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Mud Wash Dunes Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Mud Wash Road approaching Mud Wash Dunes Road (view W)

Overview

Mud Wash Dunes Road is a 0.5-mile two-track that runs north from Mud Wash Road (part of the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway loop) to a campsite and trailhead nestled under the cliffs.

The start of the road is a bit steep and it is nice to have 4WD, but after that the road traverses spectacular country the rest of the way. The soils are sandy, but the road base is firm.

This road provides access to grand scenery with towering red sandstone crags, a field of red sand dunes, and an off-trail route to Little Finland.

Link to road map.

Mud Wash Dunes Road
Mud Wash Road at Mud Wash Dunes Road (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about the desert, ... the first few yards of this road is in fair condition for 2WD-HC vehicles, but after that, it is fine.

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. Someone will find you eventually if you stay on a main road, but be prepared to survive alone for a day, or even two or more days if you get off the main road.

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.

Mud Wash Dunes Road
Mud Wash Dunes Road (view N from Mud Wash)

Getting to the Roadhead

Mud Wash Dunes Road is located out in Gold Butte northeast of Lake Mead, about 2-1/2 hours northeast of Las Vegas.

From Las Vegas, drive out to Whitney Pocket at the end of the paved Gold Butte Road. Continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 3.9 miles to Mud Wash North Road. Turn right onto Mud Wash North Road and continue 3.2 miles southwest to Mud Wash Road. Stay right onto Mud Wash Road and continue generally west for 0.6 miles to Mud Wash Dunes Road, which climbs the steep bank of the wash on the right.

See also the Gold Butte Area overview map.

Mud Wash Dunes Road
Mud Wash Dunes Road (view N)

The Road

From Mud Wash Road (Table 1, Site 1677), Mud Wash Dunes Road climbs steeply up the north bank of Mud Wash, then runs gently north across sparsely vegetated Mojave Desert Scrub where creosote bush, white bursage, and joshua trees dominate the sandy flats.

The road runs north between limestone mountains on the right and red sandstone crags on the left.

The road eventually hits a fence that runs east-west across the valley, and the road bends left, quickly arriving at the turnabout at the end of the road (Site 1636).

Arriving at the end of the road, the old, now-closed road continues north and leads to the sand dunes, which extend from about 0.2 to 0.7 miles distant. Opposite the trailhead, there is plenty of space to set up a low-impact campsite without trampling the vegetation.

Mud Wash Dunes Road Mud Wash Dunes Road
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Arriving at the end of the road (view W)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Arriving at the end of the road (view W)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
End of Mud Wash Dunes Road (view N; afternoon colors)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
End of Mud Wash Dunes Road (view N; storm colors)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
End of Mud Wash Dunes Road (view N; morning colors)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Campsite at end of Mud Wash Dunes Road (view W)

Camping at Mud Wash Dunes Road

Mud Wash Dunes Road
Low-impact campsite (view E)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Milky Way and glow from Las Vegas (view SW)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Milky Way and glow from Las Vegas (view S)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Milky Way (view up)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Joshua tree, stars, and glow from Mesquite (view N)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Stars and sandstone
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Milky Way (view up)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Full moon colors (view W)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Full moon colors (view NW)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Full moon colors (view NW)

Mud Wash Dunes Road Southbound

Mud Wash Dunes Road Mud Wash Dunes Road
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Campsite along Mud Wash Dunes Road (view S)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Campsite along Mud Wash Dunes Road (view S)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
Returning to Mud Wash Road (view S)
Mud Wash Dunes Road
more to come ...

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

Wpt. Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
1677 Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash Dunes Rd 36.43976 114.19871 2,001 0.00 0.00 Yes
1636 Mud Wash Dunes Road end 36.44578 114.19883 2,044 0.52 0.52 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161231

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