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Hidden Valley Overlook (Start of the Arch Trail)
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area
Hidden Valley Overlook
Hidden Valley Overlook
Campsite against crags (view SE)

Overview

The Hidden Valley Overlook route is the start of the Arch Trail, also called the Sandstone Arch Trail. Hiking only to the Overlook makes for a nice short trail, a bit of stiff exercise, and a place with a view to sit and contemplate the meaning of Wilderness.

The route winds 0.6-miles through sandstone crags and up a long, steep hillside to a rocky outcrop on a saddle overlooking Hidden Valley and the Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area. In evening light, the view into Hidden Valley with Muddy Peak towering above is stunning -- both grand and sublime, and is one of the best views in all of southern Nevada. From the overlook, the Arch Trail continues down to the floor of Hidden Valley and off across Hidden Valley (south) to the arch.

Link to map or elevation profile.

Hidden Valley Overlook
Trailhead on spur road (view SE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a safe hike with no unusual hazards. There are places where someone could fall and hurt themselves, so be extra careful along edges.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. This route goes into designated Wilderness, so pay particular attention to respecting the land. This area is little used and nobody will find you out there if you need help, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials. Cell phones don't work in this area.

Hidden Valley Overlook
Trailhead (view S)

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located on the north edge of the Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area, about 1.5 hours north of Las Vegas near Valley of Fire State Park.

From Las Vegas, drive northbound Interstate 15 for 33 miles to Exit 75E. Turn right onto Highway 169 and drive east for 3.5 miles to Bitter Spring Backcountry Byway Road. Follow the Byway 4.1 miles to Colorock Road. Turn right and follow Colorock Road south into the mountains to the Colorock camp area. For details, see the Colorock Road webpage. Beyond the last campsite in the Colorock camp area, turn left onto the short spur road. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Hidden Valley Overlook
Friends of Nevada Wilderness and REI erected a trailhead kiosk

The Hike

The trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01) is marked with two carsonite signs and two large cairns. From the trailhead, the trail runs up the hillside to a flatish area above the first set of cliffs. Passing a wilderness area boundary sign (Wpt. 02), the trail follows ledges along the cliffs running southeast. The trail crosses a wash, then runs up a sandstone bench. In rocky areas, the trail is marked with large cairns.

The trail climbs onto a rocky saddle (Wpt. 03), then switchbacks down natural ledges on the other side dropping into the wash below where an obvious trail can be seen in the sandy dirt.

Hidden Valley Overlook
Muddy Mountain Wilderness Area sign along trail (view SE)

In the wash, the well-defined trail runs up along the wash, then curves left and climbs onto the southwest facing hillside. The trail is steep in places as it climbs onto the hillside, and there are two more large cairns along the dirt trail.

The trail eventually runs up onto a rocky ridgeline (Wpt. 04) north of and above a saddle on the crest of the ridge. This overlook is a great place to sit, eat lunch, and contemplate the scenic grandeur of Wilderness. Perhaps a Rock Wren will come and sing for you as it did for me.

Hidden Valley Overlook
Large cairn marks the trail across rocks (view SE)

When ready to leave, either retrace your footprints in the dust back to the trailhead, or consider continuing down to the floor of Hidden Valley following the Arch Trail, then hike downstream through the Colorock Canyon narrows to Colorock Road. From there, follow dirt roads back to the trailhead.

Hidden Valley Overlook
Hiker on trail
Hidden Valley Overlook
High in the canyon, trail follows sandstone bench (view SE)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Hikers and cairn on sandstone bench (view SE)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Trail runs over rocky ridge and drops into wash (view E)
Hidden Valley Overlook
After crossing low ridge, trail runs in wash and up hillside (view SE)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Cairn along trail on hillside (view E)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Hiker and cairn on trail on hillside (view E)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Trail on hillside (view SE)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Trail on hillside approaching saddle (view SE)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Rocky outcrop at the overlook (view S)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Hidden Valley and Muddy Peaks (View S)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Limestone, sandstone, and locoweed in flower

Descending from the Overlook Back to the Trailhead

Hidden Valley Overlook
Looking back towards the trailhead (view NW)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Hikers starting to descend from Overlook (view NW)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Trail descends across rocky hillside below Overlook (view NW)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Cairn along trail on hillside (view W)
Hidden Valley Overlook
In wash, trail cuts left at rock thumb (view NW)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Cairns mark trail across sandstone (view NW)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Cairns mark trail across sandstone (view NW)
Hidden Valley Overlook
Hikers dropping towards the trailhead (view NW)

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates (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 Trailhead 705412 4026301 2,905 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Wilderness Sign 705448 4026229 2,913 0.06 0.06 GPS
03 Rocky Saddle 705588 4026159 3,021 0.11 0.17 GPS
04 Hidden Valley Overlook 705866 4025899 3,247 0.34 0.51 GPS
01 Trailhead 705412 4026301 2,905 0.51 1.02 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 151019

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