Trails & Destinations

Corn Creek & Desert National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

The most frequented destination at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is Corn Creek and the Visitor Center.  They can be accessed via Corn Creek Road, a small paved road in between Kyle and Lee Canyon, on the east side of US-95.  About 4 miles from the intersection of US-95 and the Corn Creek Road, the Corn Creek Visitor Center provides introductory and in-depth information about the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, its mission, and its wildlife. Corn Creek is a popular spot for bird watching and also home to the only remaining population of Pahrump Poolfish, although work on changing that is underway.   Meander down one of the many small trails through Corn Creek and you'll find a small house with an even smaller fish; the Pahrump Poolfish Refugium.

Beyond the Pavement

The Refuge is vast beyond Corn Creek and can be accessed via two main roads, Mormon Well Road and Alamo Road.  Both of these roads are rough dirt roads requiring high clearance and sometimes 4-wheel drive.  The quality of the road depends on how recently it was maintained and recent weather events.  Both of these roads eventually lead to US-93 many miles to the East, though there's much to see along the way.  

Mormon Well Road skirts around the South end of the Sheep Range and goes right by Fossil Ridge.  From this road visitors can access Fossil Ridge, Gass Peak, John Day Peak, Long Canyon, Desert Pass Campground, the Joshua Tree Forest, and plenty of open desert.  For a more detailed description of each of these trails and backroads, it is suggested visitors reach out to the Fish & Wildlife Service or plan ahead using the Map Tab on the left of this page.

Alamo Road travels north along the face of the Sheep Range.  From this road visitors can access a variety of backroads, including Cow Camp Road, and other destinations such as the Hidden Forest trailhead, Hayford Peak, the dry lake bed, the sand dunes, and eventually the town of Alamo.  Again, for a more detailed description of each of these trails and backroads, it is suggested visitors reach out to the Fish & Wildlife Service or plan ahead using the Map Tab on the left of this page.

Viewing Desert Bighorn Sheep

After centuries of persecution and conflicts with and diseases from domestic livestock, desert bighorn sheep have become quite reclusive.  They are difficult to find and tend to keep to themselves in vertical, secluded country. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the desert bighorn sheep's largest protected continuous habitat.  If visitors take the time to travel by foot through some of this rough terrain they may be rewarded with a glimpse of a sheep.  More likely, visitors will notice traces of what the sheep have left behind; scat, flattened spots, and maybe even bones.  If you are lucky enough to see a sheep, be respectful and keep your distance as they are wild animals.  Also, do not be alarmed if you see a large "necklace" one some of the animals.  The U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are gathering data about sheep's behavior and distribution in order to better understand the pneumonia that plagues our local populations.  

For more information on Trails, Trailheads, and Access, click the Maps tab on the left side of this page.

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge Website is an excellent fount of information about all aspects of the Refuge.

CAUTION: All roads beyond the paved road to Corn Creek Visitor Center are rough dirt roads that are best traveled in a vehicle with high clearance and 4-wheel drive.  The Refuge staff maintain the roads regularly but be prepared for any exceptionally rough patches of road you may encounter.  Make sure you have spare tires, extra gas, a detailed map, and extra food and water in case you break down. There is no cell phone service in the area.  Always be prepared for changing conditions, stay on designated routes, and practice leave no trace principles.