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Harris Mountain Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Spring Mountains (Mt. Charleston)
Harris Mountain Road

Note: Storms during August 2013 washed out this road. In 2014, the USFS declared a large 5-year closure zone to keep the public out of the Carpenter One Fire area. This road is inside the closure zone, so this road will be closed until 2019. My guess is that the road will remain closed to vehicles forever.

Harris Mountain Road
Harris Springs Rd at Harris Mountain Rd (view SW)

Overview

Harris Mountain Road is a 5.7-mile, unmaintained dirt road in the wild backcountry of Spring Mountains National Conservation Area. The road runs west from Harris Springs Road, climbs onto the south ridge of Harris Mountain, and ends at a trailhead overlooking Lovell Canyon.

Lower down where the hillsides slope gently, the road is relatively good and several primitive camping areas are scattered along. Higher up in the mountains, the road becomes rocky and much rougher, the steep slopes provide few options for pulling off the roadway, and passengers might complain about getting too close to the cliff. The road ends at Griffith Peak Trailhead, another primitive camping area with grand views.

Link to map.

Harris Mountain Road
Harris Mountain Road sign (Forest Road 104)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ...this is a pretty rough road. The road is no longer maintained and had deteriorated over the years, but the exact condition depends on the time since grading and the history of rain and flooding. The road used to be suitable for a carefully driven sedan, but now requires a high-clearance vehicle with off-highway tires.

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. Always watch for crazy drivers careening around blind corners.

Harris Mountain Road
Road sign along Harris Springs Rd

Getting to the Roadhead

This hike is located south of lower Kyle Canyon in the Spring Mountains National Conservation Area, about 45 minutes northwest of Las Vegas.

From town, drive north on Highway 95 to Kyle Canyon Road (Highway 157; Table 1, Site 0667). Turn left onto Kyle Canyon Road and drive west for 12.3 miles to Harris Springs Road (Site 0764), which is just past two paved and lighted "chain up" pullouts. Watch for a highway sign on the right side of the highway with an arrow pointing left. Turn left onto Harris Springs Road and drive south for 3.3 miles to Forest Road 104 on the right (Site 0767). This is Harris Mountain Road; watch for a sign reading "Griffith Peak Trailhead," with an arrow to the right and indicating 5 miles.

Harris Mountain Road
Turning onto Harris Mountain Rd (view SW)

The Road

From Harris Springs Road, Harris Mountain Road turns right and runs southwest climbing onto the hillside. The road is bumpy, but in fine condition for the first 2 miles.

After about 0.25 mile, side roads to primitive camping area begin to branch off, mostly to the right. These sites stretch to about 1 mile out, and then the last is tucked into a narrow canyon above a tight turn about 1.5 miles out.

The road continues in good condition to about 2-miles out, where a bit of rocky road gives hints of what is to come.

Harris Mountain Road
Harris Mtn Rd (left), camp road (right)

Harris Mountain Road has deteriorated over the years, and a high clearance, 2WD vehicle is now necessary. The road is never that bad, but one boulder forces drivers pretty close to the outside edge of the road (above a cliff), and many long rocky stretches are easier to pass on the outside edge.

I talked to one Forest Service employee who said that she had been on the road in a USFS truck three times in the last year, and all three times had experienced flat tires.

After 5.68 miles on Harris Mountain Road, the road ends abruptly atop a sharp ridge overlooking Lovell Canyon (Site 0594).

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Harris Mountain Road
Sometimes bad things happen -- 2 trucks and 9 slashed tires in 2009
Harris Mountain Road
This was my truck, the other truck had broken windows too
Harris Mountain Road
Coming back down, grand view to to east
more to come ...

Table 1. Backroad Coordinates (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Roadway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
0667 Hwy 95 at Kyle Canyon Rd 651544 4021405 36.32758 115.31167 2,820 Yes
0764 Kyle Canyon Rd @ Harris Springs Rd 632942 4015180 36.27423 115.51990 5,400 Yes
0767 Harris Springs Rd at Harris Mountain Rd 631261 4012015 36.24593 115.53915 5,728 Yes
1277 Griffith Peak Trailhead Parking 626090 4009085 36.22021 115.59715 8,330 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 141017

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