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Mud Wash Road - Westbound
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road
Gold Butte Road approaching Mud Wash Road (view SE)

Alert (10 September 2017): The road flash flooded this summer, but it is passable from Mud Wash North Road to Little Finland Road in a 2WD-HC vehicle.

Overview

The Mud Wash Road is located out in Gold Butte, northeast of Las Vegas. The road runs from Gold Butte Road at the Devil's Throat turnoff west to Red Bluff Spring, traversing spectacular country, passing a rock art site, and passing an historic corral. This is historic land with a lot of grand scenery. This road makes up part of the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway.

The road is mostly hard dirt and gravel, and generally is passable in a 2WD high-clearance vehicle (assuming dry conditions), but it would be safer to have a 4WD because in a gravel wash, you just never know when a bit of sand is going to suck you down.

Link to Road Map.

Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view SW from Gold Butte Road)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a wild and remote area without services of any kind (no restrooms, no water, no gas, no food). Bring what you need to survive. Be prepared and be self-reliant. Someone will find you eventually if you stay on a main road, but be prepared to survive alone for a day or two. Cell phones only work along parts of the paved road.

While out, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this is a remote area, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Mud Wash Road
Starting west on Mud Wash Road (view SW)

Getting to Mud Wash Road

Mud Wash Road is located out in Gold Butte northeast of Lake Mead, about 2.5 hours northeast of Las Vegas.

From Las Vegas, drive out to Whitney Pocket at the end of the paved Gold Butte Road. Continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 7.25 miles to the signed Mud Wash, Devil's Throat turnoff.

See also the Gold Butte Area overview map.

Mud Wash Road

The Road

From the unpaved Gold Butte Road (Table 1, Site 0807), turn right onto Mud Wash Road and drive west towards Devil's Throat and Red Bluff Spring. The road gradually descends into a broad wash where the road is more bumpy than it looks.

After about 0.31 miles, the road forks (Site 1671). The road straight ahead, Devil's Throat Road, runs another 0.1 miles to Devil's Throat, which is worth a visit. From the fork, the road right runs down towards Mud Wash and Red Bluff Spring.

Shortly the Mud Wash Road passes another side road that runs left and up to Devil's Throat (forming a big triangle). Continuing, the hard-packed dirt road runs northwest towards a gap in the mountains far ahead.

At about 2.5 miles out, the road passes an intersection with Tramp Ridge Road (Site 1674), on the left at a bend to the right.

Mud Wash Road
Road crosses first wash (view SW)

At about 2.9 miles out (just before the gap in the mountains), the dirt road enters Mud Wash, proper (Site 1675). From this point on, the road runs down the wash. Most of the road in the wash is fine for 2WD, high-clearance vehicles, but watch for soft spots. I usually drive my jeep in 2WD, but got stuck in the sand at one spot (shifted in 4WD and drove out, but still, this stuff can sneak up on you).

Continuing, at about 3.6 miles out, a side road branches right and climbs the steep north bank out of Mud Wash. This is Mud Wash Dunes Road, which runs 0.5 miles towards red sand dunes.

At about 3.7 miles out, Mud Wash Road passes tight against tall sandstone crags on the right. The Mud Wash Rock Art Panel sites high on the wall above, and an oddly placed USGS survey marker is attached low on the wall along on the wash. As with all other things of this nature, please be careful and don't disturb the site. Unfortunately, some morons shot up the rock art and the marker, but most of the artwork remains undamaged. Some people are so stupid that I can't even imagine what they were thinking.

Mud Wash Road

Continuing, Mud Wash Road passes a side road to the south at 4.3 miles out (Site 1678; Mud Wash Shortcut Road), and then passes an old corral in the wash at 4.7 miles out (Site 1679). The Mud Wash Corral is an interesting historical site to visit. Imaging how much work it was to build such a structure, let alone run cattle in this dry country. Note that the land hasn't always been this dry.

Mud Wash Road runs down the canyon, and at 6.9 miles out (Site 1680), Little Finland Road branches to the right (northeast). This side road leads to Little Finland, an interesting place with oddly eroded and sculpted sandstone formations.

Continuing, Mud Wash Road runs west, and at 8.1 miles out (Site 1685), meets Red Bluff Spring Road, which comes up from Gold Butte Townsite to the south. One road ends and the other starts, so it isn't really an intersection, just a change of names where the road leaves the wash.

Mud Wash Road
Road crosses second wash (view SW)

Just below the end of Mud Wash Road, fencing across the wash is intended to keep cattle and burros out of the riparian area, but vandals have cut the fence to allow cattle and ATVs access to Red Bluff Spring.

