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Joe May Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Joe May Road
Joe May Road (right) at Alamo Road (left) (view northeast).


Joe May Road is a side road off Alamo Road that runs from desert flats up to the mouth of Joe May Canyon on the west flanks of the Sheep Range. The road is bumpy and gets rougher the farther out you go, but is a fine high-clearance vehicle road in good weather. An old corral marks the Joe May Canyon trailhead, and the end of the road is the trailhead for Black Gate Canyon.

This is a nice road for a drive in the desert or an easy way to get away from town to camp out in the desert, but it is wild and remote country. Link to map.

Joe May Road

For general information on camping, hiking, regulations, other issues, and the natural history of the Wildlife Refuge, see the Desert National Wildlife Refuge -- Area Overview page.

Joe May Road

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about the desert... Joe May Road generally is a good dirt road, but it runs out into wild and remote country. There are no services or developments of any kind. Cell phones probably work, but don't count on it. Bring water and food, a good spare tire, a shovel, tools, a tow rope, bailing wire (I learned the hard way) and anything else that you might need to survive a night stuck out in the desert.

While out there, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this road leads to remote country, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials. This is a wildlife refuge, so pay extra attention to respecting the land.

Joe May Road


Joe May Road is located on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and starts about 45 minutes northwest of Las Vegas. To get there, drive out to the Information Kiosk (Table 1, Site 106) at the Corn Creek Field Station.

Continue east for about 250 feet to a T-intersection with a large sign (Site 731). Turn left onto Alamo Road and drive north for 3.1 miles to the signed intersection with Joe May Road (Site 780).

Joe May Road
Joe May Canyon Trailhead Parking

The Road

From Alamo Road at Joe May Road intersection (Site 780), Joe May Road turns to the right and runs northeast towards the Sheep Range. At 3.9 miles out, the road passes old corrals and the Joe May Canyon trailhead. At 4.1 miles out, the road ends at the Black Gate Canyon trailhead. There are undeveloped campsites near and at the end of the road.

This road once was graded, but it is not maintained in years, so it is getting rough.

Joe May Road
Old corral at Joe May Canyon Trailhead
Joe May Road
Near end of Joe May Canyon Road (view E towards end of road)
Joe May Road
At the end of road, looking back to the northwest
Joe May Road
At the end of road, looking north up Joe May Canyon
Joe May Road
Jeep at end of the road
more to come ...

Table 1. Highway Coordinates Based in GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
0106 Corn Creek parking area 36.43831 115.35747 647223 4033617 2814 Yes
0731 Corn Creek Rd at T-intersection 36.43836 115.35654 647307 4033624 2814 Yes
0779 Joe May Cyn Trailhead 36.51006 115.30653 651650 4041656 5050 Yes
0780 Alamo Rd at Joe May Cyn Rd 36.48346 115.36594 646379 4038613 3240 Yes
0881 Black Gate Cyn Trailhead 36.50930 115.30308 651960 4041577 5200 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120424

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