birdandhike.com logo
Home | Wilderness | Hiking | Gold Butte
Paradise Valley Route
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Paradise Valley
Paradise ValleyParadise Valley Trailhead parking (view NNE)

Overview

Paradise Valley is out in the heart of the wild and remote Gold Butte National Monument, and indeed, parts do seem like paradise, although it might have been prettier before the big fires of 2005.

This hike runs one-way, all downhill, for 5 miles and requires a vehicle shuttle. Starting from Gold Butte Road near Gold Butte Townsite, the route runs down Valatier Wash between Paradise Ridge to the east and the higher Tramp Ridge to the west, both of which stretch off into the distance. In this complexly faulted country, Valatier Wash cuts through a gap in Paradise Ridge that provide hikers an early exit from Paradise Valley back to Gold Butte Road. Slightly longer versions of the hike exit Paradise Valley through a second or third gap in Paradise Ridge.

Link to hiking map.

Paradise Valley
Approaching the quail guzzler (view NNE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this area is pretty safe with no unusual hazards, but there are old mines in the area, and holes in the ground are never safe to enter.

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. Law enforcement occasionally patrols the area. Someone will find you eventually if you stay on a main road, but be prepared to survive alone for a day or two. The access road require a 2WD-HC vehicle or a carefully driven sedan. Cell phones don't work here.

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.

Paradise ValleySaltcedar - noxious weeds are everywhere, even in Paradise

Getting to the Trailhead

Paradise Valley 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 National Monument, then drive south on the paved Gold Butte Road to Whitney Pocket. From there, continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road.

After about 13.7 miles on the dirt, the road climbs across a steep hillside to an overlook at the top. From there, continue south another 1.1 miles (14.8 dirt miles) to where the road crosses Horse Spring Wash. This is the end of the hike; leave a vehicle here.

Continue south for another 3.8 miles (18.6 dirt miles) to a minor side road to the right that leads to a quail guzzler about 125 yards north of the road. Park here, this is the trailhead.

Paradise Valley
Continuing north with pinyon and juniper trees (view N)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the route heads north on the guzzler access road to the quail guzzler (Wpt. 02); keep an eye out for Gambel's Quail and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jays.

From the guzzler, the route continues downhill into the canyon, and as long as hikers are heading downhill, they are on the right route. Soon the cliffs of Paradise Ridge tower above while Valatier Wash cuts through red and white sandstone. This sandstone, however, is not the Jurassic-age (150-200 mya) sandstone of Whitney Pocket; these are Permian-age Red Beds (250-300 mya).

At about 0.7 miles out, the route passes a curious habitation site (Wpt. 03) just above the wash on the east side. This site seems to have been from recent history rather than prehistoric, but it seems too small. Maybe old-man Valatier was a short Basque shepherd? The desert usually guards its mysteries.

Paradise Valley
Modern mining-claim marker: 2x2 wooden post with metal tag

The route continues down the wash. At about 1.4 miles out, the wash bumps into Paradise Ridge and abruptly bends to the west. In the spring of 2017, a small tunnel in the bank harbored a nest full of Kit Fox pups. During the day, I guess the parents were out hunting, and the kids weren't too concerned about us.

After running west a few hundred yards, the wash bends to flow north again. At about 2.4 miles out, Valatier Wash merges with Paradise Valley Wash, and together they continue north but angling northeast.

At about 3.4 miles out, the wash passes the toe of a low ridge (Wpt. 05) on the west that separates the wash from the rest of Paradise Valley. Here, the wash begins to cut through Paradise Ridge en route to the other side of the mountain.

Paradise Valley
Las Vegas Buckwheat (sensitive plant species) along the wash

Those who want a longer hike can exit Valatier Wash here (Wpt. 05) and hike west 90 yards to an old road. Turning right and heading north, the old road can be followed, intermittently, all the way through Paradise Valley to Devil's Throat in the bottom of Mud Wash Valley (7 air-miles). There are three canyons (0.5, 1.5, and 2 air-miles out) that cut east through the ridge and provide access to Gold Butte Road.

Continuing in Valatier Wash, the low ridge on the west soon becomes a high ridge, and the wash is funneled down the narrow canyon into the bowels of Paradise Ridge. The layers of Kaibab and Toroweap limestone here, the same layers at the top of the Grand Canyon, are contorted and contain interesting fossils. After a series of twists and turns, hikers suddenly emerge on the east side of Paradise Ridge in Horse Spring Valley.

Outside the ridge, Valatier Wash quickly merges with Horse Spring Wash, and together they run northeast, passing another guzzler on the right, to cross Gold Butte Road at the end of the hike (Wpt. 06).

Paradise Valley
Walking through time: Permian Red Beds (view N)
Paradise Valley
Continuing through the colorful canyon (view NW)
Paradise Valley
More Permian Red Beds sandstone (view NE)
Paradise Valley
On hillside above the wash (view back across the wash (view SE)
Paradise Valley
Curious habitation site (view SE)
Paradise Valley
On hillside above the wash (view back across the wash (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Sometimes it is easier to walk out of the wash (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Back in the wash (view N)
Paradise Valley
Kit Fox burrow
Paradise Valley
Antechamber playroom; fox pups are back in the tunnel
Paradise Valley
Back in the wash (view W)
Paradise Valley
On hillside, looking back across Paradise Valley (view SE)
Paradise Valley
Back in the wash (view NE)
Paradise ValleyEasy walking (view NE)
Paradise Valley Paradise Valley
Paradise Valley Paradise Valley
Paradise Valley
Walking on easy ground out of the wash (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Easy ground in the wash (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Animal trail on easy ground above the wash (view N)
Paradise Valley
Approaching exit from Paradise Valley (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Beginning to exit from Paradise Valley (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Staying against the rocky cliffs of the main Paradise Ridge (view N)
Paradise Valley Paradise Valley
Paradise Valley
Starting into canyon (view N)
Paradise Valley
High canyon walls on both sides (view NW)
Paradise Valley
(view W)
Paradise Valley
(view N)
Paradise Valley
(view N)
Paradise Valley
(view NE)
Paradise Valley
(view N)
Paradise Valley
(view E)
Paradise Valley
(view SE)
Paradise Valley
(view SE)
Paradise Valley
Nearing the exit from Paradise Ridge (view SE)
Paradise Valley
Exiting from Paradise Ridge (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Looking back up Horse Spring Wash into Paradise Ridge (view SW)
Paradise Valley
Guzzler on the rise ahead (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Horse Spring Wash (view NE)
Paradise Valley
Returning to Gold Butte Road (view NE)

Table 1. 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 753574 4019930 3,595 0.00 0.00
02 Guzzler 753614 4020022 3,566 0.07 0.07
03 Habitation Site 753982 4020893 3,446 0.68 0.75
04 Confluence 754367 4022756 3,508 1.65 2.40
05 Exit Paradise Valley 755309 4023811 3,412 0.99 3.39
06 Trail End 756241 4024898 3,193 1.66 4.87

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170924

Hiking Around Gold Butte Hiking Around Las Vegas Glossary Copyright, Conditions, Disclaimer Home

 

Google Ads