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Griffith Shadow South Trail - Outbound
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Mount Charleston Area, Lovell Canyon
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Griffith Shadow North Trail
Sign at Lovell Canyon Trailhead. This means the Griffith Shadow South Trail starts in 2.9 miles (view N)

Overview

The Griffith Shadow South Trail is the south end of what used to be a 4.2 mile in-and-out rather than a loop. The other end of the "loop" is the Griffith Shadow North Trail, and the middle part connecting these two trails was recently built.

Griffith Shadow South Trail starts on the northwest side of the Lovell Canyon Loop Trail, and so although the trail is only 2.1 miles long, it takes 2.9 miles of trail to get there, so the total hike is about 10 miles round-trip.

If not doing the entire loop, it also makes sense to only hike to the rocky promontory (1.2 miles out) or perhaps to the saddle with grand views west (1.3 miles out).

For photos of returning over the trail, see Griffith Shadow South Trail - Returning.

Link to Area Map or Hiking Map or Elevation Profile.

Griffith Shadow South Trail
Start of the Lovell Canyon "Loop" Trail (view NW)

Watch Out

Official USFS signs along this trail list the Handy Peak Loop Trail. However, the Handy Peak Loop Trail does not exist. Don't get lost or injured looking for these trails.

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the mountains, this trail is pretty safe with no unusual hazards. Be careful out at the end of the promontory, as falls in this remote area would be serious.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this hike is in a remote area, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials. This hike runs near Private Property and into the La Madre Mountain Wilderness Area, so please pay particular attention to taking care of the land.

Griffith Shadow South Trail
Staying left onto the Lovell Canyon "Loop" Trail (view WNW)

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located up in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area at the north end of Lovell Canyon, about 1-1/4 hours west of Las Vegas.

From town, drive out Highway 160 towards Pahrump. About three miles past Mountain Spring Summit, turn right onto Lovell Canyon Road. Drive north 11 miles to Lovell Summit Road. Turn left and drive 0.4 miles to Lovell Canyon Trailhead.

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), this hike runs north on the Lovell Canyon Trail. At the first fork (Wpt. 03), the hike turns left onto the Lovell Canyon loop and continues west and then north, eventually running out to a low saddle with a trail junction (Wpt. 07) marked by a wooden trail sign.

Griffith Shadow South Trail
Nice views from the "Loop" trail (view N)

The Griffith Shadow South Trail starts at the trail junction (Wpt. 07) and begins by running northwest, but soon curves back to switchback up the hillside generally trending southwest. The trail climbs gently, passing five long switchbacks, until it climbs onto a low ridge and arrives at another trail junction (Wpt. 30) marked only by cairns.

At this trail junction, the main trails stays left (straight), while a use-trail turns right and runs out to a rocky limestone promontory. The promontory is some 200 yards distant and the view is well worth the walk.

Continuing on the Griffith Shadow South Trail, the trail contours across a hillside onto a high saddle (Wpt. 32) with grand view north and east across upper Lovell Canyon. A few yards past the saddle, the view opens to the west over Trout Canyon.

The trail continues across the hillside, generally staying on the contour to where the original ended (Wpt. 33). The new trail then descends steeply to connect with the Griffith Shadow North Trail and continue the loop.

Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail junction and start of Griffith Shadow South Trail (view NE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail junction and start of Griffith Shadow South Trail (view SW)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Sign at trail junction (view NE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Griffith Shadow South Trail (view NW from Lovell Canyon Trail)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Griffith Shadow South Trail begins running NW
Griffith Shadow South Trail
First switchback (view NE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail runs up across hillside (view NE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Second switchback (view SE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Third switchback (view NE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Fourth switchback (view SE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail runs up across hillside (view SW)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Fifth switchback (view NE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail runs up across hillside (view W)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail climbs across the hillside (view SW)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Turning back onto the low ridge (view W)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail junction to Promontory (view NW)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Saddle (view SW through gamble oak thicket into Trout Canyon)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Saddle (view NE into upper Lovell Canyon)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
The end of the trail is in sight (view N)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Just past the saddle (view W down Trout Canyon)
Griffith Shadow South Trail Griffith Shadow South Trail
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Fully constructed trail runs across hillsides (view N)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Fully constructed trail runs across hillsides (view N)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Shrubs cleared, but trail not fully constructed (view N)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Shrubs cleared, but trail not fully constructed (view N)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Approaching end of the trail (view N)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail dead-ends into the brush (view NW)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Trail dead-ends into the brush (view NW)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
For a short distance, hikers can find footprints into the brush
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Grand vista at end of trail (view W)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Grand vista at end of trail - zoom (view W)

Promontory Spur Use-Trail

Griffith Shadow South Trail
Promontory Spur Use-trail (view N from main trail)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Halfway out to the Promontory (view N)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Arriving at the Promontory
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Promontory (view N)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Promontory (view NE)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Promontory (view E)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Promontory (view SE)
Griffith Shadow South TrailSelfie
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Starting back (view W from promontory)
Griffith Shadow South Trail
Returning to the main trail (view W)

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

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
07 Trail Junction 625998 4004898 6,459 0.00 0.00 GPS
30 Trail Junction 625498 4004362 6,613 1.16 1.16 GPS
31 Promontory 625540 4004533 6,669 . . GPS
32 Saddle 625326 4004404 7,001 0.11 1.27 GPS
33 Griffith Shadow South End 624831 4004945 7,067 0.82 2.09 GPS
07 Trail Junction 625998 4004898 6,459 2.09 4.18 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161109

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