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Double Negative Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Lake Mead Area
Double Negative Road
Double Negative Road
Highway 169, approaching Yamashita Street (view E)

Overview

Double Negative Road is a 2-track that runs from Mormon Mesa Road to Double Negative, Michael Heizer's land art sculpture out past Overton on the edge of Mormon Mesa.

Starting from the main highway in Overton, the shortest route is blocked by bridge construction, so an alternative route is taken through town. Bypassing the construction zone, drivers can head out across Mormon Mesa to Double Negative.

Double Negative Road is not maintained and is pretty rocky, but people in sedans get there -- just drive slowly and carefully. Out on the edge of Mormon Mesa, the route becomes a maze of semi-parallel roads, but they all get there.

Link to map.

Double Negative Road
Highway 169 at Yamashita Street bridge (view E)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ...this is an easy drive. Although people in sedans can drive to Double Negative, there are some rough spots, and drivers in low-hanging vehicles should take care and avoid the larger rocks in the road.

There are no services or facilities of any kind after leaving town, but cell phones work. Be aware of the weather report and stay away if rain is expected, as mud on the road could present problems -- especially on the steep part.

While out, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this road is fairly short, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Double Negative Road
Yamashita Street, approaching Ron Street (view N)

Getting to the Roadhead

This road is located at the north end of the Lake Mead Area, about 1 hour (55 miles) northeast of Las Vegas. From town, drive north on Interstate-15 for 51 miles to Highway 169 (Exit 93). Turn south towards Logandale and Overton. Drive south on Highway 169 for 8.5 miles to Yamashita Street, on the left, which starts as a bridge over the Muddy River.

From Highway 169, turn left onto Yamashita Street and drive across the bridge. Continue north 0.5 miles to Ron Street. Turn right onto Ron Street and drive east 0.4 miles to Lou Street. Turn right onto Lou Street and drive south 1.6 miles, passing the Overton Airport, to Mormon Mesa Road.

Mormon Mesa Road is just past the airport terminal, and the turn is a hard left back towards the airport. Mormon Mesa Road then bends right to run along the south edge of the airport. Past the airport fence (reset your odometer here), Mormon Mesa Road continues northeast into the desert. About a mile past the airport fence, the pavement ends (Table 1, Site 1554).

Double Negative Road
Ron Street (view E)

Now graded dirt, the well-maintained Mormon Mesa Road continues northeast towards the base of Mormon Mesa. Crossing desert flats, the road runs about 1.0 miles to the base of Mormon Mesa. For the next 1/2-mile, the road climbs rather steeply up and across the side of Mormon Mesa.

At the top of the cliffs, 1.5 miles out, the road forks. Mormon Mesa Road stays right and continues east-northeast across the tabletop-flat Mormon Mesa. Minor roads branch off, but he main road is maintained and always is obvious.

After 4.3 miles on the dirt, just before reaching the far side of Mormon Mesa, a side road (Site 1555) forks off to the left. Drivers can turn left here, or continue another 0.1 miles to a somewhat better road. Regardless, Double Negative Road turns left here and stays atop the Mesa. Drivers who go too far will start down cliffs on the other side of Mormon Mesa.

Double Negative Road
Ron Street at Lou Street, note airport sign (view E)

The Road

From Mormon Mesa Road, Double Negative Road runs generally north-northeast. Drivers will encounter a plethora of braided roads, a good example of what happens when roads are not maintained and drivers, hoping for something better than what they have, try different (parallel) routes.

Double Negative Road immediately passes the edge of the mesa where grand views can be had down to the Virgin River. Continuing more-or-less straight, the road leaves the edge of the mesa to cut across desert flats.

At 0.8 miles out, the road returns to the edge of the mesa cliffs at a knock-off sculpture: Polish Negative. I'm not sure what to think about this, but it makes a good landmark.

Double Negative Road
Lou Street (view S)

Continuing northeast, still more-or-less straight, the road again leaves the edge of the mesa (1.1 miles out) and runs out across desert flats.

Approaching the edge of the mesa again (1.4 miles out), the road arrives at the southern arm of Double Negative (Site 1556). There are no signs or structures of any kind, and Double Negative can be hard to see from this direction, so keep track of your distance so you will know when to expect it.

After visiting the southern end, the road continues 0.3 miles to the northern arm of Double Negative (Site 1557). With the road now following the edge of the mesa, the northern end is easier to see from a distance.

At both ends, don't park or walk too close to the trench. While the site generally is safe, the walls have begun to collapse.

Double Negative Road
Lou Street at Overton Airport runway (view S)
Double Negative Road
Lou Street at Overton Airport terminal (view S)
Double Negative Road
Lou Street at Mormon Mesa Road (view S)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road approaching the airport again (view N)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road passing the airport (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Paved Mormon Mesa Road (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road at end of the pavement (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Unpaved Mormon Mesa Road (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road climbing Mormon Mesa cliffs (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road climbing Mormon Mesa cliffs (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road climbing Mormon Mesa cliffs (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road climbing atop Mormon Mesa cliffs (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road forks atop Mormon Mesa cliffs (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road atop Mormon Mesa (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road atop Mormon Mesa (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road atop Mormon Mesa (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road atop Mormon Mesa (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road atop Mormon Mesa (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Mormon Mesa Road at Double Negative Road (view E)
Double Negative Road
Double Negative Road (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Virgin Peak and Virgin River (view E from Double Negative Road)
Double Negative Road
Double Negative Road (view NE; note parallel roads)
Double Negative Road Double Negative Road
Double Negative Road
Double Negative Road (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Polish Negative on edge of Mormon Mesa (view E)
Double Negative Road
Polish Negative on edge of Mormon Mesa (view E)
Double Negative Road
Polish Negative on edge of Mormon Mesa (view E)
Double Negative Road
Double Negative Road (view NE; note parallel roads)
Double Negative Road
Virgin Peak and Virgin River (view E from Double Negative Road)
Double Negative Road
Double Negative Road (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Approaching Double Negative (view NE)
Double Negative Road
Arriving at Double Negative (view N)
Double Negative Road
Double Negative South (view N)

Table 1. Backroad Coordinates based on GPS data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
1554 Mormon Mesa Rd, End of Pavement 730367 4050201 36.57131 114.42561 1,424 Yes
1555 Mormon Mesa Rd at Double Negative Rd 736293 4053287 36.59766 114.35850 1,791 Yes
1556 Double Negative South 737580 4055069 36.61339 114.34358 1,791 Yes
1557 Double Negative North 737540 4055492 36.61720 114.34389 1,791 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150606ß

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