|Cold Creek road near Hwy 95
Cold Creek Road, located on the northeast side of the Spring Mountains National Conservation Area, runs from Highway 95 to Cold Creek Town. The road begins as a regular state road serving the town of Cold Creek, but then it extends as a seldom maintained backcountry road that runs out to the Bonanza Group Camp and Bonanza Trailhead at the base of Bonanza Peak and Willow Peak. The end of the road usually is maintained sufficiently for a carefully driven sedan to reach the trailhead, but it is not plowed during winter.
As of May 31, 2016, the road is suitable for a sedan.
Link to overview map or road map.
Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ...this is a fairly easy drive, but sometimes the washboards get pretty bad and sometimes it is washed out. Always watch for crazy drivers careening around blind corners.
The road is maintained, but the exact condition depends on the time since grading and the history of rain and flooding, but it should be suitable for a carefully driven sedan.
While out, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this road is short, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.
Getting to the Roadhead
This road is located on the northeast side of the Spring Mountains National Conservation Area, about 40 minutes northwest of Las Vegas.
From town, drive north on Highway 95 to Cold Creek Road (Table 1, Site 0341). This is about 35 miles north of town and 5.5 miles past the turnoff to the Lee Canyon Ski Area. Watch for signs to the State Prisons, on the left. Turn left onto Cold Creek Road and drive west past the prisons.
From Highway 95 the paved Cold Creek Road runs southwest up across the desert. About 3/4-miles out, the road passes a State Prison on the left and then at 2-miles out, it passes another on the right. Beyond the prisons, the road runs out into wild desert country.
At about 13.1 miles out, Cold Creek Road passes a dirt turnoff to the Cold Creek Picnic Area, which has 3 ponds and is a good place to find birds and wild horses.
Wheeler Pass Road runs over this saddle
Continuing on the pavement, at 13.6 miles out, Cold Creek Road enters Cold Creek Town. The road winds around, and there are several side roads, but the main road always is obvious and side roads have street signs.
At the far edge of town, 14.0 miles out, the pavement ends, but the road continues. A large sign indicates that Bonanza Trailhead is farther up the dirt road. Running south, the dirt road is occasionally graded, so the road edge always is defined, and the various side roads that turn off obviously are minor roads.
Cold Creek Road at FR 601 (Wheeler Pass Road)
The dirt Cold Creek Road runs south and up into the mountains. Early on, the road runs through an old burn area. The trees in this area are gone, but the shrubs provide feed for wild horses and elk, so keep an eye out for them.
Farther up, the road enters the forest where Pinyon Pine, Utah Juniper, and Mountain Mahogany dominate. Towards the end of the road, Ponderosa Pine and White Fir dominate.
After 2.25 miles in the dirt, the road ends in a large, parking area. The Bonanza Group Camp Trailhead is on the right immediately as the road enters the parking area (northwest corner), and the Bonanza Trail Trailhead is in the far, right corner of the parking area (southwest corner).
Table 1. Roadway Coordinates (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Roadway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.
||Bonanza Peak Trailhead Parking
||Hwy 95 at Cold Creek Rd
||Cold Creek Ponds
||Cold Creek Town
||Cold Creek Road at Wheeler Pass Road
||Cold Creek Road, End of Pavement