Valley of Fire is located 50 mi (80 km) northeast of Las Vegas, at an elevation between 2,000–2,600 ft (610–790 m). It abuts the Lake Mead National Recreation Area at the Virgin River confluence. It lies in a 4 by 6 mi (6.4 by 9.7 km) basin.
Complex uplifting and faulting of the region, followed by extensive erosion, have created the present landscape. The rough floor and jagged walls of the park contain brilliant formations of eroded sandstone and sand dunes more than 150 million years old. Other important rock formations include limestones, shales, and conglomerates.