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Pakoon Road
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road
Arizona Road at Pakoon Road (view SE)

Overview

Pakoon Road (County Road 111) runs from a three-way intersection with Arizona Road and Lime Kiln Road (County Road 101) southeast into the wild and remote Arizona Strip country of Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument, a vast land of towering cliffs, broad valleys, and grand solitude.

Generally heading south, the road descends into Pakoon Valley and follows it southward passing Pakoon Spring, proper, a striking but oddly named volcanic butte (Negrohead) that probably was renamed from something even less appropriate, and Burro Spring, to eventually arrive at a triangular intersection with Grand Wash Road (County Road 113).

At Grand Wash Road, drivers can continue south towards Grand Wash Bay (now a mud flat) or turn northwest and return to Gold Butte in Nevada via St. Thomas Gap Road.

Link to map.

Pakoon Road
Road sign at Arizona Road - Pakoon Road intersection (view SE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ... this road is one of the main, maintained dirt roads in the region, and as such, is relatively straight with gentle curves and a smooth surface. Near Burro Spring, there are two sharp and unexpected switchback curves.

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 two. Cell phones don't work.

While visiting the area, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this area is remote, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Pakoon Road
Cattle guard (view SE)

Getting to the Roadhead

Pakoon Road is located about 2-1/2 hours east of Las Vegas, in the wild, remote, and scenic Gold Butte south of the town of Mesquite.

From Las Vegas, drive out to Gold Butte. Drive south 21 miles on the paved Gold Butte Road to Whitney Pocket at the end of the pavement. About 100 yards past the pavement, turn left onto Arizona Road and drive east towards the mountains. Drive 4.3 miles to Whitney Pass (the highest point), then continue down the other side another 0.8 miles (5.1 miles total) to a signed fork in the road.

At the fork, County Road 101 bends left towards Wolf Hole Valley (39 miles) and St. George, UT (70 miles), while Pakoon Road (County Road 111) stays right towards Grand Wash Bay (25 miles).

Pakoon RoadNay Ranch buildings (view NE)

The Road

From Arizona Road (Table 1, Site 1659), Pakoon Road stays right towards Grand Wash Bay. Shortly, the road crosses a fenceline at a cattle guard and buildings come into view ahead on the left.

The buildings are headquarters of the Nay Ranch. The road crosses the ranch, which is about 180 acres of private land, a fact made abundantly clear by the plethora of "Keep Out" and "No Trespassing" signs. I understand that the ranch formerly was the Whitney Ranch, from which Whitney Pass and Whitney Pocket were named, but it is now the Nay Ranch, as stated on a nice ranch gate ahead on the left. There is also a family cemetery along the road, on a hilltop overlooking the ranch.

If someone were to have an emergency, I'm sure the families here would be happy to help, but otherwise please respect their property rights and solitude.

Pakoon Road
Family cemetery (view NE)

Beyond the main Nay Ranch gate (0.5 miles out), Pakoon Road continues southeast and shortly (0.6 miles out) passes another gate on the left marked with No Trespassing signs. This is the end of the private property.

At about 0.9 miles out, the road crosses a cattle guard (Site 1761) and enters Arizona. Signs announce the state line, entry into Grand Canyon -- Parashant National Monument, and roadway warning signs, but not directional or mileage signs.

Continuing southeast, the road runs fairly smooth and fairly straight towards the bottom of the valley. When the road appears ready to run into the side of a ridge, it abruptly bends left to run around the north end of the ridge.

As the road rounds the toe of the ridge, it passes an intersection (5.3 miles out) with a lesser road (Road 1634) to the left. This road doesn't look like much, but judging from aerial photos, it seems to run 5-6 miles and could be used to make a big loop around the Nay Ranch.

Pakoon Road
One of several private property signs (view NE)

Pakoon Road, now marked County Road 111, continues to bend around the toe of the ridge, resumes a southerly direction, and at 5.5 miles out crosses another cattle guard.

At 7.6 miles out, Pakoon Road passes a minor side road to the left. This road runs a short distance to an old corral, then continues east across the hills. The corral is visible from the main road just ahead.

At 7.9 miles out, Pakoon Road crosses yet another cattle guard and shortly winds down into the bottom of the canyon to follow Pakoon Wash. The road here is subject to washout as the road dips into and out of the wash, and sometimes simply runs down the wash, but the roadbed is firm, so deep sand should not be a problem. At about 9.5 miles out, the road again dips into Pakoon Wash, but this time runs more in the wash and is more subject to washouts.

At about 10.4 miles out, the road bends left around the corner of a mud ridge, exits the wash, and runs more to the east.

Pakoon Road
Main Nay Ranch gate (view NE)

At 10.7 miles out, the road forks more-or-less equally (Site 1757). Here, the left runs out to the historic site of Pakoon Ranch. The ranch buildings are gone and Monument personnel continue working to rehabilitate the area, mainly trying to eradicate non-native invasive species and restore the wetlands for the benefit of wildlife and migratory birds. Without driving in, trees and other vegetation at Pakoon Spring are visible from the main road a short ways south.

Passing a low ridge on the left, the road forks equally (11.3 miles out). The main road stays right, but both roads merge in about 0.3 miles.

