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Garden Wash Watering Trough
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Garden Wash Spring
Garden Wash Spring
Parking near the watering trough (view S)


Garden Wash Watering Trough is located out at the far south end of Gold Butte National Monument near the boundary with Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Ranchers developed this watering trough decades ago, and it appears they may have piped water 3 miles from Garden Spring. As is the case with so many other water developments in the Gold Butte region, they were unsuccessful because this land has been drying out since the last Ice Age, and with current droughts and changing climate conditions, they are drying out even faster now. Garden Spring is essentially dry now, and water no longer flows to the watering trough. Life goes on, but it is different now.

Garden Wash Watering Trough is a quiet place in the desert to reflect on the lives of cattlemen who worked trying to make a living on lands that just couldn't support them. The climate and the vegetation changed, and the ranchers eventually sold out, but sites like this remind us of the importance of water to life in the desert. During storms, the trough catches water, which can make for good birding, and in season, the honey mesquite are full of Phainopepla.

Link to map.

Garden Wash Springwatering trough (view S)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this area is pretty safe with no unexpected hazards. The roads require at least a 2WD-HC vehicle, but a 4WD or AWD would be better in the sandy Garden Wash.

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. Gold Butte National Monument 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. Cell phones don't work here.

While visiting, 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.

Garden Wash Spring
Perhaps the original watering trough (view S)

Getting to Garden Wash Watering Trough

Garden Wash Watering Trough is located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 3 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte and then south on the paved Gold Butte Road for 21 miles to Whitney Pocket. From there, continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road 16.6 miles to Devils Cove Road. Stay left onto Devils Cove Road and continue south 1.0 miles. The relatively straight road bends left around a rocky ridge and crosses a major wash. Here, in the wash, Garden Spring Road branches to the left and heads up the wash.

On Garden Spring Road, continue east 0.7 miles to the corral. Entering the corral area, Garden Wash Road forks left. Stay left onto Garden Wash Road and continue down the sandy wash for 2.7 miles to a faint side road (Table 1, Site 1852) to the right. Turn right and follow this faint road 100 yards to the watering trough (Site 1853), on the right.

Garden Wash Spring Garden Wash Spring
Garden Wash Spring
Trespass cattle use the area
Garden Wash Spring
Trespass cattle use the area

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)
1852 Garden Wash Road at Spur 760164 4022889 36.31774 114.10216 3,028
1853 Garden Wash Watering Trough Parking 760219 4022895 36.31779 114.10154 3,035

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170911

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