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Lovell Canyon Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon NCA, Spring Mountains NRA
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road
Highway 160, approaching Lovell Canyon Road (view W)

Overview

Lovell Canyon Road is a little-used, paved backcountry road that runs north from Highway 160 (the road to Pahrump) into the wild backcountry of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (BLM land) and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (USFS land). The road provides access to hikes on the backside of the Red Rocks Escarpment, Rocky Gap Road (aka Potato Road), Lovell Summit Road (Lovell Canyon Trailhead), and the Torino Ranch for critically ill and at-risk children.

Lovell Canyon Road is 11 miles long, and runs along the west edge of the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness Area and the La Madre Mountain Wilderness Area. There are nice campsites along the road, and this is a favorite area for illegal target shooting.

Included here are the first 0.4 miles of Lovell Summit Road leading from Lovell Canyon Road to Lovell Canyon Trailhead.

Link to map.

Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road (view N from Highway 160)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ...this is a fairly safe drive. Under normal conditions, the road is suitable for any sedan, but sometimes the road is washed out and requires a high-clearance vehicle.

During 2016 and 2017, the traditional shooting areas along the road are closed. However, if you hear people shooting guns, even 50-caliber machine guns, stay on the pavement until you are sure where they are aiming.

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 and close to town, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road (view N from Highway 160)

Getting to the Roadhead

This road is located off Highway 160 west of the town of Mountain Springs, about 45 minutes southwest of Las Vegas. From downtown, drive south on Interstate-15 to Highway 160. Exit onto Highway 160 west, towards Pahrump, and drive west out of town and over the mountains. About 3 miles west of Mountain Spring Summit, watch for highway signs and a right turn onto Lovell Canyon Road.

Lovell Canyon Road
Road signs (view N)

The Road

From Highway 160 (Table 1, Site 1013), Lovell Canyon Road runs north across fairly open desert flats. The road was repaved recently and is in fairly good condition.

Vegetation along this part of the road includes Singleleaf Pinyon, Utah Juniper (Pinyon-Juniper Woodland habitat type), blackbrush, rabbitbrush, sagebrush, and many other species typical of middle-elevation desert mountains.

At about 1.0 miles out, the dirt Rainbow Spring Road (Site 1014) branches off to the east. There are several campsites up Rainbow Spring Road within 1/2 miles of the pavement. This road runs east to Rainbow and Bootleg springs, and the trailhead for Little Zion and the top of the Red Rock Escarpment.

Lovell Canyon Road

Along the southern part of the road, the landscape is wide with grand views to the north of Mt. Charleston and to the west of colorful ridges. To the east, rounded hills covered in trees hide the fact of the Red Rock Escarpment just out of view over the ridge.

At about 4.5 miles out, the road turns hard to the right and winds down a long hill that provides a nice overview of the landscape ahead. Don't drive too fast around the curve or you might get a really good overview.

At about 7.5 miles out, the dirt Rocky Gap Road (Site 1077) branches off to the east. This is an extreme 4WD road that crosses the mountains and runs down into Willow Springs Picnic Area along the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop Road.

Lovell Canyon Road

Beyond the turn to Rocky Gap Road, the canyon narrows and the road is more likely to be washed out after storms, but the road is paved and maintained.

At 11.0 miles out, the Lovell Summit Road (Site 1078) branches off to the left. This road runs west, passing Lovell Canyon Trailhead (0.4 miles from the pavement), Cave Spring, Lovell Summit, and Coal Spring before intersecting Trout Canyon Road (Site 1079; about 10.2 miles from the pavement). Turning left onto Trout Canyon Road, the road runs west 7.2 miles and descends from the mountains back to Highway 160 (Site 1080).

Staying on Lovell Canyon Road a few yards past Lovell Summit Road, the public road ends at the Torino Ranch gate and stop sign.

Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road approaching Rainbow Spring Road (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon RoadDescending fairly steep and winding road (view NE) Lovell Canyon Road
Descending fairly steep and winding road (view NE)
Lovell Canyon Road
5.1 miles out; well maintained pavement
Lovell Canyon Road
5.2 miles out; gravel across the paved road
Lovell Canyon Road Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road
Several popular shooting areas (closed during 2016-17)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road at Rocky Gap Road (view N; 7.5 miles out)
Lovell Canyon Road
Rocky Gap Road (view E from Lovell Canyon Road)
Lovell Canyon Road
Rocky Gap Road sign (view E)
Lovell Canyon Road
8.0 miles out; flooding can put considerable mud on the road
Lovell Canyon Road
8.0 miles out; road cleaned after flooding
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road approaching CC Springs Group Camp (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road
Highway sign for CC Springs Group Camp (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road approaching end of the pavement (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road approaching Torino Ranch (view N; 11.0 miles out)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Summit Road to the left (before paving)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Summit Road (view W from Lovell Canyon Road)
Lovell Canyon Road
Road sign (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road
Road sign (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Road
11.0 miles out; Torino Ranch Gate
Lovell Canyon Road
11.0 miles out; Torino Ranch Gate

Lovell Summit Road

Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Summit Road (view W from Lovell Canyon Road)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Summit Road (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Road Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Summit Road (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Summit Road at campsite road (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Road
Campsite (view SW)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Summit Road (view NW)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Summit Road approaching Lovell Canyon Trailhead (view W)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Trailhead sign (view SW)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Trailhead information signs (view S)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Trailhead information (view S)
Lovell Canyon Road
Lovell Canyon Trailhead (view N)
Lovell Canyon Road
Campsite just up Lovell Summit Road from trailhead (view SW)

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

Wpt. Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
1013 Hwy 160 at Lovell Canyon Rd 36.01833 115.56049 4,643 0.00 0.00 Yes
1014 Lovell Cyn Rd at Rainbow Spring Rd 36.03124 115.55451 4,825 0.99 0.99 Yes
1077 Lovell Cyn Rd at Rocky Gap Rd 36.11763 115.57158 5,331 6.53 7.52 Yes
1078 Lovell Cyn Rd at Lovell Summit Rd 36.16588 115.57641 5,929 3.50 11.02 Yes
1160 Lovell Canyon Trailhead 36.16649 115.58231 5,929 0.38 11.40 Yes
1079 Lovell Summit Rd at Trout Cyn Rd 36.14753 115.72766 4,663 . . Yes
1080 Hwy 160 at Trout Canyon Rd 36.12245 115.84842 3,203 . . Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161107

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