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Gentry Ranch Area
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Gentry Ranch Area
Gentry Ranch Area
Virgin River in early spring (view NE)

Overview

The Gentry Ranch area is an interesting place to hike along the banks of the Virgin River, parts of which were underwater when Lake Mead was higher. There is some history here, but it isn't the most exciting place to hike. However, here in southern Nevada, we seldom get the chance to hike along a flowing river on our home turf, so that makes this hike a treat. The early spring wildflowers can be great at this low elevation.

Historically, the Gentry family ran thousands of head of cattle in the Gold Butte area, and this area is marked on some old maps as "Gentry Ranch." However, there do not seem to be any old buildings or remains of other structures that one might expect to find at a spot marked "ranch" on an old map. This area might have been the site of a bridge over the Virgin River, suggested by ground works visible across the river, that could have connected "the ranch" to the old Arrowhead Trail Highway. A gap in the hillside across the river was cut for the old Arrowhead Trail Highway, the first "highway" from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.

Gentry Ranch Area
Virgin River in early spring (view NE)

Link to hiking map.

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a fairly safe hike, although the trail runs across some craggy cliffs above the river where someone could fall into the water if they tried.

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 hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this is a remote hike, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Gentry Ranch Area
Gauging station along Virgin River (view SW)

Getting to the Trailhead

The Gentry Ranch site is located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 2.5 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte National Monument. From Highway 170 at Gold Butte Road, drive south 14.2 miles to Fisherman's Cove Road (Table 1, Site 1653), on the right.

From the pavement, drive southwest and downhill for about 7 miles to a fork in the road (Site 1654), bear to the right onto Gentry Ranch Road as it starts to climb towards Black Ridge. The road eventually bends left and heads back towards the river. The road ends at a parking area (Site 1655) with a cable fence that is intended to block vehicle traffic. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Gentry Ranch Area
Hillside with yellow and purple flowers

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), which is at about the old high water mark for Lake Mead, the route runs west and then northwest along old roads where the vegetation hasn't grown up too much. About 0.4 miles out, there is an old trailer-type road grader (Wpt. 02) that must have spent some years beneath the surface of the lake. Shortly past that, look for an old well casing pipe (Wpt. 03) with water down in it. Then at about 0.8 miles out, an old Caterpillar diesel engine (Wpt. 04) sits silently on the edge of a ravine. It looks like someone hauled it just high enough to prevent the lake from swallowing it, but then abandoned it to the ages.

Gentry Ranch Area
Lone barrel cactus

After the old engine, the trail runs closer to the water and gets to an old USGS water gauging station (Wpt. 05) that seems in danger of washing away. The station was placed at the site of a historic well or water pumping station.

After the water gauging station, the hillside steepens, and the narrow trail traverses ledges and side slopes above the river. The terrain isn't dangerous, but there is a bit of Class-2 scrambling. Past the hillside, the terrain eases, and one can hike along the river, up on the bluffs, and find narrow little canyons. This is a good place to wander about, see what is out there, and spend some quality time with wildflowers and flowing water.

Gentry Ranch
Carpet of tiny white flowers
Gentry Ranch
Sparse creosote bushes across the landscape
Gentry Ranch
Mixed spring wildflowers
Gentry Ranch
Cairn erected for some long-lost reason

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

Site # Location Latitude (°N) Longitude (°W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
1653 Gold Butte Road at Fisherman's Cove Rd 36.59583 114.21061 749532 4053459 2,692 Yes
1654 Fisherman's Cove Road at Gentry Ranch Rd 36.51817 114.28616 743015 4044648 1,618 Yes
1655 Fisherman's Cove Road at Trailhead 36.50563 114.32671 739421 4043155 1,197 Yes

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

Wpt. Location Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Verified
01 Trailhead 739421 4043155 1,197 GPS
02 Grader 738963 4043448 1,179 GPS
03 Well Casing 738904 4043462 1,171 GPS
04 Old Engine 738744 4043968 1,208 GPS
05 Gauging Station 738666 4044136 1,189 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 151031

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