Lovell Canyon and the SMNRA - Summary Page

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This page last updated on 02/09/2019
(Fig. 01)
MAP-Lovell Canyon
(Fig. 02)
Directions - Lovell Canyon
Area Description: The area loosely referred to as Lovell Canyon lies within the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. It is bordered by the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness Area on the east. Refer to (Fig. 02). Lovell Road and the Lovell Summit Road cuts through the heart of the Lovell Canyon area. North, it is bordered by the Mount Charleston Wilderness Area. Its 57,442 acres is  spread across the entire Spring Mountains Range and includes Mount Charleston (Charleston Peak), at an elevation of 11,908 feet. Access to the canyon is the Lovell Canyon Road, an 11 mile-long paved road that parallels the Lovell Canyon Wash. The surrounding area encompasses approximately 24,997 acres. Its unique geology and microclimates support several endemic plant communities, some plants that are found no where else in the world. The soils of lower elevation washes of Lovell Canyon have alluvial soil deposits. Alluvial soils deposits are eroded rock debris transported from higher elevations in mountains down to the valley floor. The soils of the higher elevation rolling hills of Lovell Canyon consist of weathered sandstone rock fragments and finer particles. Traveling west at the end of the paved Lovell Canyon Road, elevation 5,958 feet, is the beginning of the 9.7 mile Lovell Summit Road that ends at Trout Canyon Road. The roads highest point is Summit Peak around 6,500 feet (Refer to Fig 02).
  • Vegetation: This area contains hundreds of varieties of desert and mountain vegetation. At elevations between 2,000 to 4,000 feet, two species of Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus & Chrysothamnus paniculatus) can be found along the washes and paved roadside of Lovell Canyon Road. At elevations up to 4,500 feet, Manzanita has colonized the burn areas of the 4,700 acre fire back in 2002. Seeds require fire scarification for germination. It is often found mixed in pinyon-juniper woodlands. These pinyon-juniper woodlands comprise one of Nevada's most extensive vegetation types, occupying approximately thirteen percent, of the state's total land area. This woodland habitat, generally between 5,000 and 7,000 feet, is dominated by two tree species, the singleleaf pinyon pine, (Pinus monophylla), and the Utah juniper (Juniperusosteosperma). Other vegetation that has been identified in Lovell Canyon’s woodland habitat areas include Ponderosa pine, Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), sagebrush (Artemesia spp.), ephedra (Ephedra spp.), buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.), silktassel (Garrya spp.), Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa), Mexican cliffrose (Purshia mexicana), desert almond (Prunus fasciculata), skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata), and blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima).
  •  Wildlife: In certain areas of Lovell Canyon, you may see wildlife commonly found in the Spring Mountain such as desert bighorn sheep, deer, elk, mountain lion and Palmer's Chipmunk. On numerous hikes here I have observed deer, Desert Cottontail rabbits, Black-tail Jackrabbits, Southern Desert Horned Lizards, and a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). In addition, I have also observed a large variety of birds including the Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica) and Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).

General Lovell Canyon Road Hiking Notes
 Over the several years I have made several stops along this road and made more than a half dozen hikes in this area. Lovell Wash that parallels the road, and have had many exciting finds. There are actually several turn-offs (viewing areas) and side roads that emanate from Lovell Canyon Road. Refer to the map in (Fig. 02). The major hikes are Rainbow Springs Road, Forest Trail 917 (WP-01), Rocky Gap Road (WP-03), CC Spring Road (WP-04), and Lovell Summit Road (Forest Rd 536) . The pull-off at Forest Trail 917 (WP 01) on (Fig. 02) provides some excellent views of the entire area. In (Fig. 03 below), some of the Henderson Rockhound group can be seen looking at the view west towards the town of Pahrump. Walking out to the end of this area provided you with a view north (Fig. 01 top) that takes in all of Lovell Canyon. Looking back south (Fig. 04 below) provides you with a view of what I think is called Mule Spring Mountain.
(Fig. 03)

02/09/2019 Trip Notes: On this visit here I came with my jeep with the only intent to drive Lovell Summit Road in order to take some winter pictures of the snow. Click here for pictures and a description of this trip ... Lovell Summit Road & SMNRA.

