The Dirt: Flat Top Mesa



A popular network of trails easily accessed from Mesquite surface streets.

At the trailhead, an informational kiosk with a map of the trail can be found, along with a large dirt pullout. Additional directional signage is currently in the process of being installed by local volunteer groups. After scaling the side of the Mesa, visitors can see a wide panorama of the towns of Mesquite, Nevada, and Scenic, Arizona. Behind these townships, visitors can see Virgin Peak and much of the Virgin River. Scenic vistas along the Western rim provide views of Toquop Wash, Mormon Mesa, and Mormon Mountain beyond.

In the past, Flat Top Mesa could also be accessed via Toquop Wash Road, on the Southern side of the Mesa. Unfortunately, heavy erosion over the past two years has made the climb out of Toquop Wash onto the mesa extremely difficult. Proposals are currently being reviewed for the restoration of this access route.

Several areas to the North, South, and East of the Mesa abut private property, Nevada Department of Motor Vehicle right-of-ways, and utility company property. Please respect these
land managers by staying on designated trails and roads. The entire mesa, and the wilderness north of the Mesa, are accessible for free public camping and other BLM permitted activities. All routes on the Mesa are within 13 miles of Mesquite, which features shopping, fuel, hospital, vehicle maintenance, and other services.

Geology of Flat Top Mesa

Mesquite, Nevada, lies on the transition zone of two of the most interesting geologic provinces in the United States. The Basin and Range lies to the west characterized by its
never-ending North trending parallel mountain ranges, while the Colorado Plateau lies to the East with its famous red sandstone. Looking at the road cut along the I-15 traveling along the Virgin River Gorge gives us as extensive look back through time to layers of ancient shallow sea floor. As you travel North, you are moving forward through time and towards a terrestrial depositional environment.

Flat Top Mesa lies just outside of the Virgin Gorge to the East and is part of the Muddy Creek Formation. Its creation was most likely initiated by an ancestral river 3-5 million years ago, much like Mormon Mesa to its Southeast. The Muddy Creek Formation (23.03 to 5.333 Ma) is composed of a suite of sedimentary rocks, clays, and silts whose unique sequencing has been documented in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Fossils from the late Miocene (11.63-5.333 Ma) have been found in the Muddy Creek Formation and help paint a broader picture of the environment, flora, and fauna from times past.


The Mesa can be accessed from the West side of Mesquite, at the northern terminus of Ben Franklin Way.

Rules of the Road

Land Manager: Bureau of Land Management

BLM Field Office - Las Vegas
4701 North Torrey Pines Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89130

Telephone: (702) 515-5000

Motor vehicles are permitted on designated trails only. For local regulations regarding OHV use on county roads, visit the BLM OHV Website https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/OHV.

Always plan ahead and prepare for uncertainty. Travel with warm clothing, first aid, food, water and appropriate tools to fix a problem.

Traveling in groups is always a good idea, as well as informing someone of where you will be going.

  • Register Your Vehicle
  • Make sure your vehicle is equipped with a spark arrestor
  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Trail Users

Leave No Trace

Tread Lightly

Historic Preservation

Land Manager

Plan Your Visit