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Grapevine Spring Loop
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Grapevine Spring Loop
Grapevine Spring campsite and trailhead (view SW)

Overview

Grapevine Spring Loop is a short, 1-mile hike that introduces visitors to the granite dome-lands found in southern parts of Gold Butte National Monument. From the trailhead, the route follows a levy around the large stock pond to an historic corral, then heads up into the hills to loop around the nearest granite dome (Grapevine Dome) before returning to the trailhead.

This area burned in the 2005 Fork Fire (82,000 acres), and while vegetation (mostly Shrub Live Oak) is growing back, plenty of standing dead Pinyon Pine and Utah Juniper trees remain. Of course, the fire opened up the landscape for hiking, and it is easier to get round in these rocky hills without so much shrubbery.

This is a nice place to explore and camp, so plan to spend a weekend looking for historic sites and natural wonders.

Link to map.

Grapevine LoopGrapevine Spring campsite and trailhead (view SW)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this area is fairly safe, but be extra careful whenever high enough to fall and get hurt. There is no need to scramble in the rocks on this hike, but the rocky domes always are inviting. The access road requires a 2WD-HC vehicle, but would be safer in a 4WD vehicle because of sand on lower Cedar Basin Road.

This is wild and remote country 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. It is a big place and someone will find you eventually if you stay on a main road, but be prepared to survive alone for a day or two, or even longer on side roads. Consider signalling the tourist helicopters should help be needed.

While visiting the 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.

Grapevine Loop
Fenceline atop the levy (view S)

Getting to Grapevine Spring Loop

Grapevine Spring is located in Cedar Basin, way out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 3.5 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte National Monument. From Whitney Pocket, continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road to Gold Butte Townsite. Continue southwest on the main road, which is now Scanlon Road, for 1.9 miles to Quail Springs Wash (watch for a flash-flood warning sign). Turn left and drive up Cedar Basin Road, which follows Quail Springs Wash southeast and up into Cedar Basin.

At about 3.3 miles out, when Cedar Basin Road forks at a white 55-gallon drum in a forested area, stay right on Cedar Basin Road to the historic Cedar Basin Corral. Just past corral, turn left and drive east along the corral heading towards the granite domes. Grapevine Spring reservoir and corral lie up against the granite domes, and the road leads into that area and the Grapevine Spring Campsite. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Grapevine Loop
South end of Grapevine Dome (view E)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the route starts by climbing onto the northwest corner of the levy that creates Granite Spring Reservoir. The granite dome that forms the far size of the reservoir is Grapevine Dome, and the route circumnavigates this dome.

Atop the levy, the route heads south following the fenceline for about 100 yards to the historic corral (Wpt. 02). Not much is left here, but we recall the lives and efforts of ranching families that tried to make a living in this desert under an ever-drying climate (see essay here).

From the old corral, the route turns east along the south edge of the reservoir and runs up the sandy wash that appears broad and open from this perspective.

The sandy wash quickly becomes narrow, twisting, and boulder-filled, and in places it is easier to climb out of the wash bottom to bypass obstacles.

Grapevine Loop
South end of reservoir (view SE)

Before long, the route arrives at a high granite crag on the left. Here, the wash forks (Wpt. 03), and the route turns left to run below the granite crag and head northeast up a narrow wash.

Generally heading northeast, the route begins to circle behind the granite dome. The wash becomes choked with oaks, but the burned hillside to the right makes for easy passage. Nearing granite crags ahead, the route bends left to dip across the wash and climb onto a low ridgeline (Wpt. 04) that connects Grapevine Dome with higher domes to the east.

Atop the ridgeline, hikers can go due east and scramble through the rocks, but it is easier to continue north another 125 yards to a more easy passage (Wpt. 05) around the boulders.

From there, the route turn back southwest and follows open corridors through the trees back to the reservoir. The north edge of the reservoir is the "spillway" where the levy has washed out, and then it is only a few yards back to the trailhead (Wpt. 01).

Grapevine Loop
Approaching historic corral (view S)
Grapevine Loop
Reservoir (view N)
Grapevine Loop
Reservoir (view N)
Grapevine Loop
South end of reservoir (view E)
Grapevine Loop
South end of reservoir at inlet (view E)
Grapevine Loop
Boulder-choked wash (view E)
Grapevine Loop
Boulder-choked wash (view E)
Grapevine Loop
Dead conifers and recovering oaks on hillside (view N)
Grapevine Loop
When the wash forks, the route turns left (view NE)
Grapevine Loop
The route heads northeast (view NE)
Grapevine Loop
Grand scenery from a knob along the way (view N)
Grapevine Loop
Grand scenery from a knob along the way (view NW)
Grapevine Loop
Grand scenery from a knob along the way (view SW)
Grapevine Loop
Grand scenery from a knob along the way (view S)
Grapevine Loop
The route continues up the left fork of the wash (view NE
Grapevine Loop
Right side of the wash is easier, but need to cross left (view N)
Grapevine Loop
Crossing the wash (view N)
Grapevine Loop
Climbing onto the next low ridge (view NW)
Grapevine Loop
Atop next low ridge, route turns right to head north (view NW)
Grapevine Loop
Grand scenery, but not the best way to go (view NW)
Grapevine Loop
Grand scenery, but not the best way to go (view NW)
Grapevine Loop
The passage bypasses granite outcrops (view SW)
Grapevine Loop
Easy walking (view SW)
Grapevine Loop
Grand scenery: isolated boulder (view N)
Grapevine Loop
Easy walking through the trees (view SW)
Grapevine Loop
Easy walking through the trees (view SW)
Grapevine Loop
Washed out levy serves as a "spillway" (view SW)
Grapevine Loop
Returning past the reservoir (view S)
Grapevine Loop
Approaching the trailhead (view SW)
Grapevine Loop
Arriving at the trailhead (view SW)

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates and Distances 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)
01 Trailhead 754372 4014056 4,325 0.00 0.00
02 Historic Corral 754366 4013959 4,334 0.08 0.08
03 Wash Forks 754625 4013882 4,333 0.21 0.29
04 Ridgeline 754754 4014124 4,401 0.23 0.52
05 Passage 754749 4014210 4,398 0.07 0.59
01 Trailhead 754372 4014056 4,325 0.30 0.89

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170806

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