Alamo Road runs over 80 miles from the Corn Creek Visitor Center to the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge in Alamo, Nevada. This lengthy dirt road is one of two main touring routes in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (Wildlife Range) and there are several side roads that are worth exploring. One such side road is the Dead Horse Trail and this pathway is located a few miles northeast of White Rock Road, which was featured in a previous article. Alamo Road is fairly smooth getting to the intersection and the Dead Horse Trail looks smooth at first, but it does get much rougher the further one goes. For this reason, a high ground clearance 4x4 is recommended for the Dead Horse Trail. Stocking up on food, fuel and water is also recommended, since you truly will be on your own if an emergency occurs.
The Dead Horse Trail climbs in elevation through the Joshua Tree forests to the base of the mountains and the panoramic views are astounding from the high ground. This dirt road then winds its way uphill through a series of mountain dry washes and the geological features along the way certainly are mesmerizing. Very few people head up this way and the desert mountain environment is as pristine as can be. Some gigantic old growth Joshua Trees can be seen in the high elevations, which are perfect photo subject matter, so be sure to pack a camera for the ride.
The environment becomes greener the further a visitor goes into the mountains and this enables better wildlife spotting opportunities. This refuge is a primary Desert Bighorn Sheep habitat, so it pays to keep the eyes peeled. Mountain lions, wild horses and wild burros also frequent this area, plus there is plenty of small game, so this trail is perfect for wildlife photographers too. There are loose pea gravel and silt sections as the road passes through the mountain dry washes and the four wheel drive option will come in handy. Finally the end point appears at a trailhead staging area in a mountain meadow. The Dead Horse Hiking Trail continues deep into the desert mountain wilderness from here and this trek definitely is well worth taking on!
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