Thursday

Daytrip – Lovell Wash & Anniversary Narrows


Rather than create separate blog entries for subsequent visits to a location, I simply insert a new "Trip Notes" section to describe the most recent visit and display some of the day's pics. Any additional pictures taken are then added to the slideshow (if applicable) at the bottom of the post. Scroll down to view the latest trip notes section below.
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Destination: Lovell Wash
Distance from Point of Origin: 54 miles.
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: One hour and 15 minutes.
Directions: The Lovell Wash is located at mile marker 16 on Lake Mead's Northshore Road (NV 167) in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 4 miles and turn right onto US-93/95 south and drive to the exit for Lake Mead Blvd. Heading east on Lake Mead Blvd over the mountains (passing between Frenchman Mountain to the south and Sunrise Mountain to the north) to the park entrance station. Pay the entrance fee ($5 per car or an annual pass), and proceed to the T-intersection with Northshore Road (NV Rt 167) and Lakeshore Road (NV Rt 166). Bear left and drive north on Northshore Road (NV 167) for Lovell Wash turnoff on the left, located at Mile Marker 16. With luck, regular vehicles drive in approximately two miles and park roadside just before a short descent to the wash. A 4WD can continue all the way to the mouth of the narrows since the hike to the canyon is along an old mining track, mostly in good condition.

General Description
: The Lovell Wash, a tributary of Callville Wash, cuts into a ridge in the Gale Hills at the south edge of the Muddy Mountains. The rocks here are composed of numerous thin sandstone and mudstone layers angled around 45 degrees, These seemingly barren, grey-brown hills conceal a variety of hidden, scenic sites and landscapes including Anniversary Mine. Once a site of borax excavations, it is now a renowned location for collecting gemstones. Along the way you will find some interesting geology, ancient petroglyphs, Mojave desert flora and a narrow slot canyon. This land was laid down as sheets of mud in the bottom of some vast playa lake where ancient animals once roamed. The mud turned to stone, and tectonic activity jumbled the area and turned the lake bed on edge. You can see several mountain-sized ridges of sedimentary materials (sandstone, limestone, and mudstone of various colors including purple, red, green, yellow, and gray) that have been steeply tilted up; some nearly vertically.


Special Attraction or Points of Interest: At the end of this hike the dry wash winds though a short .3 mile slot canyon. Quite pretty , the canyon contains series of photogenic chutes, potholes and curving passageways, edged by the jagged strata. As the wash cuts through these ridges, it creates spectacular narrows that are about 500 yards long, hundreds of feet deep in places, and only a few feet wide. In many places, you can touch the walls on both sides.
Primary Activity: Hiking/Rock-hounding.
Secondary Activities: Photographing.

Elevation
: 1,696 feet with a hiking elevation gain of about 700 feet.
Best Time To Visit: Available for hiking year round, the best time to make this hike would be in the cooler months of Fall, Winter and Spring.
Difficulty: Easy. Shortly after the turnoff, you can begin the hike up a relatively level dirt road to Lovell Wash. With a variety of side trails to choose from, the main trail provides an easy 5-mile round-trip hike with an elevation change of merely 500 feet. 
Facilities: None.
Estimated Round-trip Time: 4-5 hours.

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12/08/2011 Trip NotesI visited the Lovell Wash and Anniversary Narrows, located at mile marker 16 on Lake Mead's North Shore Road, for the second time this year with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park's Senior Facility. Though this area is also home of the now defunct Anniversary Mine, the wash's main attraction is the Anniversary Narrows, one of Nevada's only slot canyons. On this visit we were actually able to drive in much further than the last time, cutting the hiking time and distance to slot canyon in half, resulting in some really nice pictures on this trip. The view of the wash,  running (L to R) south to north, in (Fig. 01) below is looking down from the Anniversary Mine Road just before it runs down into the wash.

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The Wash: If one parks in the parking area at milepost 16 off North Shore Drive in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you will be able to hike the wash all the way back on the return. This is the best place to park. Though driving further in will cut some of the distance off the hike, it removes the option of returning via the wash, causing you to miss some of the beautiful colors of the wash area. Hiking this area provides sweeping desert vistas, lake views, options for doing some mining on our own, finding historic artifacts and a remarkable slot canyon. The wash is a tributary of Callville Wash, as it cuts into a ridge in the Gale Hills at the south edge of the Muddy Mountains. More than three miles in length, this rather deep wash cuts through dozens of mountainous areas, providing some fascinating geological views like those shown below.
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There is some amazing geology here. It appears that this land may have once been layers of mud in the bottom of some vast playa lake where ancient animals once roamed. The mud turned to stone, and tectonic activity jumbled the area and turned the lake bed on edge. Today we are left with several mountain-sized ridges of sedimentary materials (sandstone, limestone, and mudstone of various colors including purple, red, green, yellow, and gray) that have been steeply tilted up; some nearly vertical as seen in the picture on the left below. (Click to view full-size)
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The Anniversary Narrows: As the hike continues around the bend of the wash the trail is mostly sand and loose gravel. The narrows are an exciting section of canyon with walls extending 100 feet above the canyon floor. A couple of sections require large steps or scrambles to get beyond some large boulder. The narrows extend for more than a quarter mile, with each twist and turn offering new beauty in the rocks and the patterns of the grooves, as well as the colors and the way the light plays on both.  The top picture is a view upstream into the narrows.The entrance to the narrows (shown below) can be seen at the very center of the above picture. (Click to view full-size) 
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The sculpted and water-polished sandstone and sedimentary rocks inside this slot canyon are spectacular. We were here during the early morning. I’m sure that the late afternoon sun would provide much more ‘color’ for picture taking. View of the Lovell Wash looking south as you leave the slot canyon and narrows, heading back to the trail-head.
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01/20/2011 Trip Notes: I first visited the Lovell Wash on 01/20/2011 on a daytrip with the rock hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility.  Though the wash winds past the old Anniversary Mine on the way to a small slot canyon, I chose a different route and headed more east. Next trip I plan on going to the mine and into the slot canyon.
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Click here for a slideshow of the Anniversary Mine and Slot Canyon ... http://silverstateghosttowns.com/anniversarymine.html
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Veering off to the right of the main road, about a third of the hike in are a series of rises and hills that make for easy climbing. Very near the top of the highest hill I found this river of stone that appears to have been a layer of mud, turned stone, that then at some point was broken like a smashed pane of glass, leaving thousands of shards that look like small pieces of Italian mosaic tile.
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Walking in the wash pictured above, a tributary to the Lovell Wash, I found these lone tracks that appeared to be those of either a mountain lion or coyote. You be the judge. 


The slideshow below is designed to run automatically in place. Clicking anywhere in the black background area that surrounds the picture being shown will PAUSE the show and bring up the Pause, Forward and Back menu at the bottom of the slideshow window, allowing you to start, stop or manually forward pictures one at a time.


To view the slideshow full-screen, click in the middle of the running show. When the new browser window appears, click on the left side of the menu where it says "slideshow".


Slideshow Description:The slideshow above contains 67 pictures that were taken in the Lovell Wash and the slot canyon at the Anniversary Narrows.