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First Rock Campsites
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
First Rock Campsites
First Rock Campsites
Main First Rock campsite (campsite #1; view S)

Overview

The First Rock Campsites are part of the Whitney Pocket area, a popular undeveloped camping and picnic area way out in the desert nestled up against sculpted red-and-white sandstone crags at the foot of limestone-gray Virgin Peak. There are no formal campsites, but I've numbered the four main sites for reference (see site map).

There is no water, and there are no toilets, no trash cans, and no picnic tables. Bring what you need and take it home when you leave. There is truck parking a couple of miles west on Interstate-15 where campers can dump trash without taking it back to Las Vegas.

Four campsites are scattered around First Rock. The main campsite, suitable for several large trailers and RVs, is located on the east side of the crag. The remaining three sites are smaller and arranged along the southwest side of the crag.

This is an interesting place to visit and commune with the history and scenery of this wild and rugged region.

Link to map.

First Rock Campsites
Evening at First Rock Campsite (view W)

Watch Out

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. Someone will find you eventually if you stay on a main road, but be prepared to survive alone for a day or two. Cell phones only work along parts of the paved road.

While visiting the Whitney Pocket area, 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 Essentials, even if you leave them in the car.

Be sure to bring trash bags to clean up after people who care less about wild places than you do.

First Rock Campsites
Morning at First Rock Campsite (view SW)

Getting to First Rock Camp area (part of Whitney Pocket)

First Rock Camp area is located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 2 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte National Monument. Drive east on Interstate-15 to Highway 170. Take Exit 112 towards Riverside and Bunkerville. Drive south and cross the Virgin River, then quickly turn right onto the paved Gold Butte Road. Follow the pavement (there are no paved side roads) for 19.9 miles (Table 1, Site 1768). Turn right onto the dirt road and drive west about 100 yards to Campsite #1. Continue on the somewhat rougher road, staying right along the base of the crags, to the remaining campsites.

If you miss the turn on Gold Butte Road, the pavement will end in 1 mile at Whitney Pocket, proper, where there are several more campsites.

First Rock Campsites
Friends of Gold Butte stargazing party at First Rock Camp (view E)

First Rock Camp

Nestled up against a towering sandstone crag, the First Rock camps provide grand views out across the desert. From Campsite #1, sunset views east towards the main Whitney Pocket crags is deep-red stunning, while from the other sites, sunset brings relief from afternoon heat as the sun sinks into the yellow, red, and purple haze.

The east side of the crag holds an enormous agave roasting pit, evidence that people have used this campsite for thousands of years. It appears that the site already has been dug up and looted, so if you find any artifacts, please leave them for future generations.

This area also is a good kick-off point for ATVs following some of the 500 miles of open road in Gold Butte National Monument. Rough roads lead south before looping back to Whitney Pocket, and Black Butte Road can be used to begin the Sand Wash--Mud Wash Loop.

First Rock Campsites
Gold Butte Road approaching First Rock Camp Road (view E)
First Rock Campsite
Gold Butte Road approaching First Rock Camp Road (view E)
First Rock Campsites
Gold Butte Road at First Rock Camp Road (view E)
First Rock Campsites
First Rock Camp Road entering Campsite #1 (view SW)
First Rock Campsites
First Rock Camp Road exiting Campsite #1 (view SW)
First Rock Campsites
First Rock Camp Road stays right to Campsites #2-4 (view SW)

First Rock Campsite #1

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First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsites
First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsites
First Rock Campsite #1 First Rock Campsite #1
First Rock Campsite #1 First Rock Campsite #1
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First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsites
First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsites
First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsites
First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsites
First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsites
First Rock Campsites
Joshua tree chopped down by vandals
First Rock Campsites
More to come ...

First Rock Campsite #2

First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite #2
First Rock Campsite
Fall flowers in camp

First Rock Campsite #3

First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite First Rock Campsite

First Rock Campsite #4. First Rock Campsite #4 probably isn't the best for tent campers, but it is a fine site for trailers where is it easy to level the rig.

First Rock Campsites First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite First Rock Campsite
First Rock Campsite First Rock Campsite

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
1004 Gold Butte Rd at Black Butte Rd 754183 4046327 36.53039 114.16102 2,776 Yes
1662 Black Butte Rd at Campsites Rd 754093 4046084 36.52822 114.16210 2,699 Yes
1768 Gold Butte Rd at First Rock Camp Rd 754457 4046190 36.52908 114.15800 2,782 Yes
FR_camp-1 First Rock Camp #1 754416 4046077 36.52808 114.15850 2,785 Yes
FR_camp-2 First Rock Camp #2 754195 4045993 36.52738 114.16100 2,749 Yes
FR_camp-3 First Rock Camp #3 754156 4046040 36.52781 114.16141 2,756 Yes
FR_camp-4 First Rock Camp #4 754123 4046073 36.52811 114.16178 2,730 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170112

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