Nelson Goldmine Trail

Nelson, Nevada (Clark County)

Last Updated: 03/14/2019
4.5 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 5-5
Length: 10.69 miles
Highest Elevation: 3719 feet
Duration: About 1 hour, 58 minutes
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: South
Nearest Town: Nelson
Nearest Town w/ Services: Boulder City
Official Road Name: Goldmine Trail
Management Agency: US National Park Service
District: Lake Mead National Recreation Area


Highlight: Nelson Goldmine Trail
Nelson Goldmine Trail is an off-road trail that features great scenic views, multiple rock obstacles, abandoned mining equipment and some murderous history. The area known as Nelson, Nevada was originally called Eldorado in 1775 by the Spaniards who made the original discoveries of gold in the area that is now Eldorado Canyon. The town was the site of one of the first major gold strikes in Nevada and one of the biggest mining booms in state history. Gold and silver were discovered here around 1859. The rush to the canyon began in 1861, several mining camps were established in the canyon and a steamboat landing at the mouth of the canyon on the Colorado River which was named Colorado City. Among the early mines established was the notorious Techatticup Mine in the middle of the canyon. Management and labor disputes and disagreements over ownership resulted in wanton killings so frequent as to be routine and ordinary. Despite the sinister reputation of the mine, it along with others in the town produced several million dollars in gold, silver, copper and lead. The mines in the canyon were active from about 1858 until 1945. The community called Nelson was named after Charles Nelson, a camp leader who was slain in his home along with four other people in 1897 by a renegade Indian.


Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
Trail gets its rating from waypoints 6, 7, and 8.

Technical Rating

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 24" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 24" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 54" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
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Community Consensus

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The Nelson Goldmine Trail heads south out of Nelson heading west through the mountains. During the trail, you will encounter multiple rocky obstacles, drive past a mine to a mountaintop overlook of Lake Mojave, then over the mountain to end at US-95 approximately 12 miles south of the Nelson / US-95 turnoff. The trail is a combination of trails through the Eldorado Mountains to include Aztec Wash trail, Delphi drive and Nelson Cutoff trail.


1. Trailhead (0 mi)
A large open area on the right off of NV 165 in Nelson, NV. Great place to air down, disconnect sway bars and grab a drink before starting the trail. The beginning of the trail will be on Aztec Wash Road.
2. Y Intersection (1.2 mi)
Turn left/east to continue on Nelson Goldmine trail/Aztec Wash Road.
3. Y intersection (1.7 mi)
Turn right/south to continue on Nelson Goldmine trail. Following the trail to the left/east will follow Aztec Wash Road down to the Colorado River.
4. Abandoned Structure (2.3 mi)
On the passenger side of the trail, you will be able to observe an abandoned structure/home.
5. Intersection/Obstacle Bypass (3 mi)
Follow the right trail to bypass the rocky obstacle. Staying to the right will take the easiest path over the obstacle.
6. Rock Obstacle with 3' Step (3.1 mi)
Here you will encounter the first of the two bigger rock obstacles. Taking the far left line is the easiest. The right line is moderate and the middle line is the hardest. Waypoints 6 and 7 are the reason for the higher difficulty rating of the trail.
7. Waterfall Obstacle (3.6 mi)
Here you will encounter the second of the bigger rock obstacles. Taking the right line is easier as the rocks form a slight ramp. The left line is the more difficult choice as there is a step that can cause high centering.
8. Rock Obstacle (3.7 mi)
This is a smaller rock obstacle compared to waypoints 6 and 7. The right line is the easier of the two choices. Be observant, there is a small cavity that a smaller tire may fall into. The left line has a small step to climb.
9. T Intersection (3.9 mi)
Continue straight/west to continue on Nelson Goldmine trail. The turn to the left/south is the turn for the goldmine. Unfortunately, the trail is closed and blocked with a gate. See pictures on waypoint 13.
10. X Intersection (4.7 mi)
Continue straight/west to follow Nelson Goldmine trail. The trail becomes Delphi Drive. Turning on either of the other turns will follow the trail into the mountains or desert.
11. T Intersection (7.2 mi)
Turn left/south to continue on Nelson Goldmine trail. The trail becomes Nelson Cutoff Road in either direction.
12. Endpoint (10.8 mi)
This is the end of the trail. A nice wide flat dirt road where you can air up before heading home.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Las Vegas

From Las Vegas, Nevada, travel on I-515 / US-93 / US-95 to the US-95 S exit toward Searchlight, Nevada. Turn right/south. Turn right/east, approximately 10 miles, onto Nv-165 towards Nelson. Continue southeast on NV-165 for approximately 11.6 miles to the town of Nelson. On the right/south there will be a large open flat dirt area.


There are no camping or lodging sites along this trail. Camping areas can be found on some of the washes/trails that are close by, such as Aztec Wash.
Camping: Nelson Goldmine Trail

Trail Reviews (3)

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

James and Mimi Nicholson

Mapping Crew - Nevada

We are James and Mimi Nicholson, married for 19 years, living in Nevada. We are not new to Off-roading; having owned Jeeps for 18 years. We started with a 1979 CJ-5. Other 4 wheel vehicles owned include CJ-7, Cherokees, Grand Cherokee and a Liberty. We like to overland, camp, whitewater raft and kayak. We have been off-roading in Oregon, Washington, Georgia, South Carolina, California, Arizona, Utah, Louisiana, Texas and Nevada Our focus while off-roading is safety, treading lightly and simply enjoying the outdoors with friends and family. Our current rig: 2015 Jeep Wrangler JKU Tank Rubicon. AEV 3.5" lift with 315/75/16 GY Duratracs with level 8 Tracker wheels. C gussets, control arm skids, ACE rock sliders, Engo 10,000 winch, OR-Fab tire/can carrier. M.O.R.E. skid plate, Gobi stealth roof rack. S-pod. ARB OBA. Adams front and rear drive shafts.
For individual use only, not to be shared.