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Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area
Colorock Cabin Loop Route
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Southern Nevada Wilderness Areas, Backroads
Colorock Quarry
Colorock Quarry Road
Last fork on Colorock Road (Site 1032)


The Colorock Quarry is a historical sandstone quarry. Judging from the amount of rock removed, that seems that the quarry went bust shortly after it got started. In 1983, the area was explored for gas and oil, but none was found. Now only a stone cabin and a few cut stones sit quietly among towering sandstone and limestone cliffs on the edge of the Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area. This is an area of stark solitude with a bit of local history thrown in.

This short (3/4-miles round trip) and easy hike follows old roads into the quarry area. The wilderness area boundary is the wash, so please keep all vehicles in the wash or on the cabin side of the wash. Across the wash and up the wash past the cabin is designated wilderness.

Link to map.

Colorock Quarry Road
Just past Wash Route trailhead (Site 1035)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a safe hike with no unusual hazards. There are many cactus and other things with sharp points, so be careful when walking around.

While driving, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. This road goes to the edge of Wilderness, so pay particular attention to respecting the land. This area is little used so nobody will find you if you need help, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials. Cell phones probably don't work in this area.

Colorock Quarry
Washed out road

Hiking Guide -- Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located on the west edge of the Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area, about 1.5 hours north of Las Vegas near Valley of Fire State Park.

From Las Vegas, drive northbound Interstate 15 for 33 miles to Exit 75E (Table 1, Site 1027). Turn right onto Highway 169 and drive east for 3.5 miles to Bitter Spring Backcountry Byway Road (Site 1028). On the Byway, drive southeast for 4.1 miles to a road intersection (Site 1029). Turn right and drive 0.2 miles to another intersection (Site 1030). Turn left and drive south towards the mountains. In the mountains, stay to the left at intersections, continuing to the Colorock Quarry Wash Route Trailhead area (Site 1035), the details of which are presented on the Colorock Road webpage.

Colorock Quarry Road
Colorock Cabin (Wpt. 09)


Past the last intersection (Site 1032), the road continues along the wash for another 0.4 miles to a wide spot in the road (Site 1035), then the completely deteriorates. For hikers, the wide spot is a good place to stop because it is easy to turn around and because the road gets much rougher just ahead. Parking here adds 0.1 miles to the hike. For the Wash Route, park here; this is the trailhead (Site 1035).

Colorock Quarry
Colorock Cabin exterior (Wpt. 09)

Hiking Guide -- The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 06), the route follows the road up the canyon. The road quickly becomes quite rocky, and then it is washed out where it crosses the wash. Across the wash, the road turns steeply up the high bank on the far side, and then runs southeast and south along the base of the hill.

colorock quarry
Colorock Cabin interior
On the hillside, the road forks (Wpt. 07) to form a long loop. The road to the right stays above the wash and runs directly to the Colorock Cabin (Wpt. 09). The road to the left drops into and crosses the wash, running directly to the Colorock Quarry Site (Wpt. 10). Being a loop road, hikers can visit one site and then visit the other without having to backtrack.
colorock quarry
Colorock Cabin interior

Staying to the right, the legal road ends at the Colorock Cabin (Wpt. 09), which is literally inches from the edge of designated wilderness area. The cabin walls were made using quarried sandstone chunks held together with cement. I imagine that workers used broken blocks from the quarry to build the cabin. The roof and door are wooden. The windows have long been broken out, and now they are covered with hinged boards so they can be opened and closed.

There is little trash around the exterior, but there is a burn barrel and cement pads that might have been the floor of storage sheds or wall tents.

colorock quarry
Sandstone Quarry site (Wpt. 10)

Inside the cabin, recent visitors have left a few amenities of modern life, including chairs, trash cans, lanterns, a carpet, and a ceramic pot-bellied stove (bring your own wood).

The door has no lock, so I imagine it is available to anyone. While using the cabin, please respect this site as part of our shared Nevada history. Use the site gently, clean up your trash, and try to leave the area nicer than when you arrived.

colorock quarry
Cut stones at the quarry (Wpt. 10)

From the cabin, an old (now illegal) road runs down into the wash and into the wilderness area. Across the wash, the road climbs the hill and bends to the north to run along sandstone cliffs. The quarry site (Wpt. 10) is the large sandstone crag northeast of the cabin. Cut marks can be seen on the crag, and a few cut stones lie at the base. A few concrete pads also remain that probably were foundations for winches or cranes.

Passing the quarry site heading north, the old road runs back down to and crosses the wash, connecting with the road to the cabin (Wpt. 07). Following the road downstream leads back to the trailhead (Wpt. 07).

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

Site # Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Distance from
Hwy 169
1031 Colorock Rd at Wrong Road 36.37029 114.71245 705225 4027249 2,765 6.9 GPS
1032 Colorock Rd at Camping Road 36.36825 114.70822 705609 4027031 2,788 7.1 GPS
1034 Over-the-Ridge Trailhead 36.36222 114.71031 705437 4026358 2,897 7.5 GPS
1035 Wash Trailhead 36.36804 114.70530 705872 4027014 2,802 7.3 GPS

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

Wpt. Location Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
06 Trailhead 705873 4027013 2,802 0.00 0.00 GPS
07 Road Forks 706069 4026778 2,834 0.21 0.21 GPS
08 Colorock Cabin 706005 4026598 2,845 0.14 0.35 GP
09 Road Crosses Wash 706058 4026588 2,836 0.03 0.38 GPS
10 Colorock Quarry 706150 4026712 2,845 0.11 0.49 GPS
07 Road Forks 706069 4026778 2,834 0.06 0.55 GPS
06 Trailhead 705873 4027013 2,802 0.21 0.76 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 110123

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