Walking down to Red Bluff Spring, water flows in the gravel and across the rocks, marsh vegetation and salt grass grows, and it is a nice place to sit and listen to the birds. You might even see some thirsty mammals show up for water, unfortunately, including cattle that damage the habitat and make it less likely that birds will come here.

From the end of Mud Wash Road, either turn back up the wash, turn south on Red Bluff Spring Road towards Gold Butte Townsite, or consider making a loop by heading south and then turning back on Mud Wash Shortcut Road.

Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road approaching Devil's Throat Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road at Devil's Throat Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road
The road runs towards a gap in the ridge (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Traditional campsite (view S)
Mud Wash Road
Traversing burned country (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Always watch for desert tortoise on the road (view NW)
Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road, approaching the gap (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road, approaching Mud Wash, proper (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road, entering Mud Wash, proper (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road, in Mud Wash, proper (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road, approaching Mud Wash North Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash (view SW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash (view SW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road approaching Mud Wash Dunes Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Dunes Road (view N from Mud Wash Road)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road approaching Mud Wash Rock Art Site (view SW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Rock Art Site (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Rock art site
Mud Wash Road
Rock art (notice the thoughtless bullet holes)
Mud Wash Road
Oddly placed USGS survey marker at Mud Wash rock art site (view S)
Mud Wash Road
USGS survey marker (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Wall with historic grease marks (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Grease marks left by teamsters during mining era (view W)
Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road approaching Mud Wash Shortcut Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Shortcut Road (view SW from Mud Wash Road)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road approaching Mud Wash Corral (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Corral access road (view NE)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road at Mud Wash Corral (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road at Mud Wash Corral (view NE)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view SW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view NW)
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Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
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Mud Wash Road
Interesting layers in the rock wall (view NW)
Mud Wash Road
Interesting layers in the rock wall (view NW)
Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road approaching Little Finland Road (view N)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road at Little Finland Road (view N)
Mud Wash Road
Little Finland Road (view E from Mud Wash Road)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view N)
Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road (view W)
Mud Wash Road West
Trespass Bundy cattle in Mud Wash (view SW)
Mud Wash Road
Beyond these cliffs, it is easier to stay left (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road staying on left side of the canyon (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road staying on left side of the canyon (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road staying on left side of the canyon (view W)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road staying on left side of the canyon (view SW)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road approaching Red Bluff Spring Road (view S)
Mud Wash Road West
Mud Wash Road approaching Red Bluff Spring Road (view S)
Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road ends at Red Bluff Spring Road (view S)
Mud Wash Road West
Mud Wash Road at Red Bluff Spring Road (view S)
Mud Wash Road West
Sign at intersection (view S; Gold Butte refers to the townsite)

Alternate End of the Road (staying right in main wash)

Mud Wash Road
In the main wash, Red Bluff Spring Road is visible in the distance
Mud Wash Road
In the main wash
Mud Wash Road
In the main wash
Mud Wash Road
Road ends in the main wash at fenceline
Mud Wash Road
Fence to keep vehicles and cattle from damaging the spring
Mud Wash Road
At the fence, looking out towards the road sign (view N)
Mud Wash Road
Road climbs out of the wash onto bench (view SE)
Mud Wash Road
Alternate road at intersection of main roads (view SE)

Table 1. Highway Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
0807 Gold Butte Rd at Mud Wash Rd 36.43258 114.14300 2,244 0.00 0.00 Yes
1671 Mud Wash Rd at Devils Throat Rd 36.42923 114.14664 2,289 0.31 0.31 Yes
1673 Mud Wash Rd at Devils Throat Alt Rd 36.42959 114.14836 2,263 0.11 0.42 Yes
1674 Mud Wash Rd at Tramp Mine Rd 36.44120 114.18130 2,101 2.09 2.51 Yes
1675 Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash 36.44289 114.18648 2,054 0.36 2.87 Yes
1676 Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash North Rd 36.44311 114.18815 2,090 0.10 2.97 Yes
1677 Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash Dunes Rd 36.43976 114.19871 2,001 0.66 3.63 Yes
1656 Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash Petroglyph Site 36.43888 114.19980 1,962 0.08 3.71 Yes
1678 Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash Shortcut Rd 36.43659 114.20652 1,962 0.57 4.28 Yes
1679 Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash Corral 36.44166 114.21090 1,923 0.44 4.72 Yes
1680 Mud Wash Rd at Little Finland Rd 36.46365 114.23372 1,735 2.24 6.96 Yes
1685 Mud Wash Rd at Red Bluff Spring Rd 36.46288 114.25081 1,653 1.12 8.08 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170911

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