Nevada May 24, 2017
Most People Don’t Know There’s A Hidden Forest Nestled In The Middle Of The Nevada Desert
Located near Indian Springs in northern Clark County is Hidden Forest Trail. This 10.2-mile out-and-back hike takes adventure seekers from the arid desert to the lush foliage of a hidden forest where an old historic cabin sits that you can actually spend the night in. You won’t believe that this charming forest is in the middle of the Nevada desert. Take a look at this amazing hike and slice of Nevada history.
Hidden in the arid Mojave Desert near Indian Springs is the Hidden Forest Trail where, at the end, a 19th-century cabin you can actually camp in stands. You can leave the starkness of the Mojave desert as you hike beneath magnificent limestone rock spires and huge ponderosa pine trees en route to the hidden cabin. The trail gains approximately 2,000 feet in elevation in 5 miles.
The Hidden Forest hike begins at the mouth of Deadman Canyon and is labeled by this somewhat creepy welcome sign. Beyond this is an old wash that used to be a road. While a moderately difficult hike due to the gravel surface, it is quite safe provided you heed standard hiking precautions and keep an eye out for wildlife. Just beware that the road to the trail head can be difficult going. A high-clearance 4x4 vehicle is highly recommended.
Due to years of heavy rains and landslides, the canyon itself has suffered erosion and thinned drastically. The wash is chock-full of common desert flora such as Joshua trees, creosote, desert almond, and Apache plume, for example. Animal sightings include mountain lions, rattlesnakes and sidewinders, king snakes, red-tailed hawks, and canyon wrens.
This hike can be done in a day or as an overnighter. Trudging uphill in a wash that has been damaged over the years by Mother Nature can be difficult; however, the trail does become easier as you gain elevation. It's difficult to believe that you are still in the middle of the desert with this beautiful forested landscape and lush foliage. The trail is generally accessible from April through October; however, many have hiked in the snow. Just take adequate precautions and pack necessary gear. Dogs are also welcome provided they are kept on a leash.
About halfway up, there is a nice shady area perfect for resting, picnicking, or camping.
At the end of the hike is an old game warden's cabin believed to have been built around the 1890's. Speculation abounds that hunters, trappers, outlaws, and even prospectors used this cabin; as well as bootleggers during the Prohibition era. The cabin is quite quaint. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on 20 February 1975.
You can even stay overnight here. The cabin is decorated by the carved initials of those who have visited. There is a small outside pit toilet just south of the cabin. It is also a good idea to bring a tent just in case someone else is staying in the cabin; however, there is plenty of room.
Boy scouts have renovated the cabin and installed a wood-burning stove and left canned goods and kitchen utensils to make the cabin quite livable. Trash, equipment, and debris were removed via helicopter and pack horses. Of course, there is no electricity or Wi-Fi.
Recent reports claim that the water pipe at the cabin is not safe for drinking; however, after heavy rains during the 2016-17 winter, it appears to be safer. The spring provides water for all animals in the area as well. Just to be safe, however, it's a good idea to bring extra drinking water.
While this is a challenging hike, it is definitely worth it. From the desert scenery to the lush forest to the historic cabin, this is quite an incredible and unforgettable adventure.
If you do decide to spend the night at the cabin, please clean up after yourself to keep the area rodent- and insect-free and in top shape for others who may come to visit. For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/desert/.
Have you made this incredible hike? Did you stay overnight in the cabin? Please share your experiences below.