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Mormon Well Corral and Spring
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Desert National Wildlife Range
Mormon Well
Mormon Well
Mormon Well Road at Mormon Well Spur Road

Overview

Mormon Well, located out on the Desert National Wildlife Range, is an historic site developed by mormon ranchers around 1900 as a summer pasture. The area was abandoned about 1924, and little remains except the spring, some cement works, and the old circular corral. The site now provides silent testament to those who went before us, while also providing a year-round source of water that attracts wildlife from near and far. Visitors should tread lightly here to ensure that the remaining structures are not damaged, and they should not linger too long because the animals need access to the water.

The hike is quite short, about 3/4-miles round-trip, but getting there is an adventure. The Mormon Well Road is a long, rough dirt road that starts at Corn Creek and passes through a variety of life zones and geologically interesting areas. Details of the road are posted on the Mormon Well Road page.

Link to map or elevation profile.

Mormon Well trailhead parking area.
Mormon Well trailhead parking (view NE from main road)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a short, easy hike on an old dirt road, so it is relatively safe. However, there is some old junk and a bit of rusty wire lying about, so be sure not to step on nails or other sharp things. Please be careful around this historic site (it is on the National Register of Historic Places) and help preserve it for future generations. We will never get another one of these.

Mormon Well Road is a long, rough, dirt road. A high-clearance vehicle is required under all but the best of conditions. There are no services, except a campground if that counts. Take at least a gallon of water per person. Expect to be the only people out there, and be prepared to break down and spend a day waiting for help to find you. Cell phones don't work.

Mormon Well
Mormon Well trailhead parking and watering trough (view NE)

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, although this hike is short, it is a long way out, so be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

This is a wildlife refuge, so pay extra attention to respecting the land. Please, don't bother the bighorn sheep. They have a hard enough time making a living in these desert lands; they don't need extra stress from people hanging around the spring.

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located on the Desert National Wildlife Range, about 3 hours north of town. From Corn Creek Field Station, drive out the Mormon Well Road for 27.4 miles to an unmarked spur road on the right. Turn right and drive about 40 yards to a parking area by an old cement watering trough. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Mormon Well
Mormon Well trailhead parking (view NE)

After the hike, consider driving back down the Mormon Well Road. Visitors can continue north for another 14.4 miles to Highway 93, but the road is very rough - nearly 4WD in some places. Mormon Well Road hits Highway 93 where powerlines cross the highway, about 2 miles south of the road to Glendale. At the pavement, turn right and drive south back to Las Vegas.

The Hike

From the watering trough (Table 1, Waypoint 02), the route runs south-southeast on an old, closed road. After a few hundred yards, the old road turns east and cuts up a steep hillside. Halfway up the hill, the trail passes the foundations of a water tank. Atop the hill, the corral (Wpt. 03) sits on a flat area.

Mormon Well
Start of the trail (view SE)

The corral was made from Singleleaf Pinyon Pine and Utah Juniper branches, with the uprights wired together into a circular structure. There are open gates on the north and south sides of the corral, so there is not reason to climb over anything to get inside.

Mormon Well Spring (Wpt. 04) is located at the base of the hill on the south side of the corral. There are some old cement watering troughs below the spring, but I don't know if they were original or if they were added more recently. Refuge personnel did some water improvement work here in the past (1950s or 1960s?), and more recently have been removing some of the old equipment (e.g., the water tank).

Remember, this is the only place we have like this, so be careful and don't damage anything during your visit.

When ready to leave, follow your footprints back to the trailhead.

Mormon Well
Hikers starting of the trail (view SE)
Mormon Well
Trail follows old road (view SE)
Mormon Well
Trail follows old road (view SE)
Mormon Well
Alternate trail merges at curve in the old road (view E)
Mormon Well
Looking back down on the water tank foundation
Mormon Well
Trail follows old road (view E)
Mormon Well
Arriving at Mormon Corral (view SE)
Mormon Well
Route wraps around the back side of the corral (view SW)
Mormon Well
Arriving at the spring (view SE)
Happy hikers at the spring
Happy hikers at the spring (view E)

Mormon Corral

Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well

Cement Watering Troughs

Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Mormon Well

Mormon Well Spring

Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well Spring Mormon Well
Mormon Well
Outflow from the spring ... a good place to spot birds
Mormon Well
Frozen outflow from the spring ... a good place to spot birds

Wildlife

Mormon Well
Western Fence Lizard
Mormon WellBlack-headed Grosbeak
Mormon Well
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Mormon Well
Bighorn Sheep scat

Hiking Back to the Trailhead

Mormon Well Mormon Well
Mormon Well more to come ...

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27, UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Roadside Trailhead 669910 4057101 6,350 0.00 . GPS
02 Watering Trough Trailhead 669923 4057231 6,301 0.00 0.00 GPS
03 Mormon Corral 670183 4056939 6,472 0.31 0.31 GPS
04 Mormon Well Spring 670181 4056896 6,448 0.06 0.37 GPS
02 Watering Trough Trailhead 669923 4057231 6,301 0.36 0.73 GPS

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
Thanks for coming to visit!
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140226

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