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Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Mount Charleston Area, Lovell Canyon
Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trailhead parking (view NW)

Overview

Lovell Canyon Trail is a fairly easy, 5.6-mile partial-loop trail in the pinyon-juniper forest at the head of Lovell Canyon, a little visited area south of Griffith Peak and Harris Mountain. Much of the trail runs through forested lands providing plenty of shade for desert hikers, but parts run out into old burn areas, and while warmer, provide grand views up and down Lovell Canyon.

This trail was recently built by the U.S. Forest Service. I commend the engineers for laying out a nice trail, and I especially commend the crews who worked so hard making a nice trail for the rest of us. Some trails are not finished, but this trail is easy to follow.

Link to Area Map, Hiking Map South, or Hiking Map North.

Lovell Canyon Trail
Start to the trail with signs (view N)

Watch Out

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

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the mountains, this trail is pretty safe and without unusual hazards. The trail is not very strenuous, making it a nice way to hike at higher elevations with few oxygen deficit issues.

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

Lovell Canyon Trail

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in Lovell Canyon up in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, about 1-1/4 hours southwest 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), the trail runs up across the hillside to the northwest at a fair grade. The trail winds about and switchbacks up the hillside, then runs northeast to a low saddle on a ridgeline (Wpt. 02). This finishes the steepest sustained section of the trail.

Lovell Canyon Trail

The trail crosses the saddle, turns north, and runs down and across the hillside, which overlooks the Torino Ranch. The trail rises and falls, descending gradually across the hillside, but more or less following the contour. At about 1.6 miles out, the trail forks (Wpt. 03) to begin the Lovell Canyon Loop. Continuing to the right, the trail runs north, winding in and out of every little side canyon while staying more or less on the contour.

The trail runs close to private property (Wpt. 04), and three signs close to the trail remind hikers to respect the rights of the land owner. The trail continues north, eventually running down under rocky outcrops to the edge of Lovell Canyon Wash. A trail sign indicates that it is 2.3 miles back to the trailhead and reminds hikers to stay on the trail.

Lovell Canyon Trail

The Lovell Canyon Trail turns left to bend around the rocky promontory, and a couple of steps past the turn, arrives at a trail junction (Wpt. 05) marked with an enormous cairn and a wooden trail sign. Here, the east end of the Schaefer Spring Trail continues north across the wash. Lovell Wash flash flooded in 2014 and washed out this end of the Schaefer Spring Trail, but the trail can be seen across the wash to the north. The Schaefer Spring Trail (about 1.6 miles) runs north, bends west, and returns to the Lovell Canyon Trail a bit to the west of here.

The sign at the junction indicates that the Schaefer Spring Trail is 0.1 miles west, but the sign is referring to the other end of the trail.

Continuing southwest on the Lovell Canyon Trail, hikers quickly reach another trail junction (Wpt. 06). This junction is also marked with an enormous cairn and a wooden trail sign. This sign indicates that the Schaefer Spring Trail turns north. This is the west end of the Schaefer Spring Trail, which loops out north before turning back east and reconnecting with the Lovell Canyon Trail 0.1 miles back.

Lovell Canyon Trail

Continuing southwest, the Lovell Canyon Trail climbs at a moderate grade onto a low saddle and another trail junction (Wpt. 07). The Lovell Canyon Trail continues downhill to the south (left), while the Griffith Shadow South Trail (this is not a loop, but can be walked out and back) runs uphill to the northwest. This trail junction marks the high point on the Lovell Canyon Trail.

The Lovell Canyon Trail runs more or less south, staying on the contour while winding in and out of several side canyons. This part of the trail is under the trees, so there is plenty of shade.

The trail eventually winds around to run northeast and reaches the first fork (Wpt. 03) encountered on the way north, closing the loop. The hike then runs south on hillside overlooking Lovell Canyon. Eventually the Torino Ranch comes into view, the trail runs back over the low saddle (Wpt. 02), and switchbacks down to the trailhead (Wpt. 01).

Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail sign
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker starting up the trail (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Entering Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker on one of the steeper parts of the trail (view W)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker on gentle trail (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker on switchbacks (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker on switchbacks (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker on switchbacks (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker approaching the ridgeline (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker arriving at highpoint on ridgeline (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker after crossing the ridgeline (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Scenic overlook (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Torino Ranch (view E from overlook)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker descending gentle trail (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail-side vista (view N into Carpenter One fire zone)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail-side view north (zoom towards Harris Saddle)
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon TrailHiker arriving at fork in the trail; start of the loop (view N) Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail signs (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail signs (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail signs (view W)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker continuing past trail junction (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker on trail (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail joins old road at edge of private property (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Stay on trail through private property (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail follows old road at edge of private property (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Craggy peak and moon (view W)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail follows old road at edge of private property (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Stay off private property (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail follows old road at edge of private property (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail follows old road at edge of private property (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail departs old road at edge of private property (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker on trail (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Rocky crag along the trail (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Below rocky crag, hiker approaches trail junction (view N)
Lovell Canyon TrailLovell Canyon Trail bends around corner below rocky crag (view N) Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail sign with distance back to the trailhead (view E)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail sign with distance back to the trailhead (view E)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Around the corner, hiker approaching trail junction (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail junction (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
East end of Schaefer Spring Trail crosses wash behind sign (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail sign; west end of Schaefer Spring Trail is left (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail continues beyond junction (view W)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail approaching west end of Schaefer Spring Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail at west end of Schaefer Spring Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker on Lovell Canyon Trail climbing towards saddle (view SW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail at saddle on ridge (view SW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail at Griffith Shadow South Trail (view SW)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Griffith Shadow South Trail (view W from Lovell Canyon Trail)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Griffith Shadow South Trail sign (view N)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail continues across open hillsides (view S)
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail signs (view W)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Trail signs (view W)
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail
Descending through the trees (view W)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker descending switchbacks (view E)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker descending another switchback (view W)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail Lovell Canyon Trail
Lovell Canyon Trail
Descending towards the trailhead (view SE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Descending to the trailhead (view SE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Hiker returning to the trailhead (view SE)
Lovell Canyon Trail
Bill and the boys back at the trailhead (view NW)

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
01 Trailhead 627507 4003172 5,958 0.00 0.00 Yes
02 Ridge 627447 4003435 6,250 0.50 0.50 Yes
03 Trail Forks (start the loop) 626728 4004447 6,244 1.09 1.59 GPS
04 Private Property 626670 4004828 6,203 0.34 1.93 GPS
05 Trail Junction-1 (Schaefer Spring East) 626510 4005299 6,237 0.36 2.29 GPS
06 Trail Junction-2 (Schaefer Spring West) 626367 4005233 6,290 0.11 2.40 GPS
07 Trail Junction-3 (Griffith Shadow South) 625998 4004898 6,459 0.36 2.76 GPS
03 Trail Forks (closing the loop) 626728 4004447 6,244 1.25 4.01 GPS
02 Ridge 627447 4003435 6,250 1.09 5.10 GPS
01 Trailhead 627507 4003172 5,958 0.50 5.60 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170425

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