These magnificent and little-known springs are located in Foxtail Canyon off of Lee Canyon in the Spring Mountains, Nevada. The springs flow or drip year-round into a 6-ft high, 75ft long cave at the base of a 30-40ft high cliff in Foxtail Canyon. As with other springs in the Spring Mountains, the springs are surrounded by lush vegetation. A long wide shelf spans the front of the cave from which there is a spectacular view down Foxtail Canyon into Lee Canyon. Above the cliff cave one can continue upward toward Mummy Mountain and the North Ridge of Kyle Canyon. These destinations are about 2000 feet higher in elevation and the routes are not yet discovered by this trail runner.
Just beyond the group picnic area at the base of Foxtail Canyon lies Foxtail Girl Scouts Camp. The camp was abandoned in 2017 after 64 years operation and hosting over 19,000 campers. A combination of $1.5 million needed repairs, a broken water system and the need to protect the habitat of the endangered Mt. Charleston Blue Butterfly created too great a challenge to continue the camp. The buildings are still intact and it’s evident that the Girl Scouts created a trail up to the Foxtail Canyon Springs where they hung a few hand-made nature symbols from the cave roof (seen in the slide show and video on this page).
Take I-95 North of Las Vegas, then take a left onto Hwy 156 toward Lee Canyon. We’ll call this Lee Canyon Road. Take Lee Canyon Road up into Lee Canyon. There is a turn-around a couple miles below the ski area. Across from the turn-around and on the left there is a group picnic area. On this day it was blocked off to motor vehicles so I parked in a wide parking area just outside the entrance of the group picnic area.
Precede through the group picnic area until it ends at the Foxtail Girl Scouts Camp. The road at this point becomes unpaved. Precede through the Foxtail Girl Scout Camp. On this last Saturday in September of 2020 the camp had been abandoned since Fall of 2017. The buildings are still intact and it looks as if the camp could resume at any time except for the hidden code and regulatory problems noted above.
Above the camp the road continues up the canyon and soon becomes a rather rugged 4WD road. It looks like a fire access road. At this point the North Ridge of Kyle Canyon comes into view straight ahead and about 2,500ft higher in elevation.
The road enters designated wilderness area and becomes even more rugged, eventually transitioning into a faint trail that continues up Foxtail Canyon. The angle of elevation is very healthy. Eventually the trail ends at the magnificent Foxtail Canyon Springs.
On this day I circumvented the cave springs cliff area to the right looking for a way above the cliff. Actually, one can ascend a very steep avalanche slope immediately to the right of the cliff formation and continue upward. However, in search of a route that did not involve scrambling up and avalanche slope on my hands and knees, I circumvented the cliff wide and to the right. This involved losing some elevation before taking a left and continuing up a more gradual slope above the cliff.
On this day I ended the adventure at about the 9,600ft point. The route ahead looked fairly gradual and easy and I will return to see how far this route will take me toward the summit of the North Ridge of Kyle Canyon which is still about 1,500ft above.
Another potential route from the group camp is a route to the North rim of the mid-section of Mummy Mountain. I recently stood on the North Rim of Mummy Mountain and looked down from the North Rim into Foxtail Canyon and all the way to the turn-around on Lee Canyon Road. This adventure is documented on the Mummy Mountain Northern Rim Overlook page. From the top, it looks as if one could descend all the way to the bottom of Foxtail Canyon. From lower Foxtail Canyon looking up it looks as if one could ascent all the way to the North Rim of the central section of Mummy Mountain. However, it remain to see if this route can be traversed without serious climbing. We’ll eventually attempt the route.