|Typically Open:||Year Round|
|Highest Elevation:||4092 feet|
|Duration:||About 6 hours|
|Shape of Trail:||Out & Back|
|Best Direction to Travel:||N/A|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Mesquite|
|Official Road Name:||Gold Butte Byway|
|Management Agency:||Bureau of Land Management|
|District:||Southern Nevada District|
The Gold Butte Backcountry Byway offers a glimpse into Southern Nevada’s most beautiful landscapes and the history of the Anasazi and Paiute Indians, as well as early American Miners. The Gold Butte Backcountry Byway is built from historic mining roads and cattle trails that wind its way through the hills and washes of the Gold Butte country. You'll enjoy some great views and plenty of opportunities to see desert wildlife, ancient petroglyphs, sinkholes and red and white sandstone formations with Lake Mead and the Muddy Mountains off to the west.
Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.Read more about our rating system
Follow the road to the southwest.
Follow the main road. Turning right (southwest) here would lead you to Lake Mead.
Continue Straight. The limited use area leads to Black Butte.
Continue straight following Gold Butte Sign.
This would be the second parking area you come to. This parking area has a kiosk with camping regulations and an overview map. The road turns to dirt from here, air down if you have the capability as the road can get very washboard and bumpy.
Stay straight to follow this guide, or turn right (west) to run the loop portion of the guide in reverse starting with waypoint 29.
Continue straight. Devils Throat is a sink hole so large it is visible from satellite imagry.
Veer right southwest. Veering left will take you out into Arizona and the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument.
Stay straight to Gold Butte. Going left (southwest) will take you down to Lake Mead. Following this road to Devils Cove takes you down into a more lush vegetation zone, into a sandy wash and finally down to Lake Mead. We explored it a few miles in and would rate its difficulty a 4 to that point.
Continue straight. The corral is just on the side of the road.
Turn left to the old townsite where there is plenty of parking, shade and interesting remnants of the old town to explore. Turn right (west, northwest) to continue onto Mud Wash Road to follow the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway. Following the two-track roads behind the townsite take you back to old mine sites and other roads we have not yet explored. Mica was first discovered here in 1873, and then gold in 1905. By the next year, a post office was built. A gold rush in 1908 brought in more people, and the townsite now had a hotel, livery stable, post office, mercantile, and several residences. Another camp named Copper City was started two miles west at the site of the short-lived Lincoln copper mine. Copper, gold, zinc and lead were mined at Gold Butte to their depletion in 1910.
The graves are of the founding fathers of the town. If you take either roads behind the old town site that intersect by the gravestones the hills are made of Monzogranite, sometimes called "Mormon Concrete" and hide several mine shafts.
Turning around from the townsite travel generally northwest onto Red Bluff Wash Road. Turning to the southwest takes you to Catclaw Wash Road and Scanlon Bay on Lake Mead.
Continue straight and stay to the left. The road forks off to the right up to the Lincoln Mine on top of Tramp Ridge.
Continue Straight. Lime Canyon is off to the left.
Continue straight. The road will take you to the edge of this rock formation and it is a fascinating place to explore.
Follow the main road up and out of the wash.
Head downhill to the right (northeasterly). The road will reach the bottom of the wash where you will turn to the right (east). This is the final stage of the loop that takes you back to Gold Butte Road.
Travel east following the wash. There are sporadic markers along the way.
Stay generally straight and to the right.
Continue straight following the main road. You can scout for the petroglyphs along the road at these coordinates. 36.43888 -114.1998
At the Y stay right. Unknown road splits left (northeast).
Stay left (northeast).
Turn left (north) onto Gold Butte Road.
Starting Point: Las Vegas
The entire route is on BLM land and primitive campsites are all along the byway. The best places are at Whitney Pockets and around Gold Butte. Use proper camping etiquette by packing out all your trash, using established sites, and camping at least 600 feet from a water source.