The popular Mexican Ditch trail a backbone of Carson recreation

Photo: Kyler Klix/Nevada Appeal
The Mexican Dam on the Carson River is a nice destination at the end of the Mexican Ditch Trail in Carson City.

Photo: Kyler Klix/Nevada Appeal The Mexican Dam on the Carson River is a nice destination at the end of the Mexican Ditch Trail in Carson City.

The Mexican Ditch Trail is one of the longest, easiest trails in Carson City. The path stretches about 4 miles from the Moffat Space Open Property to the Mexican Dam on the Carson River. The northern half is in a residential area, and the southern half is rural and more natural.
The Mexican Ditch is an irrigation waterway created for Silver Saddle Ranch. This historic area now serves as one of Carson’s favorite recreation spots. It’s accessible year-round, although it may be a bit muddy after rain or snow.
The popular attraction on this trail is the end: the Mexican Dam. This spot along the Carson River is peaceful and away from civilization. The running water drowns out most other noises and there’s plenty of space to find a place to hang out for a break.
This trail has almost no elevation gain, and there are many parking areas giving access to different spots. You can make this a very long hike, or pick a section and go for a short walk. It all depends on how much time and energy you have. Plus with the completion of several nearby trails, the Mexican Ditch Trail is a backbone connecting many trails. The trail is described as decomposed granite and multi-use for pedestrians, bicycles and equestrian use.
The residential part of the trail follows along the backyards of houses. One side borders a fence, and the other is bushy with trees and shrubs along the ditch waterway. The middle section of the trail puts you on the outskirts of the city life as you start to see farm animals. There’s sheep, horses and goats that might come greet you and beyond, there’s cattle grazing in fields.

This trail has several places to park to get started. The trail begins at the Moffat Space Open Property. There are two parking areas here. There is one on Lepire Drive that fits approximately five to six vehicles. There is also a parking lot on Hells Bells Road that fits about 12 vehicles.
The Hidden Meadows Trailhead, located at 965 Buzzy’s Ranch Road, gives access to the Mexican Ditch Trail and also the Riverview Park Connector trail. There are three picnic tables here.
Silver Saddle Ranch (2648 Carson River Road) has a parking space where the trail crosses Carson River Road. The trail stretches across the ranch’s pastures, where it heads back to the river. There’s parking farther in the driveway at the ranch as well.
About a half-mile down the road from there is the Carson River Park (5013 Carson River Road). There, the River Trail (0.7 miles) connects the parking lot to the Mexican Ditch Trail. From this parking lot, it is 2.3 miles to the dam and 4.6-miles round-trip.

The Mexican Ditch Trail is the backbone for the southeastern part of Carson City.
The completion of Buzzy’s Ranch Trail created a large loop. The Mexican Ditch Trail connects to the Riverview Park Connector trail, which leads right to Buzzy’s Ranch Trail. That connects to the Carson River Trail and that brings you back onto the ditch trail. There’s also a shortcut here straight to Silver Saddle Ranch.
The completion of Prison Hill Trail East also connects to the ditch trail. So you can plan a longer route in that direction if you want.

The area is a glimpse into historic rural Nevada. Local residents are fortunate to have trails like these to explore so close to town. The history of Silver Saddle Ranch and the Mexican Ditch can be found on interpretive signs in the area.
Kyler Klix is a designer for Nevada News Group. He also writes about the outdoors and entertainment. Email him at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment