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North McCullough Wilderness Area
Poppy Guzzler Route
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Sloan Canyon NCA
Poppy Guzzler Route
Hidden Valley Trailhead (view NE)

Overview

The Poppy Guzzler Route is a 6-mile off-trail hike that starts at the Hidden Valley Trailhead on the south edge of the North McCullough Wilderness Area and climbs onto the crest of the mountains. From that scenic vantage, the route descends northward, passing Poppy Guzzler on the way to Petroglyph Canyon. Hikers can return over the same route, or return using any of several alternatives.

This is a nice route in a quiet part of Sloan Canyon NCA, but it requires some route finding abilities because there is no trail and there are a number of washes and hills that all look alike.

Link to map.

Poppy Guzzler
Route starts on old road (view NE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, there are no particular dangers on this route. 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 fairly remote, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Please, don't bother the bighorn sheep at the guzzler. They have a hard time making a living in these desert lands, and they don't need extra stress from people camping or spending too much time around the guzzler.

Poppy Guzzler Route
Right fork leads into canyon (view NE)

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, on the south side of the North McCullough Wilderness Area. From town, drive south about 1 hour to the Hidden Valley Trailhead. Note that the access road requires a high-clearance vehicle. Details of the roads are given on the Hidden Valley Trailhead webpage.

Poppy Guzzler Route
Hikers on the high saddle (view N)

The Hike

From the Hidden Valley Trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 00), the route leaves the parking area and follows the closed road to the old trailhead (Wpt. 01). Continuing, the trail follows an even older road until it disappears into the sandy wash. Eventually this wash splits (Wpt. 02), and the signed BLM 300 Trail follows the left fork, while the Poppy Guzzler Route stays right.

Following the narrower wash northwest into the hills, the route provides a fairly easy hike up a canyon to the crest of the ridge (Wpt. 03).

After enjoying the scenic views, the route continues north following a gully and wash down the north side of the ridge. In about 0.3 miles, watch for Poppy Guzzler (i.e., Nevada Division of Wildlife "Poppy Wildlife Water Development;" Wpt. 04) on the hillside to the right of the main wash. Feel free to visit the guzzler, but don't delay too long because the presence of humans will keep wildlife away from their drinking water.

Poppy Guzzler Route
The high saddle (view NW)

Continuing downhill and northeast, the route crosses open flats and follows a minor wash that eventually merges with a major wash (Wpt. 05).

Following the larger wash downhill, the route passes a low pour-over (Wpt. 06) and continues downhill in the wash. The narrow canyon eventually widens and merges into another broad wash (Wpt. 07), which is Sloan Wash.

Sloan Wash (to the left) provides an alternate route back to the trailhead, but continuing downhill, Sloan Wash quickly enters the straight, rocky gorge that is Petroglyph Canyon (Wpt. 08).

After enjoying the petroglyphs in a responsible manner, return to the trailhead by following your footprints up the wash or by using one the other other routes (see map) back to the trailhead.

Poppy Guzzler Route
Hikers descending from the high saddle (view N)
Poppy Guzzler Route
Hikers descending the wash (view N)
Poppy Guzzler Route
Hikers descending the wash (view N)
Poppy Guzzler Route
Hikers descending the wash (view N)
Poppy Guzzler
Approaching Poppy Guzzler (view NE)
Poppy Guzzler Route
Hikers at Poppy Guzzler (historic photo)
Poppy Guzzler
Poppy Guzzler drinker
Poppy Guzzler
Poppy Guzzler water storage
Poppy Guzzler Route
Hikers in wash below Poppy Guzzler
Poppy Guzzler
Wash (view N from atop pour-over)
Poppy Guzzler
Pour-over (view S to hiker atop pour-over)
Poppy Guzzler Route
Petroglyph on boulder in Petroglyph Canyon
Poppy Guzzler Route
Petroglyph panel in Petroglyph Canyon
Poppy Guzzler Route
For more petroglyph photos, see Petroglyph Canyon

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)
00 BLM 300 Trailhead 667127 3971034 3,236 0.00 0.00
01 Historic Trailhead 667789 3971562 3,327 0.63 0.63
02 Wash Forks 668006 3971823 3,388 0.22 0.85
03 Highpoint 668703 3972309 3,665 0.63 1.48
04 Poppy Guzzler 668905 3972703 3,503 0.39 1.87
05 Washes Merge 669220 3972936 3,455 0.28 2.15
06 Low Pour-Over 669366 3973116 3,407 0.20 2.35
07 Washes Merge 669395 3973771 3,178 0.52 2.87
08 Petroglyph Gallery 669374 3973937 3,162 0.17 3.04
00 BLM 300 Trailhead 667127 3971034 3,236 3.04 6.08

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 160927

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