Gold Butte Rd at Mud Wash turnoff (view south)
The Mud Wash Road is located out in the Gold Butte Region, 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 (view west from Gold Butte Road)
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. A BLM Ranger patrols the
area, but it is a big place. Someone will find you eventually if you stay
on a main road, but be
prepared to survive alone for a day, or even two or more days if you get off the main 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
Getting to Mud Wash Road
Mud Wash Road is located out in the Gold Butte Region 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 (Table 1, Site 60). Continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 7.25 miles to the Mud Wash, Devil's Throat turnoff (Site 070).
See also the Gold Butte Area overview map.
From the unpaved Gold Butte Road (Site 070, 0.0 miles), 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 300). The road straight ahead runs another 0.1 miles to Devil's Throat, and the road to the right runs down towards Mud Wash and Red Bluff Spring.
Shortly the Mud Wash Road passes another road that runs 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.
Just before the gap (2.9 miles out), the dirt road enters Mud Wash, proper (Site 340). 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 drove my jeep all the way in 2WD, but got stuck in the sand on a side road (shifted in 4WD and got out, but still, stuff sneaks up on you)
Mud Wash Road runs down the wash, and at 3.7 miles out, turns up against a high, red sandstone cliff on the northwest side of the road. This is an interesting spot to stop and look around for a few minutes.
There is rock art high on the wall and an oddly placed USGS survey marker on the side of the wall low in 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, but most of the artwork remains undamaged. Some people are so stupid that I can't even imagine what they were thinking.
Rock art site
Continuing, Mud Wash Road passes a turnoff to the south at 4.6 miles out (Site 355), and then passes an old corral in the wash at 4.7 miles out (Site 360). The corral is an interesting historical site to stop and visit. Imaging how much work it was to build such a structure, let alone run cattle in this dry country.
Continuing, Mud Wash Road runs down the wash, and at 6.9 miles out (Site 370), passes the side road to the northeast that heads for Little Finland, an interesting place with oddly eroded and sculpted sandstone formations. The side road is 1.2 miles long and ends at a cable barricade across the wash (stay to the right at a fork). From there, it is a 0.5-mile walk up the wash and hillside to Little Finland, which is the top of the sandstone outcrop above a line of California Fan Palms. When you get close, you can't miss the palm trees, and the sculpted sandstone is just above them.
Rock art (notice the thoughtless bullet holes)
Continuing, Mud Wash Road runs to the west, and at 8.0 miles out (Site 380), intersects Red Bluff Spring Road, which comes up from Gold Butte Townsite to the south. From the intersection, it isn't clear to me what is a legal road and what isn't, but it is another 0.3 miles down to where water runs in the roadway (Site 390), or perhaps it is a foot trail at that point. This is Red Bluff Spring.
At 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.
End of road description.
Table 1. Highway Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.
||Point to Point Distance (mi)
||Cumulative Distance (mi)
||Gold Butte Road at Arizona Rd (Whitney Pocket)
||Gold Butte Rd at Mud Wash North Rd
||Gold Butte Road at Mud Wash Rd
||Mud Wash at Devils Throat Rd
||Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash
||Mud Wash Rd at Petroglyph Site
||Mud Wash Rd at side road
||Mud Wash Rd at Corrals
||Mud Wash Rd at Little Finland Rd
||Mud Wash Rd at Backcountry Byway
||Mud Wash Rd at Red Bluff Spring