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Deer Creek Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Spring Mountains (Mt. Charleston)
Deer Creek Road
deer creek road
Kyle Canyon Road approaching Deer Creek Road (view W)

Overview

Deer Creek Road, up in the Spring Mountains National Conservation Area, is a maintained state highway (Hwy 158) that runs across the east face of the Spring Mountains (Mummy Mountain to be more precise) and connects Kyle Canyon Road in the south with Lee Canyon Road to the north. The road runs at fairly high elevations with grand views to mountain peaks above and the desert floor below.

The road provides access to numerous outdoor recreation sites (e.g., hiking, picnicking, and camping areas), a youth correctional facility, an FAA radar tower, and a few private homes.

Link to map.

deer creek road
Colorful Rubber Rabbitbrush along the road (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ...this is a fairly safe drive. The road is a regular state highway with normal highway grades, signs, and safety features. Nonetheless, always watch for crazy drivers careening around blind corners and watch for feral horses on the roadway. There is no gasoline on the mountain.

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 is a paved road, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

deer creek road
Approaching Robbers Roost Trailhead parking (view N)

Getting to the Roadhead

Deer Creek Road is located Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, about 45 minutes northwest of Las Vegas.

From town, drive north on Highway 95. Just past the outskirts of town, arrive at Kyle Canyon Road (Highway 157; Table 1, Site 0667) on the left. Turn onto Kyle Canyon Road and drive west 17.4 miles, past the Spring Mountains Visitor Center, to Deer Creek Road (Site 0727), on the right.

Alternatively, from town, drive north on Highway 95. From the outskirts of town, drive north about 14 miles to Lee Canyon Road (Highway 156; Site 0668), on the left. Turn left onto Lee Canyon Road and drive southwest 14.2 miles through Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and into the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area to Deer Creek Road (Site 1272), on the left.

deer creek road
Robbers Roost Trailhead parking (view NE)

The Road

From Kyle Canyon Road (Site 0667), Deer Creek Road makes a long right turn and climbs quickly out of Kyle Canyon to cross high mountain slopes. At nearly 7,000 ft elevation, the road leaves the relatively cool and moist canyon bottom at the interface between the lower-elevation Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands and the higher elevation Yellow Pine Forest. Despite climbing rapidly, the hot, dry southeast facing slope prevent ponderosa pine from growing here, and the landscape is dominated by single-leaf pinyon pine and Utah juniper, plus mountain mahogany and a few other shrub species.

Soon the road passes along the bottom edge of an old burn zone. Here, lightning-caused fire burned the hillside above the road in 2006. Firefighters worked hard to prevent the fire from spreading below the highway. The carcass' of many trees remain, but over the years, shrubs are growing back. Soon after the fire, the wildflowers here were stunning, but as the shrubs come back, the flowers are less common and harder to see while driving by. There are a few pullouts along this section of road where visitors can stop and take a closer look at the vegetation and listen for birds.

Deer Creek Road
Deer Creek Road approaching Hilltop Campground Road (view NW)

Below the road, Telephone Canyon spreads out below. This is a popular area for mountain bikers and hikers. Climbing across the mountain sides, the road eventually passes Robber's Roost Trailhead (Site 0740), on the right. The short trail to Robber's Roost is on the left, so watch for pedestrians crossing the road at this curve.

The road winds around, still climbing steeply, and eventually arrives as a side road (Site 1271) on the right at an elevation where tall ponderosa pine come back into the species mix. The side road here leads to Hilltop Campground, the youth correctional facility, and an FFA facility that looks like a celestial observatory.

Now near the highest elevations along the road, the road passes a large pullout on the left with grand view back to the southeast. Shortly thereafter, the road passes the North Loop Trailhead parking area (Site 0487). This popular trailhead provides access to the summit of Mount Charleston and a variety of closer destinations, including the 3,000-year-old Raintree, an ancient Bristlecone Pine tree.

Deer Creek Road
Sign for Hilltop Campground and Juniper Trailhead (view NW)

Beyond the North Loop Trailhead, the road drops to cross Deer Creek Canyon, and coming out of the curve, the road approaches the Deer Creek Trailhead and Deer Creek Picnic Area parking area (Site 1039). Watch carefully on the curve for pedestrians in the crosswalk just across the canyon. This parking area provides access to the walk-in picnic area and a great place to watch birds during spring and summer. In this area, drivers might notice private homes high above the road on the left.

Continuing over rolling terrain, the road traverses high on the side of Mummy Mountain, eventually passing a nondescript pullout on the right. This is Catch Pen Trailhead West (Site 1537), a trailhead the provides access to two trails running downhill to distant trailheads along Lower Lee Canyon Road.

deer creek road
Approaching North Loop Trailhead Parking (view NW)

The road then soon arrives at Desert Overlook Trailhead parking (Site 0739). This trailhead provides access to Desert View Overlook Trail, a short trail to a scenic overlook with information about how the site was used to watch nuclear bomb detonations on the Nevada Test Site, not so far to the north.

Beyond Desert View, the road begins to descent into Lee Canyon, eventually ending where it intersects Lee Canyon Road (Site 1272).

deer creek road
Approaching North Loop Trailhead Parking (view NW)
deer creek road
North Loop Trailhead Parking (view N)
deer creek road
Approaching Deer Creek Trailhead and Picnic Area Parking
deer creek road
Deer Creek Parking -- watch for pedestrians!
deer creek road
Deer Creek Trailhead and Picnic Area Parking
deer creek road
Approaching Desert View Overlook Trailhead Parking
deer creek road
Approaching Desert View Overlook Trailhead Parking
Deer Creek Road
Approaching Desert View Overlook Trailhead Parking
Deer Creek Road Deer Creek Road
deer creek road
Desert View Overlook Trailhead Parking
Deer Creek Road
Desert View Overlook Trailhead
deer creek road
Catch Pen Trailhead Parking
deer creek road
Approaching Lee Canyon Road
deer creek road
Deer Creek Road at Lee Canyon Road (view NW)
deer creek road
Deer Creek Road at Lee Canyon Road (view N)

Table 1. Highway Coordinates based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download highway GPS waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
0727 Kyle Cyn Rd at Deer Creek Rd 625575 4013970 36.26431 115.60209 6,800 0.00 0.00 Yes
0740 Robbers Roost Trailhead Parking 624891 4018247 36.30295 115.60902 7,914 3.42 3.42 Yes
1271 Deer Creek Rd at Hilltop Camp 625097 4018874 36.30858 115.60663 8,360 1.18 4.60 Yes
0487 North Loop Trailhead Parking 624724 4018897 36.30882 115.61078 8,439 0.25 4.85 Yes
1039 Deer Creek Trailhead Parking 623838 4019495 36.31433 115.62055 8,263 0.71 5.56 GPS
1537 Catch Pen Trailhead 623151 4021458 36.33212 115.62789 8,513 1.41 6.97 Yes
0739 Desert Overlook Trailhead Parking 623137 4021951 36.33656 115.62797 8,208 0.37 7.34 Yes
1272 Lee Canyon Rd at Deer Creek Rd 621020 4022357 36.34048 115.65149 7,799 1.56 8.90 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170729

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