(EASY - MODERATE)
|Highest Elevation:||7690 feet|
|Duration:||About 2 hours 30 minutes|
|Shape of Trail:||Straight Through|
|Best Direction to Travel:||N/A|
|Nearest Town:||Las Vegas|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Las Vegas|
|Official Road Name:||45601|
|Management Agency:||Spring Mountain Recreation Area|
Wheeler Pass is located approximately 50 miles Northwest of Las Vegas in the Spring Mountain National Recreation area. Wheeler Pass Road was previously known as the road from Bennett's Ranch to Indian Creek. Bennett's Ranch was settled in 1875 in the Pahrump Valley. Indian Creek was a ranch owned by a small group of Indians. Now known as Indian Springs. It's history includes being a station on the Tonopah and Las Vegas railroad. Currently, it is part of the Creech Air Force base. As you travel towards the trail head, you may encounter wild horses on the roads and the surrounding areas. On the trail, travelers will pass the Charcoal kilns. The Tecopa Charcoal Ovens in Wheeler Wash were built in 1875 by Nehemiah (“Red”) Clarke. Per information on a sign posted at the site in the past: These beehive-shaped structures are the remains of three charcoal making kilns and one Lime Kiln built for Jonas Osborne in 1877. He designed and built a big furnace to smelt over 20 tons of silver and lead ore each day in the boom town of Tecopa, California in January of 1878. Forty-four men attempted to keep the furnace working by cutting and hauling the ore, and feeding and constantly repairing the furnace. It completely failed and was abandoned in the fall of 1878. As this area of the Spring Mountains had the best and closest source of wood, the kilns were setup here and the charcoal produced was carried by horse-drawn wagons about 50 miles to the Tecopa Smelter. Evidence shows only tree limbs were cut in fuel and no extensive tree cutting was done. A single kiln has an estimated capacity of 35 cords of wood which would produce 50 bushels of charcoal, enough charcoal to produce one tone of silver-lead ore. Wood for the kilns was provided by Harsha White, who operated a saw mill in Clark Canyon, and was in partnership with Nehemiah Clarke. Unfortunately, the kilns have not been able to withstand time, weather and vandalism. The remnants can still be seen. Don't forget to bring sunscreen, water, snacks and your camera.
Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves. Rocks up to 12" and water crossings up to 12" with possible currents. Passable mud. Moderate grades to 15 degrees. 6" holes. Side hill to 20 degrees. 4WD required. No width problems.Read more about our rating system
Approximately 13 miles after turning off of US 95, the main road will bend to the left. The bend in the road to the left follows Cold Creek Road. Turn on the smaller road to the right/west. After the turn, there is an air down area/parking lot.
This parking lot is a great area to air down and do any further preparations before hitting the trail.
Turn right/west to continue on the trail.
Turn left/west trail to continue following the trail.
On the right of the trail, there is a camping area. There are a rock fire ring already built. There are no amenities or facilities. Please follow the fire hazard warnings. There are signs that have the dates that fires are allowed.
Here, the trail passes Willow Creek and Willow Creek campground. The pictures show some of the mountains seen from the trail.
Follow the trail to the right/north to follow the main trail. Drivers can choose to go left/west for a small hill climb.
On the right is another area for camping. Again, no facilities or amenities. There is a rock fire ring present. This is a larger area than the previous site. There are some nice views of the scenic landscape.
At this point, the trails merge from the previous Y intersection. Here you can see the slope of the hill, described briefly in waypoint 7.
Follow the trail to the left/south to stay on Wheeler Pass road. The trail to the right is Needle road and will merge with Wheeler pass in a short distance.
Follow the trail to the right/southwest to continue on Wheeler Pass road. The left/south trail is Wilderness road that ends at the base of the mountain.
Here, Wheeler Pass Road and Needle road merge together. Stay to the right on the main trail to continue on Wheeler Pass road. Those wanting a challenge may choose to follow the trail to the left.
Here are some pictures of the rock garden trail. It is highly suggested, that the driver walk the trail to determine if it is passable based on current conditions, vehicle, gear and weather. This is only for modified vehicles.
At this point, the rock garden trail and Wheeler road intersect. If you chose to follow the rock garden trail, it does continue on the other side of the main trail and eventually merges with Wheeler Pass trail.
Stay to the right/southwest trail to continue on Wheeler Pass road. If looking for more of a challenge/fun, take the trail to the left/southeast. It is a rockier path than Wheeler Pass road.
Here are some pictures rock garden trail. Driver should walk the trail to determine if it is passable. This rock garden trail is much less challenging than the previous one. This trail has been driven by stock Jeep Wranglers in the past.
At this point of the trail, you will come to Wheeler Pass. There is a large open semi flat area to park and enjoy the views. This is a good place to stop and have a snack or meal. It can be windy. The second picture is taken of the trail that you have come from and the third picture is the trail ahead.
Follow the trail to the right/southwest to follow Wheeler Pass road. This is the tougher of the 2 trails. Going left/southeast will follow W Willow Peak road that becomes Trough Spring road and eventually merges with Wheeler Pass road.
Turn left/south to follow Wheeler Pass road. This will take you through Wheeler Well campgrounds.
This is Wheeler Well campgrounds. Plenty of room for at least 10-15 vehicles and tents. No facilities or amenities.
Follow the trail to the right/southwest. Both trails run parallel and intersect each other for the next few miles.
To the right/west of the trail are the Charcoal kilns. See highlights above for information on the kilns. There is a fence around the kilns to protect the remnants. This is what they look like currently. To see what they look like in the past, click on the link: Charcoal Kilns
Here is some examples of the different landscapes seen from the trail.
These three pictures are a panoramic view of Pahrump in the distance.
This is the end point of the trail. At this point, driver can choose to turn around and follow the trail back to the starting point or continue into Pahrump. There is a winery with a nice restaurant, tours and a shop. From Pahrump, follow Nevada 160 east to Las Vegas.