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Fortification Hill Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Fortification Hill Road
Fortification Hill Road
Fortification Hill Road sign

Overview

Fortification Hill Road (NPS Road 70C) is a sometimes-maintained backcountry road off Highway 93 east of Hoover Dam in Arizona. The road runs 2.8 miles east from Kingman Wash Road at the Paint Pots up Fortification Hill Wash through the wild backcountry of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The road is sandy with a firm base and usually is suitable for 2WD-HC vehicles.

This road provides access to the Fortification Hill Trailhead and hikes farther up Fortification Wash.

Link to map.

Fortification Hill Road
Kingman Wash Road at Fortification Hill Road (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this road is pretty safe, but it can be bumpy and washboarded, and always be careful on blind corners. The road usually is passable in 2WD vehicles, but check with NPS rangers on road conditions before driving into the backcountry. Maps of approved backcountry roads are available online and at the Alan Bible Visitor Center.

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 short, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Fortification Hill Road
Restrooms and Fortification Hill Road (view E)

Getting to the Roadhead

This road is located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 50 minutes southeast of Las Vegas. From town, drive out towards Hoover Dam, then continue south on Hwy 93 over the bridge into Arizona for about 2 miles to Exit 2, Kingman Wash Road.

Exit the highway, turn left, drive under the highway, and continue east and then north on Kingman Wash Road. At about 3.2 miles out, turn right at a pair of restrooms (no road sign) onto Fortification Hill Road.

Fortification Hill Road
Fortification Hill Road sign

The Road

From the restrooms on Kingman Wash Road (Table 1, Site 1423), the road runs east and up the wash. The road is sandy and washboarded in places, but the roadbed is firm. The road winds about, but there are no turnoffs or forks in the road.

At about 2.6 miles out, the road passes the Fortification Hill Trailhead (Site 0510) for the hike up Fortification Hill. The trailhead parking merely is a wide spot in the road with a trail sign.

Beyond the trailhead, the road continues up the canyon for another 0.2 miles and ends at a cable fence (Site 1424) spanning the canyon. Hikers can park here and walk up the canyon, but otherwise, this is the end of the road.

Fortification Hill Road

The National Park Service recommends using a 4WD vehicle on this road. The first time I drove the road, I ignored the warning in my 2WD-HC pickup, but I turned around out after about a mile because the gravel kept getting softer and deeper. The next time I was out, in a 4WD, the road would have been fine in a carefully driven sedan. In January 2006, the road was not suitable for a sedan.

The moral to the story: conditions change, inquire locally, and use your own good judgment. Hikers don't have to drive all the way to the trailhead to enjoy the hike up Fortification Hill.

Fortification Hill Road
Colorful Paint Pots hills
Fortification Hill Road
Colorful hills in the Paint Pots area below Fortification Hill
Fortification Hill Road
Paint Pots area (view W back towards Lake Mead)
Fortification Hill Road
Canyon narrows
Fortification Hill Road Fortification Hill Road
Fortification Hill Road
Sandy road with firm base
Fortification Hill Road
Sandy road with firm base
Fortification Hill Road
Fortification Hill Trailhead parking (view E)
Fortification Hill Road
Road beyond the trailhead
Fortification Hill Road
End of Fortification Hill Road
Fortification Hill Road
Sign at end of Fortification Hill Road

Table 1. Highway 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
0510 Fortification Hill Trailhead 710086 3989923 36.03299 114.66830 2,365 Yes
1423 Kingman Wash Rd at Fortification Hill Rd 706784 3989853 36.03307 114.70494 1,197 GPS
1424 Fortification Hill Road, End 710297 3990157 36.03506 114.66590 2,396 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 130203

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