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Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
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Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Typical Weiser Wash Road (view N)

Overview

Weiser Bowl, also known as "The Bowl," is an odd, bowl-shaped geological feature in the northern Muddy Mountains, northeast of Las Vegas near Moapa and Glendale. The Bowl is a curiously eroded over-thrust fault where the walls of the bowl are layers of limestone that literally folded over and turned up-side-down during thrust faulting in this region.

High limestone walls surround the bowl everywhere except for the outlet wash, which provides access for hikers into the bowl. Two spots on the west rim of the bowl provide vehicle access with short walks to overlooks. Roads into the bowl require a high-clearance vehicle, although 4WD would be safer. The road onto the ridge would be better in a high-clearance vehicle, but it might be passable in a carefully driven sedan.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Trailhead (view W)

Link to Overview Map or Route Map.

In most thrust faults, when the land surface is compressed, the land on one side of a fault is forced up and over the land on the other side of the fault. This is how Red Rock Canyon NCA was formed, and it explains why old limestone rock sits atop younger sandstone rock.

In the case of Weiser Bowl, however, the land got caught and did not slide easily. As a result of continuing thrusting, the land buckled behind the caught edge and literally folded over. Erosion has now exposed these upside-down rocks in the wall of the oddly formed bowl.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Narrows open into The Bowl (view W)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is a safe area with few unusual hazards. Both viewpoints are atop high cliffs with lots of loose scree, so be careful around edges with falling hazards

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though these hikes are short, this is a remote area, so bring the 10 Essentials.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
ATV trail through mud hills (view NW)

Getting to the Trailheads

Weiser Bowl is located northeast of Las Vegas near Moapa and Glendale. There are two access points: one into the bottom of the bowl, and the other onto the ridge overlooking the bowl from the west.

From Las Vegas, drive north on Interstate-15 for 38 miles to the Ute Exit (Site 1147) for the hike into the bowl, or 46 miles to the Hidden Valley Exit (Site 1156) for the drive and short walks to the overlooks.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Inside the Bowl (view S)

Trailhead --The Bowl from Below

For the hike into the bowl, exit I-15 at Ute Exit (Site 1147) and drive east on Ute Road. Note that sometimes this road is closed near the exit. Stay on the pavement and continue past "No Trespassing" signs. My understanding is that the Federal Trust Lands (Indian Reservation) on both sides of the paved road are closed to the public, but the paved road is right-of-way across the reservation to public lands beyond.

At about 4.8 miles from the Interstate, the pavement ends where Ute Road passes through a narrow gap in California Ridge. Beyond the gap, the pavement resumes and eventually runs out to an old quarry site.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
West wall (view W)

At 6.1 miles from the Interstate (Site 1148), the paved road is crossed by a designated BLM dirt road. There are large parking or staging areas on both sides of the pavement at this point, evidence of considerable use.

Turning to the left and driving northeast, watch for carsonite signs marking the dirt road (Bowl Trail and Hawkins Trail). The road leads about 200 yards to a wash (Site 1149), which serves as another dirt road. Continuing straight leads to a rough road. A better route turns left and runs down the wash for about about 150 yards to another intersection (Site 1150). Turn right and follow this road northeast.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Gypsum soils in the bowl support odd plants (view S)

The road runs up the valley to a low saddle, then continues northeast. Side roads come and go, but the main road down the bottom of the valley is always obvious. At 4.2 miles from the pavement (Site 1151), the road joins with another road coming down a major side-wash.

Turn hard to the left and drive southwest up the wash (Bowl Trail) for about 1.0 miles into a narrow canyon blocked by a 2-ft pour-over (Site 1152). A steep road climbs out of the wash and around the narrows, but for hikers, this is the place to stop. Park here in the bottom of the wash; this is the trailhead for hiking into the bottom of the bowl.

Weiser Bowl

The Hike -- The Bowl from Below

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), the route follows the wash up the narrow canyon to the northwest. Shortly, the narrows open onto The Bowl with grand views of turned-over cliffs all around.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Route to Northern Overlook (view SE from trailhead)

At about 0.14 miles out, the main wash forks (Wpt. 02). ATVs and a few jeeps make it in here, and following tracks in the wash to the left leads to a loop into the southwest corner of the bowl (Wpt. 05) and back to this point in about 1.5 miles.

Staying to the right in the wash, following the road for another 0.13 miles, tracks in the sand again fork to the left (Wpt. 03). This is the other end of the southwestern loop. Again staying to the right, the road runs out another 0.42 miles to a turn-around on the west wall of the bowl (Wpt. 04). This point gives grand views back towards the entrance to the bowl.

Weiser Bowl
Guy wire anchor for the northern tower (view N)

Trailheads -- Viewing the Bowl from Above

From Interstate-15 at the Hidden Valley Exit (Site 1156), turn east (right) and drive over the cattle guard and across an old paved road into a large, dirt parking area. Staying slightly to the left, the California Ridge Road runs southeast out into the desert.

