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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Hayford Peak - Sheep Mountains, NV

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
NV > Vegas
no permit
52 1 0
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 15.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,855 feet
Elevation Gain 4,057 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,130 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 36.25
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Historic, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
52  2021-05-14 DixieFlyer
Author DixieFlyer
author avatar Guides 58
Routes 505
Photos 7,086
Trips 461 map ( 5,731 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Fountain Hills, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  4:22am - 7:03pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Make Hayford while the sun shines
by DixieFlyer

Likely In-Season!
Hayford Peak (elevation of 9,912 feet and prominence of 5,392 feet) is the highpoint of the Sheep Range mountains in southern Nevada. Hayford Peak is about one hour north of Las Vegas, and it is within the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, which is the largest wildlife refuge in the continental U.S. It is the 7th most prominent peak in Nevada and the 42nd most prominent peak in the continental U.S.

You'll take the unmarked Hidden Forest Trail for 5.3 miles from the trailhead until you get to Hidden Forest Cabin. From the cabin, it is another 2.5 miles on a use-trail to the summit.

The trail goes in an easterly direction, and it follows Deadman Wash to the cabin. One time, a road to the cabin was in the wash, but floods and landslides have long since made the road undrivable. For the first 4 miles or so, the wash has quite a bit of loose gravel, which is tiring to hike on. After that, the ground is more firm, and hiking is easier. You'll gain about 2,000 feet in elevation in the 5.3 miles, and the grade is generally constant at nearly 400 feet per mile.

Vegetation at the trailhead is typical of a dry desert; Joshua trees, creosote bush, bursage, among others, dominate. This area is in the rain shadow of the Spring Mountains, which results in it getting even less rain than other parts of southern Nevada. As you get into the wash, underground water from the mountains results in comparatively lush vegetation -- desert almond, Apache plume, saltbush, among others, are seen.

After about a mile, the Joshua trees are gone, and you get into a forest of pinyon pine and juniper. After three miles or so, Ponderosa pines appear, and before long, you are in a forest of ponderosa pine and some white fir.

Continue on the wash and old roadbed until you get to Hidden Forest Cabin. In front of the cabin is a pipe with water from Wiregrass Spring that seems to run most of the time. There are some picnic tables, so this is a good place to take a break.

The Hayford Peak summit is 2.5 miles from the cabin. To get there, follow a use trail through a side canyon going north until you get to a ridgeline. When facing the cabin, the use trail is off to your right. The last part of the climb to the ridgeline is a bit steep, and you may be stopping a time or two to catch your breath.

One at the ridgeline, the use trail goes in a northeast direction to the summit. From the ridgeline, you'll see a false summit that looks a bit intimidating to climb, but have no fear; you'll sidestep the false summit on the way to the true summit. The true summit does not come into view until you are below it. The ascent from the ridgeline is a bit steep and slippery and would be considered a class 2 climb. However, there is no exposure and nothing that would be concerning to a seasoned hiker.

The grade for the first mile or so past the Cabin continues to be relatively modest; thereafter, it steepens quite a bit up to the summit -- you'll be ascending about 1,700 feet in the last 1.5 miles to the summit.

There are nice views at the summit, and there are several bristlecone pines at the summit, particularly on the north side of the summit. There are great views of Charleston Peak to the southwest, and on a clear day, you can see Lake Mead off to the southeast. After spending some time at the summit enjoying the scenery, turn around and go back to the trailhead the way that you came.

The Hidden Forest Cabin was originally constructed sometime around 1900, although it is not known who built it. It was used by prospectors, hunters, bootleggers, and even outlaws. It became a game warden cabin in the 1930s when the Desert National Wildlife Refuge acquired the property. At one time, automobiles could drive to the cabin, and there are a few parts from a 1928 Chevrolet near the cabin.

Water Sources
There is a spring in front of the Hidden Forest Cabin that generally has water, but it might be dry during extremely dry periods.

Camping is available along the trail, particularly near the Hidden Forest Cabin, where water is often available. Sleeping inside of Hidden Forest Cabin is also permitted. Note that campfires are not allowed.

Due to distance and elevation gain, this is not an easy day hike. However, it is doable for an experienced and reasonably fit hiker. Going uphill in the wash for the first 4 miles can be a bit tedious and tiring, but the diversity of vegetation along the way is interesting, and views at the summit are stellar.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2021-05-16 DixieFlyer
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    The hike starts and ends at the Hidden Forest Trailhead (36.62895, -115.28771).

    From Las Vegas, take US-95 North for about 25 miles or so to Corn Creek Road. Turn right on the paved Corn Creek Road and go about 4 miles to a t-junction at Alamo Road. Just before getting to Alamo Road, you will see a Desert National Wildlife Refuge Ranger Station on your left. Turn left on the reasonably well-graded Alamo Road and travel 15 miles to the signed Hidden Forest Road; take a right on Hidden Forest Road. A sedan could probably drive on Alamo Road, but an SUV or other vehicle with a bit of clearance would be better. Hidden Forest Road is a bit rougher than Alamo Road, but an SUV should have no issues. A sedan could probably make it, but you'd want to drive slowly. Travel about 4 miles on Hidden Forest Road until you get to a closed gate. Park in the ample parking area on the left side of the road just before the gate. Hidden Forest Road goes through a Joshua tree forest, which many people will find interesting.

    Note that google maps should take you to the Hidden Forest Trailhead. Actually, Google will try to take you about 0.5 miles past the closed gate, but if you get that far you should be able to figure out what to do.
    page created by DixieFlyer on May 16 2021 3:49 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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