LOVELL CANYON, NV
Trail Rating: 1-2 (Click for ratings scale)
Vehicle Types: Off-Road Vehicles, Dirtbikes, ATV's, UTV's
Forest Trail 917:
Notes: The Lovell Canyon Trail holds a special place in our hearts. It's technically the very first trail we explored together. Except we were stupid in love and didn't think it through before our trek. We hit the trail late at night, in winter, with ice and snow covering the trail. All is well that ends well though and here we are today, married and on a mission to explore every last bit of this Earth and it's incredible landscapes. Lesson learned is embrace your inner spontaneity, try new things and equip yourselves with a few safety precautions. The Lovell Canyon Trail is a fun night run in the summer, but it's even more gorgeous in the daytime. There's a little bit of everything for all ages and levels of expertise. In fact, the Lovell Canyon Trail feeds into several other trails that we'll include in this review, because honestly you'll want to take the time to explore each side trail too.
First, take Blue Diamond Hwy 160 west. A couple miles past the summit by Mt. Potosi, is a turnoff on your right for Lovell Canyon Road. It's not incredibly well marked and there's no cell service back there, so be sure to download our map, beforehand, to use offline to navigate your way on all of these trails. Immediately after you turn onto Lovell Canyon Road is a turnoff to Rainbow Spring Road on your right. It rides through a winding wash-way back to some hiking trails (and horse trails). The wash-way is quite soft and literally every time we've gone back there, we've had to do rescue missions for vehicles stuck in the sand. Be smart and don't take a vehicle back there that's not capable of off-roading. Trust us on that one. It's not a difficult trail, but it's quite soft and can get icy in winter. This trail is one way, so exit the way you came in.
Once your back to Lovell Canyon Road, hang a right and follow it for several miles. Right before the road drops down into the valley below, you'll notice a trail on your right (Forest Trail 917) that has a scenic overlook. Take that and after you've soaked in the incredible and expansive views, follow the trail down into the wash-way below. Again, you'll need an off-road vehicle with decent clearance and good tires. Lots of loose red rock, some a bit sharp. But definitely a fun challenge and quite scenic, especially at sunset. Exit the same way you entered.
Again, head back to Lovell Canyon Road and continue north another several miles. As the trees start getting more dense and towering, you'll see signage on your left for CC Springs Road. Turn off there. Along this trail you find some off-grid campsites. The bigger sites are near the front of the trail and could easily accommodate a group. The smaller, more private sites are further back on the trail as it begins to gain elevation. The higher you get, the more narrow and steep the trail becomes. It's all red dirt and loose rock near the top, but the views are spectacular. Worth exploring even if you aren't planning to camp back there. It's a one way trail, so be cautious around corners and on hills. Exit the way you entered.
When you're back to Lovell Canyon Road, continue north another mile or two until you reach the group camp/ranch at the end of the road. That's private property, so be courteous and don't trespass. However, at the end of Lovell Canyon Road, you can hang a left onto Lovell Summit Road. This is where the trail gets exciting. You'll cross a small bridge before getting to another large campsite and entrance to an established hiking trail (on your right). Keep on the trail and it'll take you up to the summit at Lovell Canyon. The views are breathtaking. It's a bit of a climb on a narrow, uneven and rocky trail, with a steep drop-off on the drivers side. That's where ice, dark and off-roading get sketchy. So play it smart (unlike our first run on this trail!) and watch the weather to make sure it's passable. In the summer, it's a good 20 degrees cooler than the Las Vegas Valley, which is a nice respite. On the west side of the summit, the trail is more passable. It's a bit wider and less rocky. You'll pass through a mile or so of private property, but just past that are some great spots to camp off-grid and explore side trails. Continue west on Lovell Summit Road for several miles of rough wash-board road to exit on Nevada State Road 160, near Pahrump.
Note: You can also access Rocky Gap from Lovell Canyon Road. But we've separated that trail out onto it's own page. Find it here.
Trail conditions are always changing, so be careful out there and TREAD LIGHTLY. Leave no trace. Pack in. Pack out.
Trailforks App Download (works offline on the trail)