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Mud Wash Shortcut Road - Eastbound
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte
Mud Wash Shortcut Road
Gold Butte Byway Shortcut Road
Red Bluff Spring Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Rd-North (view SE)

Overview

Mud Wash Shortcut Road is located out in Gold Butte, northeast of Las Vegas. This road runs 1.9 miles between Red Bluff Spring Road and Mud Wash Road, both of which are segments of the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway.

Eastbound, the road leaves Red Bluff Spring Road, runs over colorful mud hill with some steep and narrow parts, then runs atop cliffs overlooking Mud Wash. At the far end, the road winds steeply down into Mud Wash to connect with Mud Wash Road. Although just a connector, this road offers grand scenery and hosts two small campsites.

If driving the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway or the Sand Wash--Mud Wash Loop, this shortcut saves 3.5 miles (1.9 vs. 5.5 miles).

Link to road map.

Gold Butte Byway Shortcut Road
Red Bluff Spring Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Rd-South (view SE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about being in the desert, ... this road is in fair condition for 2WD-HC vehicles eastbound, but 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.

Eastbound, the road is suitable for carefully driven 2WD-HC vehicles, but narrow 4WD vehicles will find it a bit easier because of one steep, narrow section with quite a drop off. Westbound, the road is safer in a 4WD vehicle.

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 Shortcut Road
Red Bluff Spring Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Rd-South (view NW)

Getting to the Eastbound Roadhead

Mud Wash Shortcut Road is located out in Gold Butte, about 3 hours northeast of Las Vegas. Eastbound, Mud Wash Shortcut Road starts from Red Bluff Spring Road, which itself connects Gold Butte Road with Mud Wash Road.

Mud Wash Shortcut Road via Mud Wash Road (Northbound)

From Whitney Pocket, continue south on Gold Butte Road 3.9 miles to Mud Wash North Road. Turn right and continue 3.2 miles southwest to Mud Wash Road. Stay right and continue generally west for 5.1 miles to Red Bluff Spring Road. Drive south on Red Bluff Spring Road 1.9 miles to Mud Wash Shortcut Road, on the left.

Mud Wash Shortcut Road via Gold Butte Road (Southbound)

From Whitney Pocket, continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 20.2 miles to Red Bluff Spring Road. Turn right and drive north on Red Bluff Spring Road 12.7 miles to Mud Wash Shortcut Road, on the right.

Mud Wash Shortcut Road
Red Bluff Spring Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Rd-North (view NW)

The Road

From Red Bluff Spring Road southbound (Table 1, Site 1625), Mud Wash Shortcut Road-South runs northeast about 150 yards to connect with Mud Wash Shortcut Road-North. Alternatively, from Red Bluff Spring Road northbound (Site 1626), Mud Wash Shortcut Road-North runs east about 120 yards to connect with Mud Wash Shortcut Road-South.

Merging and continuing east across sparsely vegetated (Mojave Desert Scrub), Mud Wash Shortcut Road crosses a wash where there can be a bit of a drop into the bottom. Continuing, the road passes red cliffs on the right and climbs steeply to a highpoint. Descending the other side, the road traverses a steep hillside where the road is washing away and provides some interesting driving on sharp curves and through narrow gaps.

The road eventually runs on desert flats along the top of cliffs overlooking Mud Wash. Approaching a side canyon, the road turns abruptly right and descends steeply into Mud Wash and ends at a T-intersection (Site 1678) with Mud Wash Road.

Turn right towards Whitney Pocket or left towards Little Finland.

Southbound Red Bluff Spring Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Road-South

Mud Wash Shortcut Road
Red Bluff Spring Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Rd-South (view NW)
Gold Butte Byway Shortcut Road
Mud Wash Shortcut Rd-South (view NE from Red Bluff Spring Rd)
Gold Butte Byway Shortcut Road
Mud Wash Shortcut Road-South (view N)
Gold Butte Byway Shortcut Road
Mud Wash Shortcut Road continues to the right (view NE)

Northbound Red Bluff Spring Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Road-North

Gold Butte Byway Shortcut Road
Red Bluff Spring Road at Mud Wash Shortcut Road-North (view SE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road-North (view SE from Red Bluff Spring Road)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road-North (view SE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road continues straight (view E)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road Eastbound


Mud Wash Shortcut Road runs towards hills (view E)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road (view E)

(view NE)

(view NE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road climbing steep hill (view NE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road climbing steep hill (view NE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road climbing steep hill (view NE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road nearing the saddle (view E)

Atop saddle with view towards Mud Wash (view E)

Descending across hillside (view E)

Road curves left (view N)

Road approaching very sharp curve right (view N)

USGS benchmark placed in concrete with wooden post (view E)

USGS benchmark (view down)
Approaching very sharp curve (view N)
Sharp curve dips strongly towards outside cliff (view E)

Past sharp curve, road is washing away (view SE)

Washout creates potential tipping-over hazard (view SE)

The road eases (view SE)

Dropping towards a wash (view NE)

Crossing wash after flash flood (view NE)

Road climbs steep through gap between hills (view NE)

Climbing steeply through gap (view E)

The grade eases (view E)

Better road now runs parallel to Mud Wash (view SE)

Nice roadway (view SE)

Few rocky sections (view SE)

Few rocky sections (view SE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road approaching west campsite (view SE)

West campsite (view SW)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road approaching east campsite (view SE)

East campsite (view SW)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road approaching sharp curve right (view SE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road at sharp curve right (view SE)

Road cuts down across hillside towards wash (view SW)

Rocky spot dipping into wash (view SE)

Sandy wash (view NE)

Mud Wash Shortcut Road approaching Mud Wash Road (view NE)
Mud Wash Shortcut Road
Mud Wash Shortcut Road approaching Mud Wash Road (view NE)
Mud Wash Shortcut 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
1625 Red Bluff Spring Rd at Byway Shortcut Rd South 36.44286 114.23152 1,908 0.00 0.00 Yes
1626 Red Bluff Spring Rd at Byway Shortcut Rd North 36.44415 114.23243 1,931 . . Yes
1678 Mud Wash Rd at Mud Wash Shortcut Rd 36.43659 114.20652 1,962 1.95. 1.95 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161211

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