon enters the white rock area and follows a minor gully which leads to the larger drainage of Kaolin Wash. Here the Prospect Trail branches off to the west, following the wash upstream and eventually meeting a spur road near Atlatl Rock, while the White Domes route turns downstream and immediately enters the slot canyon, which although only around 200 feet long is deep and enclosed enough for nice patterns of reflected sunlight. The narrows open out equally abruptly to a section lined by stripy, pastel-colored rocks, in the middle of which the path turns north, past the old movie set, and climbs gently over sand and slickrock, up a flight of steps at one point, back to the parking area.