Hidden Canyon/Virgin Mountains

Use this connector trail to access sites in the western half of the Arizona Strip. The trail climbs through the Virgin Mtns. and then remains rough through Hidden Canyon before ending at BLM Road 103 near the Poverty Junction close to Mt. Trumbull.

Last Known Status: Open Trail type: Through trail Length: 51 miles one-way Approx. time: at least 6 hours Traffic: Moderate
Permit Needed: No Current Info: BLM/AZ Strip F.O. (435-688-3200) Nearest City: Mesquite, NV Elevation: 1564'-5781' Best Time: Spring-Fall

Where to go:

This trail begins near the Poverty Junction (BLM Roads 103/1018/1003) west of Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse and requires having spent many miles on dirt roads.

  • From Fredonia/the east: This trail combines well with Toroweap Overlook and  Grand Gulch Mine Trail forming a large loop from Fredonia, AZ to Mesquite, NV. Begin at these coordinates and head north on BLM Road 103 until BLM Road 1003. Turn left and follow trail as indicated below.

  • From Mesquite, NV/the west: Head south on Riverside Road in downtown Mesquite. Continue left onto Road 242/Lime Kiln Canyon Road. After 0.6 miles, continue right onto the dirt road that heads southeast. Follow the directions below in REVERSE.


Trail Description:

From the BLM 103/1003 intersection, head northwest on 1003. The road remains smooth as it descends. After about 5 miles, the road tightly twists as it parallels a wash bottom in a tight section of canyon. The trail remains mostly smooth as most of the wash crossings aren’t very eroded. Pass an old corral on the right at 7.0 miles as trail continues to drop towards Hidden Canyon. Stay right at 9.2 miles where the trail splits. Pass through a gate at 10.5 miles as scenery continues to improve. Stay left at 11.5 miles to stay on Nutter Twists Rd./BLM 1003.

The road heads west passing another corral on the right as towering cliffs on either side begin to dominate the trail. The terrain begins to change as Joshua Trees begin to appear across the landscape. Stay right at 13.2 miles where the trail splits. Conditions get rougher as the trail becomes rockier through numerous wash crossings. Pass through another gate at 16.9 miles as the trail gets rougher. For the next few miles, the trail twists and turns as it passes through a narrow canyon.

Make a left turn at a ‘T’ at 18.5 miles to head south. The trail becomes a shelf road and numerous rock ledges and boulders require a slow pace and careful high. The trail turns west at 19.5 miles and begins a fairly rapid descent of 500 feet in just over a mile. The scenery is incredible but expect a slow pace. We found 4WD necessary along this section. Conditions improve slightly after the 20.5 mile mark as the trail levels off. Stay straight at 20.8 miles as road joins from the right and becomes BLM 1007. The road remains rough in places but uneventful as it passes through grassland for the next several miles.

At 27.3 miles, make an important right turn onto BLM 1027. Stay left at a trail split at 27.6 miles as trail passes the remote Pakoon dirt strip and heads northwest. Things get rougher again as the trail is narrow and rocky in several spots. After passing through another narrow canyon and a cattle tank, the trail arrives at the junction with BLM Road 101 at 37.7 miles. Stay left as the road gets smoother yet again. Continue straight onto BLM Road 242 at 38.7 miles.

The trail remains wide and fairly smooth as it begins to climb up and into the Virgin Mountains. After leaving Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the road begins a rapid ascent towards Lime Kiln Pass. The trail becomes heavily eroded with exposed rocks near the summit at 42.6 miles. After clearing the pass, the road once again becomes easy as it descends for the rest of its length. Numerous switchbacks require careful attention, but the road is wide in most places. There are numerous great campsites and additional trails to explore in this area.

By 47.6 miles the trail leaves the mountains and flattens out. Continue north as the road crosses the state line at 51.4 miles. Things become gradually more civilized as you approach Mesquite, Nevada. The trail ends at the 55 mile mark as Lime Kiln Canyon Rd. becomes paved. Follow this 0.6 miles northwest to Riverside Road, and then turn right to reach the town of Mesquite and Interstate 15.

Notes & Trail Ratings:

This is a long trail with countless side roads to explore. Allow at least 6 hours to do the route as described here. When combined with Grand Gulch Mine trail and Toroweap Overlook trail, this can make for a multi-day adventure from Fredonia. We’ve rated this trail a “7.5” out of “10”. The shelf road near Hidden Canyon is especially difficult and a high-clearance and 4WD vehicle is required. Aggressive (not stock) vehicle recommended. Be sure to carry extra emergency supplies and a map of the area. This is a sparsely traveled area with no cell reception. Consider combining your own route with portions of this route. Road conditions on some maps may be outdated. Be sure to check on local conditions before you go.


Page last updated: 1/1/2019