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Garden Wash Road
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road
Garden Spring Road approaching Garden Wash Road (view E)

Overview

Garden Wash Road, a side road off Devil's Cove Road, provides access to 4 sandy miles of Garden Wash beyond the historic Garden Spring Corral and associated popular primitive campsite.

At the corral, Garden Wash Road forks left from Garden Spring Road to run northeast. The sandy road runs down Garden Wash, winding among catclaw acacia and desert willow trees. There are few rocks, making this a fairly smooth ride, but it is best suited for 4WD vehicles because of soft sand.

About 3 miles out, Garden Wash Road passes an historic watering trough that catches water from rainstorms and holds it for wildlife. With so much catclaw, this is good habitat for Phainopepla.

Garden Wash Road ends 4 miles out at an old cabin near the historic Azure Ridge copper mine. Here, the wash pinches down and enters a narrow canyon with towering limestone walls.

Link to map.

Garden Wash Road
Fork: Garden Wash Road forks left (view E)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this road is fairly safe and without unusual hazards, but the road runs down a sandy wash and a 4WD vehicle is safer than otherwise. The last 20 yards of road to the cabin are best walked because the undulating surface causes problems for vehicles without limited-slip differentials. Plus, it is hard to turn around at the cabin without damaging historic cabin debris.

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 Road
Garden Wash Road departing the corral area (view NE)

Getting to Garden Wash Road

Garden Wash Road is located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 3-1/2 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 the signed Devil's Cove Road. Stay left onto Devil's 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 left and heads up the wash.

Garden Spring Road runs east 0.7 miles to Garden Spring Corral where Garden Wash Road forks left.

Garden Wash Road

The Road

From Garden Spring Road at Garden Spring Corral and Windmill (Table 1, Site 1778), Garden Wash Road forks left to head northeast. In about 100 yards, a road merges from the right; this road comes from Garden Spring campsite.

Continuing, Garden Spring Road runs over an edge and down a red-dirt hillside into a gully. A bit bumpy here, the road soon smooths out as it runs down into a sandy wash.

At about 0.2 miles out, the wash forks and roads go both ways. The entire wash is braided, and in many cases roads run down both forks of the braid, so this is just the first of many such forks and in almost every case, both fork work. Here, the left fork runs over bedrock outcrops in the wash, so depending on floods and how they move gravel around, the right fork might be better. Either way, both forks merge in about 125 feet, and there are a few more bedrock outcrops in the wash shortly ahead.

Garden Wash Road
Side road from campsite merges from the right (view NE)

Continuing, the wash runs northeast between low hills. The vegetation is typical of this high-desert region with diverse species along the hillsides and water-loving species such as desert willow, catclaw acacia, honey mesquite, and desert almond along the edges of the sandy wash.

At about 0.6 miles past the corral, the wash forks again and roads go both ways. The right follows the main wash, but either is fine as they merge shortly ahead.

The road continues down the sandy wash, passing several braids with forks that merge again, but at about 2.7 miles out, a road forks right and climbs out of the bottom of the wash. This road runs about 100 yards to an historic circular watering trough on the right (not visible from the main road in the wash). The watering trough catches water from rainstorms and holds it for wildlife. This is a good area, packed with catclaw acacia trees full of mistletoe, to see Phainopepla and other birds. The main road continues down the bed of the wash winding among trees and shrubs and passing a few rocks.

Garden Wash Road
Heading into the red-dirt gully (view NE)

At about 3.5 miles out, the nature of the road degrades and becomes narrower, rougher, more rocky, and more washed out. The road continues, but it seems that most drivers turn around in this area.

At about 3.8 miles out, the wash approaches a rocky crag on the left hillside and bends right into towards rocky narrows. This is a good place to stop, but if not, the road-edge vegetation becomes much thicker as the road continues a few yards to the last good place to stop and turn around.

For drivers who insist on driving the last 20 yards of road, the road cuts across the wash gullies where jeep tires are likely to come off the ground and cause problems for those of us without limited-slip differentials.

The road finally ends (Site 1787) on the doorstep of an old cabin that was built by miners who worked the Azure Ridge Copper Mine another 0.25 miles down the wash. The turn-around is quite small, and turning around without damaging historic boards of a collapsed cabin is difficult, even for a short-wheelbase jeep.

Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road descending towards Garden Wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
The road levels out (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
First of several forks; both side are fine and merge in 125 ft
Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road in Garden Wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road in sandy wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road passing rocky hillside (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Second of several forks in wash; both merge just ahead (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Continuing down the wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road Garden Wash Road
Garden Wash Road
Continuing down the wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Cactus Wren nest in Buckhorn Cholla and Barrel Cactus
Garden Wash Road
One of the few "rocky" spots (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Side road to watering trough forks right (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Parking at watering trough (view SE)
Garden Wash Road
Watering trough (view S)
Garden Wash Road
Watering trough (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Bathtub used for cattle drinker (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Main road continues down the wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Continuing down the wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Rocky outcrop along the wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
The road begins to degrade (view SE)
Garden Wash Road
Continuing down the wash (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
The road continues to degrade (view NE)
Garden Wash Road
Vegetation just before the end of the road (view S)
Garden Wash Road
Last bit of road before the cabin (view E)
Garden Wash Road
Copper miner's cabin (view N)
More to come ...
More to come ...

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)
1770 Devils Cove Rd at Garden Wash Road 755256 4020767 36.29995 114.15746 3,703
1776 Devils Cove Road at Bills Spring Road 755502 4020520 36.29766 114.15479 3,738
1777 Garden Wash Road at Bills Spring Road 755511 4020701 36.29929 114.15464 3,738
1778 Garden Wash Road at Garden Spring Corral 756296 4021009 36.30185 114.14580 3,719
1787 Garden Wash Rd at Cabin 761589 4023146 36.31967 114.08621 2,603

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170220

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