Double Negative

Las Vegas + Southern Nevada, Nevada

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Double Negative


  • The dirt road at the western edge of Mormon Mesa.- Double Negative
  • Atop Mormon Mesa.- Double Negative
  • Looking into Double Negative from the end of its southern trench.- Double Negative
  • Inside Double Negative.- Double Negative
  • Looking across the gap from within Double Negative.- Double Negative
  • Looking across the empty space, or the negative space, between the two trenches.- Double Negative
  • The weathered edges of Double Negative.- Double Negative
  • Overlooking the Virgin River from Double Negative.- Double Negative
  • Double Negative from the northern trench.- Double Negative
  • Double Negative.- Double Negative
Overview + Weather
Unique. Desolate desert.
Can be hard to find.
Las Vegas + Southern Nevada, NV
Pets allowed: 
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Double Negative is an example of land art, sometimes referred to as "earthworks," by Michael Heizer situated in the southern Nevada desert about two hours northeast of Las Vegas.

Construction on the piece began in 1969 and was completed the following year. Double Negative consists of two trenches dug in line on opposite sides of a canyon, creating negative space spanned by manmade negative space. Situated on the eastern edge of Mormon Mesa, a mesa that runs between the Nevada's Moapa Valley and the Virgin River Valley, Double Negative stretches about a quarter-mile with a depth of 50 feet and a width of 30 feet. The artwork displaced 240,000 tons of rock in its construction.

Originally funded by a prominent art collector named Virginia Dwan, Double Negative was eventually gifted by Dwan to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1984 with Heizer's condition that the museum will not conserve the piece and will let the piece be reclaimed to a natural state through weathering and erosion.

Visiting Double Negative requires about a two-hour drive from Las Vegas, the last few miles of which are on an unpaved road in the shadeless southern Nevada desert. A four-wheel drive track makes up the final 1.3 miles, although it is possible for a two-wheel drive car to make it if conditions are okay and you drive cautiously over the rocks.

There is extremely spotty phone service out here, so it is recommended that visitors head out prepared with directions, water, and sun protection. As there are quite a few tracks running from Mormon Mesa Road in various directions near the piece, reaching the piece is somewhat confusing. It is possible to simply park on Mormon Mesa Road and trace the eastern edge of the mesa on foot until you reach the piece. With the mesa's contours, it is about 2.7 miles from the road to the earthworks.

Though owned by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the piece exists in an isolated and rural area with absolutely no signs, explanations, or markings. It receives moderate visitation, though a part of its appeal is its placement within the vast southern Nevada desert. There are no improvements or amenities at the piece. The nearest water and groceries are in the town of Overton.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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