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Rattlesnake Spring
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Rattlesnake Spring
Arriving at the water tank and watering trough (view N)


Rattlesnake Spring is located out at the far south end of Gold Butte National Monument near the boundary with Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Ranchers developed this spring decades ago, but as is the case with so many other springs in the Gold Butte region, ultimately 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. Rattlesnake Spring is now dry, and all that remains are the old water features.

Rattlesnake Spring 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 sold out and moved away. Life goes on, but it is different now. The actual spring is not obvious, but it probably was located high in a gully on the flanks of Garrett Butte to the northeast were green shrubs still grow.

Link to map.

Rattlesnake Spring
Possible location of original spring (view NE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ... this is a pretty safe area without any unusual hazards. Rattlesnake Wash Road is probably passable in a 2WD-HC vehicle, but 4WD would be safer, and Scanlon Road requires 4WD these days.

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 that traverse the area coming and going from the Grand Canyon.

While out, 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.

Rattlesnake Spring
Long dry watering trough (view SE)

Getting to Rattlesnake Spring

Rattlesnake Spring is located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 5 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte and then south the paved Gold Butte Road for 21 miles to Whitney Pocket. Continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 20 miles to Gold Butte Townsite. Continue south on Scanlon Road for a 8.7 miles to Rattlesnake Wash Road, on the right.

Turn west onto Rattlesnake Wash Road and drive down the wash 1.0 miles, then turn right and drive north into the hills for 0.3 miles to the water tank at the end of the road. Park here; this is it.

Rattlesnake Spring
Water tanks (view E)
Rattlesnake Spring
Metal debris
Rattlesnake Spring
Watering trough (view NW)
Rattlesnake Spring
Water pipe
Rattlesnake Spring
Canyon beyond the water tank (view NW)
Rattlesnake Spring
Site overview (view NE)
Rattlesnake Spring
Small watering trough (view SE)
Rattlesnake Spring
Small watering trough (view S)
Rattlesnake Spring
Site overview (view SE)
Rattlesnake Spring
Original watering trough

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

Site Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi)
1809 Rattlesnake Spring 36.19807 114.27426 2,811 0.27 1.29

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170914

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