While Silica Dome is normally just a short hike from its parking area, accessing the geologic feature this way allows you to make a half-day adventure out of it. Along this route, you'll experience rugged, towering sandstone and the famous Mouse's Tank as an appetizer to the main course: Silica Dome.
This hike utilizes parts of both established trails and unmaintained canyon washes through Valley of Fire State Park. As such, it's a good idea to bring the Hiking Project mobile app
with you to make sure you take the correct turns and stay on course.
Expect to have to scramble and squeeze through some relatively tight spots along this route.
This hike is best done in the cooler months of the year, as the temperatures can be searing during the heat of the summer.
Starting from the Mouse's Tank Trail
Parking Area, follow the trail as it meanders along a sandy bottom amidst bulges of large, overhanging red sandstone. Follow the trail to Mouse's Tank and enjoy this natural wonder.
Once you're ready to continue, follow the route down into Fire Canyon Wash. There is no obvious entry into Fire Wash - climb up to the left of Mouse's Tank, and then scramble back down hill into the Wash. Be cautious - a fall is possible.
When hiking here April 2021, we came to a blockage about one mile in. A huge boulder blocks the slot canyon. A very small person might squeeze under it, but most cannot. There is also about a 10 (?) foot drop behind the boulder so this may be impassible for many hikers. You can return to the trailhead and the partial hike is still a great experience with gorgeous views, some scrambling, some rabbit-holing.
You can access Silica Dome from the parking area on Fire Canyon Road and hike up the dome from there. If you get through the blockage, once you're roughly 1.7 miles from the trailhead (as mapped). At this point, the wash will continue to the right, but you're going to want to head left (north). From here, the wash climbs through rockier and more narrow terrain to eventually reach the parking lot for Fire Canyon Overlook at 2.78 miles (as mapped).
Once you've caught your breath, meander over to the road and follow the route right to reach Silica Dome and gorgeous, 360-degree panoramas of your surroundings. Once you've had your fill of the views and your trail snacks, you can either retrace your steps back to the car or follow Fire Canyon Road (AKA Rainbow Vista Road) to Mouse's Tank Road and the parking area for an easier return.
There is not much in the way of flora. The area is very dry and barren with mostly rocks