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Curtis Canyon Road - Northbound
Backroads Around Las Vegas

Badger Valley Road at Curtis Canyon Road (view NW)

Overview

Curtis Canyon Road (northbound) is a 16-mile dirt road that starts from Badger Valley Road in the southern end of Badger Valley and runs north over the East Pahranagat Range. Descending steeply over the other side, the road finally bends east and descends into the town of Alamo and US Highway 93. For information on driving the other directions, see Curtis Canyon Road (southbound).

The road runs through grand, open Mojave Desert Scrub vegetation full of Joshua trees and blackbrush, but at the highpoint in the East Pahranagat Range, the road touches the lower edge of Pinyon-Juniper Woodland zone where pinyon pine and juniper offer some shade.

The road normally is graded by Lincoln County because it provides free access for ranchers to publicly owned grazing lands. The road provides access to vast public lands, the Shooting Gallery Unit of Basin and Range National Monument, and an alternative way to the Tikaboo Peak trailhead.

Link to road map.


Starting north on Curtis Canyon Road (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ...this road is pretty safe, but be sure that your vehicle is in good working condition, carry plenty of water (radiator and drinking), and pack a lunch. Always drive carefully; even though the road is maintained, there are occasional hazards such as errant boulders on the roadway, washouts, and past the Shooting Gallery, the road descends two very steep sections that could be dangerous if the road is muddy - use good judgment.

While out, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. This road goes into remote areas, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials. Cell phones don't work along most of this road.


A spur to the right provides access to a water tank (view N)

Getting to the Road

Curtis Canyon Road (northbound) starts about 2 hours northeast of Las Vegas just west of the Pahranagat Valley.

From Las Vegas, drive north on Interstate 15 to US Highway 93. Exit onto Highway 93 and drive north towards Alamo. In the Pahranagat Valley, note the turnoff to Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, and continue north another 0.4 miles north of the visitor center turnoff to an unmarked dirt road (Milepost LN 32.2) on the left that goes under tall cottonwood trees. This is Badger Valley Road.

Turn left onto Badger Valley Road and drive west, then south, and finally northwest into Badger Valley. At about 13.6 miles out, Curtis Canyon Road forks to the right.


Curtis Canyon Road stays left; spur forks right (view N)

The Road

From Badger Valley Road (Table 1, Site 1142), Curtis Canyon Road runs north up through Badger Valley. When getting close to the towering ridge on the east (right) side of the valley, the road bends hard to the left (3.7 miles out) to run west.

Running west, Curtis Canyon Road quickly arrives at a T-intersection (Site 1829; 3.9 miles out). Here, Curtis Canyon Road turns right to head north, while another road runs straight west and eventually connects with Badger Valley Road.

Continuing north, Curtis Canyon Road winds across open, gentle terrain with mountain ridges on both sides. At about 6.1 miles out, the road arrives on a saddle in the Pinyon-Juniper Woodland zone. The gentle approach leaves drivers unprepared for the steep canyon that drops away to the north. On the saddle, a graded road to the right climbs steeply to a communications tower complex on the ridgeline to the east, and to the left a minor road runs west forming the southern boundary of the Shooting Gallery Unit of Basin and Range National Monument. From here until the steepness ends in Curtis Canyon Wash, everything to the left of the road is in the national monument.

Dropping over the ridgeline, the road begins descending, rapidly at times, into canyons to the north. At about 7.2 miles out, Curtis Canyon Road passes Shooting Gallery Road (Site 1124), on the left. Shooting Gallery Road provides access the the Shooting Gallery archaeological area, but is can be washed out and quite rough because it follows the wash down the canyon.

At Shooting Gallery Road, Curtis Canyon Road begins climbing over a ridge to the east. Just out of view, the road bends sharply around the ridge and descends steeply across the next hillside. From this high point, the road north can be seen disappearing into the distance.

After descending for some time, the road begins climbing over another ridge, this time to the west. The road climbs through a shallow canyon, then crests the ridge and begins a long, very steep descent that would not be safe if the road were muddy.

The road winds down steep S-curves and finally arrives in the bottom of Curtis Canyon (Site 1123; 10.2 miles out). As the now gentle road turns down the wash, the boundary of Basin and Range National Monument cuts back left to follow the south edge of the wash.

In the bottom of the canyon, the road curves right to head east and down the hill towards the bottom of Pahranagat Valley.

The road stays right (south) of the wash, but at about 12.0 miles out, the road curves sharply left to cross the wash. At the curve, a side road to the backside of Alamo forks right. Staying left, the main road crosses the wash and immediately bends right to resume heading downhill.

At 15.8 miles out, the dirt ends and the pavement begins, and at 15.9, Curtis Canyon Road (signed "Canyon" Road) ends at a T-intersection with Richardville Road (Site 1121). Richardville Road is the old Highway 93, and turning either way, north or south, leads drivers back to the modern Highway 93.


Curtis Canyon Road (view N)

Heading north approaching bend to the left (view N)

T-intersection (view W)

Curtis Canyon Road heading north again (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road at saddle (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road descends steeply (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road descends steeply (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road approaching Shooting Gallery Road (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road at Shooting Gallery Road (view N)
Curtis Canyon Road
Curtis Canyon Road at Shooting Gallery Road (view NW)
Curtis Canyon Road
Shooting Gallery Road (view NW from Curtis Canyon Road)

Curtis Canyon Road climbing beyond Shooting Gallery Road (view NE)

Curtis Canyon Road descends steeply (view E)

Curtis Canyon Road descends steeply (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road winds across high valley (view N)

Side road to comm towers merges from the right (view NW)

Curtis Canyon Road climbing in shallow canyon (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road climbing steeply again (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road approaching another saddle (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road starts by descending gently (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road descends steeply (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road descends steeply (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road descends gently (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road descends gently towards the sharp curve(view N)

Curtis Canyon Road cuts steeply left (view NW)

Curtis Canyon Road cuts steeply right (view SW)

Curtis Canyon Road in Curtis Wash (view N)

Curtis Canyon Road in Curtis Wash (view NE)

Curtis Canyon Road leaving the canyons (view E)

Curtis Canyon Road leaving the canyons (view E)

Curtis Canyon Road approaching Alamo town (view E)

Curtis Canyon Road approaching start of the pavement (view E)

Curtis Canyon Road entering Alamo town (view E)

Curtis Canyon Road approaching Richardville Road (view E)
Curtis Canyon Road
Curtis Canyon Road at Richardville Road (view E)
Curtis Canyon Road
Curtis Canyon Road street sign (view N)
More to come
More to come ...

Table 1. Highway Coordinates and Distances based on GPS Data (NAD27). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft)
1121 Curtis Canyon Road at Richardville Road 661675 4140078 37.39522 115.17357 3,504
1123 Curtis Canyon Road at Fork 652505 4139271 37.38950 115.27729 4,637
1124 Curtis Canyon Road at Shooting Gallery Road 653112 4135485 37.35529 115.27121 5,297
1142 Curtis Canyon Road at Badger Valley Road 655797 4125173 37.26194 115.24308 4,898
1829 Curtis Canyon Road at Cut-over Road 655041 4130883 37.31351 115.25041 5,361

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170715

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