Alamo Road Wildflowers! Joe May to Hidden Forest Road ~ Desert National Wildlife Range
From March through May the desert wildflower blooms show off their bright stunning colors. The Desert Southwest wildflower season can even start in late February if there was plenty of rainfall during the winter season, so the window of opportunity for a wildflower viewing journey can vary greatly. The outdoor temperatures are also a factor for when the desert wildflower blooms begin and end. The elevation of the territory plays a part too. Icy cold early spring temperatures may delay the cactus blooms, while an early spell of summertime extreme heat can result in the grand finale of the entire desert wildflower show.
A good place to slowly cruise down a long dirt road while looking for spring season wildflower blooms that is near Las Vegas is the Desert National Wildlife Range. About 20 minutes north of Las Vegas is where the sign for Corn Creek Road can be spotted and this is the west entrance into this vast wilderness area. A visitor will not need a map just to take a cruise down Alamo Road, because the signage here is now better than it used to be. To go to other destinations within the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, a map or GPS will be necessary, because this is the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states.
A previous article titled “Spring Wildflowers! Alamo Road to Joe May Road ~ Desert National Wildlife Range“describes the starting point of Alamo Road near the visitors center. This article shows plenty of wildflower photos taken along Alamo Road between the visitors center and the intersection of Joe May Road, which is a three mile ride. The distance for the second half of the trip to the intersection of Hidden Forest Road is about another 13 miles. The total distance for this wildflower spotting tour is only about a 35 mile round trip from the highway, so fuel management will not be critical. This dirt road also is usually smooth, so it will not be a back breaking bouncy ride.
In the area from Joe May Road all the way to Hidden Forest Road, the Alamo Road travel route borders upon the Nellis Air Force Base Bombing Range. There are no fences, but there are no trespassing signs and plenty of security sensors. Trespassing here to snoop around can result in doing a seriously long stretch in the brig, so it is best to stay within the boundaries of the Desert National Wildlife Range. The border topic brings up a matter of controversy, because Nellis AFB wants to expand the size of the bombing range and there is much public outrage, because this will mean no more Alamo Road and no more public access to the western end of this pristine wildlife reserve. For those who want to get involved, signing the petition to stop the AFB Bombing Range Expansion is easy to do on the internet.
Other than the bombing range being next door and some residual radioactive fallout lying around from the old days of the Nevada Test Site atomic bomb explosions, the Alamo Road section of the Desert National Wildlife Range is as majestic as can be and there are plenty of spring season wildflower blooms to be seen! Between Joe May and Hidden Forest Road, Alamo Road starts climbing to higher elevations, so the kinds of wildflowers that are seen will be different than those down below. Far more delicate seasonal wildflower blooms can be viewed in this high elevation area and there are lots of orange color Mallow Globe flowers too. Mallow Globe flowers are fairly common in the high elevations where Joshua Trees grow, so do not be surprised to see a few mega bloom areas that look like a sea of pretty orange flowers!