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Gass Peak Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Gass Peak Road
gass peak road
Mormon Well Rd at Gass Peak Rd

Overview

The Gass Peak Road, is a bumpy dirt road that runs south from the Mormon Well Road west of the Sheep Range, then turns and runs east up a broad valley between major ridges in the Las Vegas Range. The road usually is a high-clearance road, but when maintained, it can be driven in a sedan; call the refuge headquarters for current conditions. Gass Peak Road provides access to Gass Peak, Gass Spring, and Quartzite Mountain. This is a nice road for a drive in the desert or an easy get away from town to camp out in the desert, but it is wild and remote country.

Link to map.

For general information on camping, hiking, regulations, other issues, and the natural history of the Wildlife Refuge, see the Desert National Wildlife Refuge -- Area Overview page.

Gass Peak Road
Mormon Well Rd at Gass Peak Rd

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert... the Gass Peak Road generally is a good dirt road, but it runs out into wild and remote country. There are no services or developments of any kind. Cell phones work along the west end of the road where you can see town, but don't count on calling for help farther out. Bring water and food, a good spare tire, a shovel, tools, a tow rope, bailing wire (I learned the hard way) and anything else that you might need to survive a night stuck out in the desert.

While out there, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this road leads to remote country, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials. This is a wildlife refuge, so pay extra attention to respecting the land.

Gass Peak Road

Location

The Gass Peak Road is located on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and starts about 45 minutes northwest of Las Vegas. To get there, drive out to the Corn Creek Field Station. Continue east for about 250 feet to a T-intersection with a large directional sign. Turn right onto Mormon Well Road, and follow it south and then east for 4.3 miles to Gass Peak Road (Table 1, Site 0884), which turns off to the south (right).

Gass Peak Road
Start of Gass Peak Rd (view SE)

The Road

Gass Peak Road (Site 0884) initially runs southeast along the west toe of Fossil Ridge, which is one of the major ridges in the Las Vegas Range.

Within a minute or two (0.33 miles; Site 1009), the road passes a large, traditional campsite off to the left. This primitive campsite has been used for years, but other than the small, fenced-off parking area and large fire ring, it is relatively pristine. This is a good place for a quick get-away from town with a view of the city lights at night.

Continuing, the road runs southeast for to the bottom of a broad valley and crosses the main wash (about 2.5 miles). The road winds around and turns to the northeast, running along the south side of the main wash for the duration. Most of the road along this section is reasonably good, but there are a few rough patches and a few patches of loose gravel.

Gass Peak Road

At about 7.95 miles out, Gass Peak Road passes a turnoff (Site 1010) to a traditional campsite about 200 feet south of the road. A spur road leads to the campsite (Site 1011), so it is located conveniently off the main road. This is a nice "wilderness" campsite with no sights or sounds of civilization, except for fighter jets flying out of Nellis Air Force Base.

Another 0.15 miles farther down the main road, Gass Peak Road intersects with Gass Peak Spring Road (Site 0885). This road is ungated, but it is marked "Service Road Only." This road intersection is the trailhead for the Gass Spring and Gass Peak hikes.

Gass Peak Road
Campsite with view of Las Vegas

Continuing east for another 0.45 miles (about 8.6 miles from Mormon Well Road), the road forks (Site 0944). The fork to the left is Quail Spring Road, which runs about 1.4 miles to a parking area and the trailhead to Quail Spring Guzzler and Quartzite Peak. This road can be a bit rough, and it might be worth stopping about 1 minute or so short of the end in a wide spot at the top of a steep hill.

The other fork continues east, then bends to the south. After only a short ways, however, the road begins to deteriorates considerably, but it is a fine jeep road. The road leads south all the way to the edge of the wildlife refuge (Site 1516), but a fence blocks travel down into North Las Vegas. ATVs are illegal in the wildlife refuge, and I've seen rangers staked out on this road waiting to ticket illegal ATV riders.

Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Rd
Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Rd running southeast towards Gass Peak
Gass Peak Road
Looking up the road, a little to the left at Fossil Ridge
Gass Peak Road
Looking up the road, a little to the right at Gass Peak
Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Road along Fossil Ridge
Gass Peak Road
There is a bit of loose gravel in some places
Gass Peak Road
Getting pretty far up the road
gass peak road
Interesting white-shale formation
Gass Peak Road
Traditional campsite on right side of the road
Gass Peak Road
Approaching Gass Peak Trailhead (view SE)
Gass Peak Road
Approaching Gass Peak Trailhead (view SE)
Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Road at Quail Spring Road
Gass Peak Road
Beyond Quail Spring Road, the road deteriorates (view S)
Gass Peak Road
Little-used road runs in a wash (view S)
Gass Peak Road Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Road Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Road Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Road Gass Peak Road
Gass Peak Road Gass Peak Road

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

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
0884 DNWR, Mormon Well Rd at Gass Peak Rd 653761 4033896 36.43980 115.28450 3,652 Yes
0885 DNWR, Gass Peak Rd at Gass Spr Rd 665068 4033559 36.43488 115.15848 4,887 Yes
0944 DNWR, Gass Peak Rd at Quail Spr Rd 665609 4033133 36.43095 115.15254 4,844 Yes
1009 DNWR, Gass Pk Rd Camp 1 654113 4033507 36.43623 115.28066 3,701 Yes
1010 DNWR, Gass Pk Rd Camp 2 turnoff 664906 4033771 36.43682 115.16024 4,954 Yes
1011 DNWR, Gass Pk Rd Camp 2 664862 4033731 36.43646 115.16075 4,943 Yes
1516 Gass Peak Road End 672337 4022717 36.33592 115.07983 2,772 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170504

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