07/18/2013 Trip Notes: Today Harvey Smith and I drove to the town of nTrout CAnyon to see if they had any damage from the Carpenter 1 fire on July 1st. After driving around the town we took Lovell Summit Road back to Lovell Canyon Road and NV-160. Click here for pictures and a description of this trip ... Trout Canyon and Lovell Summit Road.

05/23/2013 Hiking Notes: On this visit here I spotted a Southern Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum), (Fig. 05 below) while hiking the pull-off at Forest Trail 917 (WP 01) on (Fig. 02). Also the pictures in (Figs. 01, 03 and 04) were also taken from this area.

04/28/2011 Hiking Notes: Again, while hiking in the Lovell Wash along side Lovell Canyon Road with several hikers from the Henderson Rockhounds, I spotted a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Fig. 07 below), sunning himself in the middle of the wash.

09/29/2011 Hiking Notes
While hiking in the Lovell Wash along the side road (Fig. 06) I found an outstanding specimen of a fossilized sea shell (Fig. 08 below), again while hiking the wash. The flowers in (Figs. 09 thru 12) are but a few of the specimens that I observed while hiking along the wash areas surrounding the road.

As you can see, stopping at any of these spots can provide unique exploration and viewing opportunities, allowing one to spend an entire day without ever going more than a few hundred yards off the Lovell Canyon Road itself. For more detailed descriptions and pictures for some of these areas, click on the links to specific locations found below.
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)

(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)

Rainbow Springs
Rainbow Spring/Bootleg Spring Road: Though I have yet to hike to either these areas, they are known for their solitude, shade, and water. Rainbow Springs and its neighbor, Bootleg Spring, have good productivity and are running even in the hotter summer months, so water is always available. There is almost always a small pool at Rainbow Springs. From the edge of Lovell Canyon Road, it appears that this hike is only about three miles with an elevation gain of less than 700 feet. Under good road conditions, a 4WD vehicle could reduce this hike by more than 2.5 miles.

EP-05-0311 Red Rock Canyon023Rocky Gap Road: Another area that I have yet to hike is Rocky Gap Road. This is an extremely rugged backcountry road that runs from Willow Springs Picnic Area in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (BLM land) to Lovell Canyon Road in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (USFS land), threading between the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness Area and the La Madre Mountain Wilderness Area the entire way. From Lovell Canyon Road on the western side of the mountains, the road is pretty well washed out making in passable only in extreme 4WD vehicles. Though there is roughly a 2,000 foot elevation gain, hiking this road to the summit of Rocky Peak is only about 2.5 miles. The picture is from its eastern entrance located in Red Rock Canyon.
EP-P1010139-2CC Spring Road: About 9.5 miles from SR-160, this fairly well traveled dirt road that leads west from Lovell Canyon Road, and runs a little over a mile towards CC Spring. Beginning about .5 miles out there are some rough campsite areas with fire rings. The countryside and view through this mountainous area is quite beautiful. Click the title link for more info and pictures. 
E-P1040842 -2Lovell Canyon Trail in Lovell Canyon: Having opened in 2008, the Lovell Canyon Trail is a 6 mile moderate hiking and equestrian trail with an elevation gain/loss of +/- 800 feet over rolling terrain on a well maintained trail. Although this hike ends at the peak and overlook into First Creek at Red Rock Canyon, you begin and end the hike at the Lovell Canyon Trailhead in Lovell Canyon. The trailhead is located about a third of a mile past the Torino Ranch entrance, headed west on Lovell Summit Road.
E-P1110251Lovell Summit Road Lovell Summit Road branches off the end of Lovell Canyon Road and leads through the mountains all the way back out to SR-160, just short of the town of Pahrump.  To drive this road, it is advised that you have a 4-wheel drive truck or an SUV of some kind. Along the way you will see the damage which was done by several forest fires. Hiking this road to the top brings you just below the peak of Lovell Summit. A small stream follows the road down to the parking area for the Lovell Canyon Trail.