Steve Alexander is a supervisor for Republic Services by day and an off-road racer whenever possible. “I go to work so I can do this,” he says. When not bashing through harsh desert terrain in his Class 5 Unlimited Baja Bug—he won his class in the recent Vegas-to-Reno race—Alexander likes to explore in the Sheep Range mountains just north of Las Vegas.
There is a trail that goes all the way behind the [Sheep Range] mountains, with several different legs that go off of it. Take one and you get up to what is called the Hidden Forest. It’s a really beautiful area. I have been up there before when it has been snowing; there are pine trees all around me, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Follow Alamo Road all the way through, and it comes out on State Highway 93 by Coyote Springs.
It is a nice getaway from Las Vegas, and not many people know about it. I have a lot of friends over in Europe, and when they come in I will take them and go up that way and give them a really good view of the untainted desert. If they are taking care of the road, you can take a car up there, but sometimes it gets rutted out, so it is better to have an off-road-capable vehicle.
The Trip: Alamo Road, into the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
The Way: Drive north from Las Vegas about 25 miles on U.S. Highway 95 until you see a sign for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge on your right. Follow the dirt road about 35 miles to the Corn Creek Field Station, where you can pick up a map of the area. Alamo Road continues north until it ends at Highway 93 near the Coyote Springs golf course. Note: Flash-flooding in August damaged some roads in the area, so it’s wise to check the refuge’s website (FWS.gov/desertcomplex/desertrange) before you go.
The wheels: Alexander’s choice for this drive is his 2010 Ford F-150 Raptor, a four-wheel-drive truck with serious off-road prowess. “I have the comfort of off-road capability so I can enjoy the ride, plus I am sitting in leather seats with Sirius radio going and AC.”
Pit Stops: Picnic lunch in the Hidden Forest.