Before leaving the parking area, take a moment to look for the two, extremely tall radio towers on California Ridge to the southeast. The goal is to get to the base of the towers.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Northern Overlook (view S across the Bowl)

The graded California Ridge Road runs southeast, bends more to the south, and then bends again to the southwest. At about 1.3 miles from the pavement, the main road takes a hard turn to the left. A faint road continues straight, so the curve sneaks up on you.

The road runs southeast and begins to climb into the mountains. Parts of this road are quite steep, and it is in these steep sections where drivers in sedans might have some trouble.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Route to Southern Overlook (view SE from trailhead)

At 3.2 miles out, the main road passes a side road to the left. As can be seen from the intersection, this road leads to a gate and the base of the first radio tower. Pass this side road and continue southwest to a second side road to the left (Site 1157). Turn left and follow this road around the hill to the base of guy wires for the tower (Site 1157). Park here, this is the trailhead for the northern overlook. The anchor is inside a fence: don't mess with the guy wires.

For the southern overlook, continue south on the main dirt road as it winds around heading towards the second radio tower. About 1.5 miles past the first tower, the road reaches a gate just before the second tower. View the tower and area from the gate, then turn around and drive back north about 100 yards (Site 1159). Pick a wide spot without blocking the road. Park here; this is the trailhead for the southern overlook.

Weiser Bowl (aka The Bowl)
Southern Overlook (view NE across the Bowl)

The Hikes -- Viewing the Bowl from Above

Northern Overlook: From the end of the road (Site 1158) by the guy wire supporting the northern tower (Wpt. 06), the route runs up the wash to the southeast heading for a low point on the skyline about 0.13 miles out. The route leaves the wash and climbs onto the ridgeline, which is the Northern Overlook (Wpt. 07).

Southern Overlook: From the main road (Site 1159) about 100 yards before the southern gate (Wpt. 08), the route runs southeast for 0.13 miles to the base of guy wires supporting the radio tower. Don't mess with the guy wires, but continue another 0.03 miles to the edge of the ridge, which is the Southern Overlook (Wpt. 09)

Weiser Bowl
Inside the Bowl (view SW)
Weiser Bowl
Inside the Bowl (view SW)
Weiser Bowl
Inside the Bowl (view W)
Weiser Bowl
Inside the Bowl (view E)
Weiser Bowl
Inside the Bowl (view SW)
Weiser Bowl
Inside the Bowl (view S)
Weiser Bowl
Northern Overlook (view S)
Weiser Bowl
Northern Overlook (view SE)
Weiser Bowl
Southern Overlook (view NE)
Weiser Bowl
Southern Overlook (view S)

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

Site # Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
1147 I-15 at Ute Exit 706301 4047689 36.55238 114.69418 1,844 GPS
1148 Ute Rd at Weiser Wash Rd 715106 4046698 36.54151 114.59616 2,417 GPS
1149 Weiser Wash Road 1 715176 4046832 36.54271 114.59534 2,418 GPS
1150 Weiser Wash Road 2 715071 4046843 36.54283 114.59651 2,410 GPS
1151 Weiser Wash Road at Bowl Road 717535 4052441 36.59269 114.56742 1,961 GPS
1152 Weiser Bowl Parking 716062 4051989 36.58895 114.58401 2,134 GPS
1153 Weiser Wash Rd at RR Tracks 719370 4057978 36.64214 114.54535 1,519 GPS
1154 Weiser Wash Road at Town 718360 4058891 36.65059 114.55638 1,512 GPS
1155 I-15 at Glendale Exit East 717902 4060501 36.66520 114.56104 1,545 GPS
1156 I-15 at Hidden Valley Exit 714638 4057271 36.63685 114.59844 1,740 GPS
1157 Weiser Bowl Upper Road North 715617 4053250 36.60041 114.58862 2,447 GPS
1158 Weiser Bowl Overlook Parking N 715726 4053096 36.59900 114.58745 2,460 GPS
1159 Weiser Bowl Overlook Parking S 714629 4051858 36.58809 114.60005 2,642 GPS
Gate North Gate to North Radio Tower 715829 4053415 36.60185 114.58621 2,494 GPS
Gate South Gate to South Radio Tower 714585 4051756 36.58719 114.60057 2,680 GPS
Tower North North Radio Tower 715922 4053304 36.60083 114.58521 2,687 GPS
Tower South South Radio Tower 714611 4051500 36.58487 114.60035 2,697 GPS

Table 2. Hiking Waypoints Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Trailhead into Bowl 716059 4051991 2,124 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Loop Route 715887 4052120 2,179 0.14 0.14 GPS
03 Loop Route 715683 4052139 2,181 0.14 0.28 GPS
04 End of Road 715177 4052446 2,358 0.42 0.70 GPS
05 Far End of Loop 714986 4051665 2,411 . . GPS
06 Upper Trailhead North 715725 4053094 2,477 0.00 0.00 GPS
07 Overlook North 715785 4052936 2,499 0.13 0.13 GPS
08 Upper Trailhead South 714630 4051857 2,639 0.00 0.00 GPS
09 Overlook South 714773 4051693 2,741 0.16 0.16 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 111215

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