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Coyote Loop Trail at Corn Creek Station
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Coyote Loop Trail
Coyote Trail
Visitor Center (view E)

Overview

The Coyote Loop Trail is a 0.6-mile ADA compliant trail that loops through the Corn Creek area. Corn Creek has been a birdwatching destination for decades, and now the Coyote Trail opens a bit of this area to persons in wheel chairs or with other walking issues, plus families with children in strollers. The trail has interpretive signs describing the ecology and human history of the area.

Corn Creek is a tiny spot of green in a vast sea of desert-dry Mojave Desert Scrub. Springs provide water that supports trees, lush vegetation, desert wildlife, and even humans over the last few thousands of years. The ancients left their marks on the land, but most evidence of human use derives from pioneer and more recent times.

Link to Trail Map.

Coyote Trail
Visitor Center (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a safe hike if hikers stay on the trails as requested by refuge management.

The Coyote Loop Trail is fairly level, although the first half generally is downhill, and the second half generally is uphill. The surfacing is smooth and looks like frozen mud, making one feel unsure about the footing on cold winter mornings. There are several benches where people can stop and rest.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Even though this trail is short, bring what you need of the 10 Essentials. Also, this is a wildlife refuge, so pay extra attention to respecting the land and wildlife.

Coyote Trail
Use the front porch to bypass Visitor Center (view E)

Getting to the Trailhead

The Coyote Trail is located northwest of Las Vegas on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, about 30 minutes northwest of downtown Las Vegas, at the Corn Creek Visitor Center.

The Hike

From the Visitor Center, hikers can walk through the Visitor Center and out the back of the building, or they can walk around outside the Visitor Center (through the doorway leading to the rest rooms and drinking water) to the northeast (far) corner of the building.

A few steps beyond the building, the concrete trail arrives at a trail junction with an information kiosk. Here, the Coyote trail turns left and runs north to the cement pond. From the bridge over the inflow stream, hikers can look out over the water hoping to see ducks, dragonflies, and perhaps a few thirsty birds or even a Great Blue Heron.

Coyote Trail
Trail departing the Visitor Center (view NE)

Just over the bridge, the trail reaches a signed trail junction. The Coyote Trail turns left (northwest), while the Jackrabbit Trail turns right (east) and loops back to the Visitor Center.

Continuing to the left, the Coyote Trail wraps around the east and north sides of the Cement Pond, passing a viewing area with benches overlooking the water.

Just beyond the Cement Pond, the Coyote Trail reaches another signed trail junction. Notice the coyote in the bushes on the right! At this point, the Coyote Trail forks and begins to make a loop. My habit is to continue straight looking for birds along the stream, but it is a loop, so hikers can take the loop in either direction.

Continuing straight, the trail winds down along the Cement Pond outflow stream. The trail starts on the north side, then crosses a bridge to the south side.

Coyote Trail
Information sign at trail junction (view NE)

Beyond the bridge, the trail enters the old orchard where trees planted by the original homesteaders still produce some fruit. The old trees aren't in very good shape, but look for fig, pomegranate, apple, and other fruit trees. Fruit trees have recently been planted in the historic orchard to better replicate what the early homesteaders might have harvested. Notice that the largest pecan tree in Nevada sits adjacent to the trail. Here, along the stream with shrub thickets to the north and fruit trees to the south, is a good place to watch birds.

Continuing along the stream, the trail crosses a bridge to the north side of the stream and arrives at a platform with bench and a telescope. Sit a spell and listen to the running water and the birds.

The area ahead is the old pasture, but with stream water now flowing out there, cattails, invasive Common Reed, invasive Common Sunflower, and other marsh plants are taking over.

Beyond the pasture, the trail climbs an embankment that was part of the a dike around historic Ponds 2 and 3, now drained. The old ponds are growing in with cattails, willows, and cottonwood trees, and a bridge over a wet area leads to the far side of the old ponds.

Coyote Trail
Hiker looking into Cement Pool (view N)

Across the ponds, the trail forks. The Coyote Trail turns right, while the trail to the left follows a dirt road left to the Birdsong Trail.

Staying on the Coyote Trail, hikers pass historic Pond 2 and shortly arrive at the Pahrump Poolfish Refugium, a big aquarium (two side-by-side tanks) where some of the last Pahrump Poolfish cling to life after their spring over in Pahrump dried up when developers took too much groundwater. It is nice that people cared enough to collect the last of the poolfish and keep them alive in this and a few other refuge areas. Signs explain the fish and their plight.

Just beyond the poolfish refugium, the trail forks again. To the left a few yards lies the historic Railroad-tie Cabin. The cabin has been somewhat restored, and visitors can look through the windows to see the restored interior and what it might have looked like when people lived here. Lucky visitors might find the door unlocked. The Honey Mesquite trees around the cabin provide good habitat for migrant warblers and resident Verdins.

Coyote Trail
Bridge of inflow stream (springs to the right; view N)

Back on the main trail, the Coyote Trail runs up over a low hill shaded with black locust and Siberian elm trees. To the right are picnic tables. The trail continues down the other side of the hill and passes the Bighorn Trail, which comes in from the left at a T-intersection and arrives at yet another T-intersection where the Coyote Trail closes the loop.

To the left, the Coyote Trail runs back past the Cement Pond to the visitor center, which can be seen in the not-so-far distance.

Coyote Trail
Cement Pool (view W)
Coyote Trail
Trail junction; Coyote Trail goes left (view N)
Coyote Trail
Trail junction: Coyote left; Jackrabbit left (view N)
Coyote Trail
Trail passes east of the Cement Pond (view N)
Coyote Trail
Cement Pond during summer (view NW)
Coyote Trail
Cement Pond during winter (view NW)
Coyote Trail
Trail junction: Coyote Trail "loop" starts here (view W)
Coyote Trail
Trail following the stream
Coyote Trail
Historic orchard (view S)
Coyote Trail
Historic orchard (view S)
Coyote Trail Coyote Trail
Coyote Trail Coyote Trail
Coyote Trail
Trail exits orchard over a bridge (view NW)
Coyote Trail
Resting and viewing area
Coyote Trail
Information sign
Coyote Trail
Trail runs past the old pasture
Coyote Trail
Trail climbs onto berm of historic Pond 3
Coyote Trail
Approaching bridge over marshy soils between historic Ponds 2 and 3
Coyote Trail
Bridge over marshy soils between historic Ponds 2 and 3 (view N)
Coyote Trail
Dry Pond 2 in early spring (view E)
Coyote Trail
Fork in the trail (view N)
Coyote Trail
Trail forking left to Birdsong Trail (view NW)
Coyote Trail
Main trail bends right (view NE)
Coyote Trail
Birder walking along old Pond 2 (view E)
Coyote Trail
Trail runs up along side of historic Pond 2 (view E)
Coyote Trail
Approaching the Poolfish Refugium from the back
Coyote Trail
Poolfish Refugium with information signs
Coyote Trail
Spur trail (left) to Railroad-tie Cabin (view E)
Coyote Trail
Spur trail to Railroad-tie Cabin (view NE)
Coyote Trail
Railroad-tie Cabin and information sign (view NE)
Coyote Trail
Railroad-tie information sign
Coyote Trail
Coyote Trail continues up over low hill
Coyote Trail
Coyote Trail passing T-intersection with Bighorn Trail (view SE)
Coyote Trail
Coyote Trail closes the loop; left to Visitor Center (view SE)
Coyote Trail Coyote Trail
Coyote Trail more to come ...

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 141105

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