The Hidden Forest Trail

We found a new way to cool off by hiking high up in the mountains of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge outside of Vegas. Forty-five minutes of bumpy dirt road driving, an ominous name of Deadman Canyon, and 5.5 miles of uphill climbing made our hike quite the special trek. Once we reached over 7000 feet of elevation, the payoff was a forest of ponderosa pines and a cozy cabin from around the 1930s. Next time I definitely need to consider hauling a tent and sleeping gear for some first-come, first-served camping!

I think we are STILL going to be washing dust off our Nissan Rogue for a few more weeks, but these mountainous, desert views full of Joshua Trees and wildflowers were totally worth the tedious dirt-roading adventure. After stuffing my face with snacks and water and reading up on all the pine trees and history ahead of us, the not-so-welcoming rusty sign for Deadman Canyon tired to scare me off. Nevada sure holds no punches when it comes to treacherous-sounding names for our desert locations.

Thankfully, Deadman Canyon is not nearly as dangerous as it sounds. Though the heat and the steady climb through loose gravel feels quite taxing and tiresome, I LOVED how quiet this location was. we must have only run into 10 or so other people on this hike, and the extreme distance from humans and machines just left us with the calm sounds of breezes, birds, and nature. I needed that so much! As we climbed higher and higher above the desert, our regular little mountains quickly turned into more steep and stunning rock formations. The appearance of ponderosa pines and a bit of cooler air and shade were a welcome find too. If I hadn’t been training for a 30K race, I definitely would have gone slower on this trail to take in more of the scenery.

This one-room cabin was hands-down the COOLEST aspect of our trip. Built around the 1930s or even earlier, the log cabin’s origins and history are open for a bit of speculation. While nobody knows for sure, this cozy little log home could have been for miners, hunters, or even bootleggers. I jumped at the opportunity to sign the guest book and peruse the messages from prior travelers on their adventures. While staying in the cabin for a night is definitely an option, I wasn’t quite clear on the current policies on use of the wood-burning stove, with our ongoing danger of wildfires.

This is absolutely a trail I’ll need to return to when Las Vegas feels just a little too hot for hiking. Our recent heat is no joke! Training at a higher elevation was a super new experience for me, and surely helped me cope with and understand the fatigue I experienced during our 30K race. I can’t wait to share with you how that went!

Happy adventuring, every one ❤

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