Las Vegas, NV: Hidden Forest Cabin

Leave the desert scenery behind as you hike beneath twisted rock spires and towering ponderosa pines en route to the Hidden Forest Cabin. This hike can be done in a day or as an overnighter.
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Leave the desert scenery behind as you hike beneath twisted rock spires and towering ponderosa pines en route to the Hidden Forest Cabin. This hike can be done in a day or as an overnighter.

The hike to the Hidden Forest Cabin begins at the mouth of Deadman Canyon. The trail begins in the designated parking lot and heads east through a signed gate and into a wash that used to be an old road. After years of heavy rain and landslides, the canyon has narrowed. The trail gains about 2,000 feet in 5 miles. Trudging uphill in a wash can be a lot of work—luckily there are a lot of Mojave Desert natives to distract you. The wash is filled with Joshua trees, creosote, desert almond and Apache plume to name a few. The canyon will get narrower after a mile and a half. Shortly after that, you’ll hike over a portion of the trail that was destroyed by a flash flood in 2008. It looks as though there was an avalanche. After another ¾ of a mile you’ll come to a nice, shady spot to rest or camp.

Continue east in the wash where you’ll pass under some interesting, limestone spires. Notice that the trail is more packed and easier to walk on. At almost 4 miles the ponderosa pines begin to tower above you and the heat of the desert is a distant memory. The flora and fauna at this higher elevation are different than at the trailhead. Look for mountain chickadee and Clark’s nutcrackers. The trail continues in the forest for another mile until you reach the historic cabin and seasonal springs. The cabin was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is rumored to have been built in the late 1800s and used by hunters and outlaws. In the early 1900s it was used by bootleggers before the road became too narrow for cars.

A short trail (200 yards) from the Hidden Forest Cabin leads north to Wiregrass Spring. BY CHELISE SIMMONS

Random Information
- The spring is a vital water source for animals, too. Make sure to give them space to drink.
- Please remove all trash and food remnants to keep from attracting rodents and coyotes.
- Pack a tent: If the cabin is being used, there is plenty of space to set up a tent under the stars. There is an outside toilet south of the cabin.
- No ground fires any time. Propane stoves are OK for cooking. Bring water in case the spring is dry.
- This hike can be done in winter, but you'll need to bring snow gear.
- In 2009, the cabin was renovated by the Boy Scouts and local hiking groups. They installed a wrought-iron stove box base and the foundation was restored. Equipment and trash was moved by using pack horses and helicopters.
- Animal sightings: mountain lions, rattlesnakes, sidewinders, king snakes, red-tailed hawks, canyon wrens, etc.
- Despite being graded in 2014, the road out to the trailhead is tough on vehicles. High-clearance 4WD is recommended.
- No one to tell where you’re going? You may leave your information at visitor center Thursday through Sunday.
- Info: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/desert/

Trail Facts

  • State: NV
  • City: Las Vegas
  • Distance: 10.3
  • Contact: (702) 879-6110
  • Land Type: National Wildlife Refuge

Waypoints

HFC001
Location: 36.628903, -115.287686
Parking area & trailhead

HFC002
Location: 36.621697, -115.265059
Canyon walls narrow.

HFC003
Location: 36.622978, -115.252485
Flash flood area. Trail disappears for about 30 yards & picks up on the other side of the slide.

HFC004
Location: 36.624483, -115.243192
Camping spot. From here the gravel is easier to walk on.

HFC005
Location: 36.626837, -115.221581
Pine forest.

HFC006
Location: 36.631426, -115.207859
Hidden Forest Cabin.