At about 12 miles out, looking north up the valley, an interesting volcanic butte stands isolated against the skyline. This feature, named Negrohead, includes columns of basalt that look like Devil's Postpile in California. This butte is a volcanic neck - the remains of a conduit that fed a volcano.

Continuing south, the road winds down into another wash area subject to washout, but generally runs on higher ground. The road winds around an old ranching water tank that comes into view on the left; this is Allan Well.

Pakoon Road
Gate and last of the private property signs (view N)

Shortly thereafter, the road dips through a wash, bends left, and arrives at another cattle guard (Site 1758; 13.3 miles out). Just past the fence, the road forks at a signed intersection. To the left, Road 1007 runs northeast to Wolf Hole and points east, while Pakoon Road bends right towards Grand Wash Bay. Unexpectedly, the sign also indicates that staying right leads to Mesquite, NV. In this case, drivers can continue south before looping back through Gold Butte heading north to Mesquite.

Staying right, a road quickly merges from the left. This is the other arm of a big triangular signed intersection, and the main road stays right again.

By this point, Pakoon Wash has merged with Cottonwood Wash, and the road continues south through Cottonwood Valley until crossing Cottonwood Wash (again, subject to washout) to Burro Spring on the far side at the base of mud cliffs. Burrow Spring (14.6 miles out) still has a bit of water (at least in the wet season), but the main feature is an historic wooden watering trough visible from the roadway.

Pakoon RoadWhile not private property, the left side of the road is fenced

Beyond Burro Spring, the road cuts up and across the mud hillside. Somewhat surprisingly, at the top of the cliffs, the road cuts hard to the right, then equally hard back to the left in a tight switchback on the upper desert flats.

Beyond there, the road runs gently south across high, scenic country. The road passes a cattle guard (15.3 miles out) and continues south. A broad canyon becomes visible on the right, and eventually the road runs down a ridge to cross the wash, which is definitely subject to washouts.

Climbing out the other side of the wash, the road climbs somewhat steeply to desert flats above, again with grand views out over this big country.

The next intersection is hinted at when drivers pass a Primitive Road sign set for drivers heading the other way, although the real hint is a directional sign at what appears to be the top of a cliff.

Pakoon Road
State line cattle guard (view SE; 0.9 miles out)

Heading south for the first time, this intersection can be a bit confusing. The sign indicates that Mesquite (47 miles) is to the right and Grand Wash Bay is to the left (7 miles), and indeed, a bit of a road runs left along the edge of the cliff. However, drivers need to continue south, tipping over the edge of the cliff, before the left turn towards Grand Wash Bay comes into view.

Just over the edge, Grand Wash Bay Road (County Road 113) forks left while Pakoon Road stays right hugging the side of the cliff. Eventually Pakoon Road drops into Black Wash, which like others, is subject to washouts, and reaches a road intersection (Site 1759).

Here, St. Thomas Gap Road runs right, up the sandy Black Wash, into Nevada on the way back towards Mesquite. To the left, Grand Wash Bay Road (County Road 113) runs down the wash, as it becomes apparent that this is yet another big triangular intersection.

This is no destination, so drivers need to decide: left or right -- which adventure comes next?

Pakoon Road
State line road signs (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Grand Canyon -- Parashant National Monument sign (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Approaching Primitive Road warning sign (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Primitive Road warning sign (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Approaching last of the warning signs (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Regional Alert warning sign (view SE)
Pakoon RoadRecently graded road (view SE) Pakoon Road
Broad, open desert (view SE)
Pakoon Road Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road
Approaching the ridge, the road bends left (view E)
Pakoon Road
Running around the end of the ridge (view NE)
Pakoon Road Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road
Approaching Road 1634 (view NE)
Pakoon Road
Road 1634 (view NE; 5.3 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Continuing around the toe of the ridge (view E)
Pakoon Road
Designated road marker (County Road 111; view E)
Pakoon Road
Cattle guard (view SE; 5.5 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Descending towards Pakoon Wash (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Approaching Pakoon Wash (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Crossing Pakoon Wash (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Good road and grand, open scenery (view S)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road at Road 1632 (view SE; 7.6 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Road 1632 (view E)
Pakoon Road
Old corral down in the wash (view E from Pakoon Road)
Pakoon Road
Cattle guard (view SE; 7.9 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Descending into Pakoon Wash (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Even on a graded road, watch for road hazards (view S)
Pakoon Road
Minor washout at an area subject to major washouts (view S)
Pakoon Road
Broad, open canyon (view S)
Pakoon Road
The one other vehicle out here today (view S)
Pakoon Road
Descending back into Pakoon Wash (view S)
Pakoon Road
Entering Pakoon Wash (view S)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Wash (view S)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Wash (view S)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Wash (view S)
Pakoon Road
Nice road running parallel to Pakoon Wash (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Spring in the distance (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road at Pakoon Spring Road (view SE; 10.7 miles out)
Pakoon Spring
Gate at end of Pakoon Spring Road (view SE)
Pakoon Spring
Bird habitat recovering at Pakoon Spring (view E)
Pakoon Spring
Pakoon Spring area (view SE from up on a hill)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Spring area (view E from Pakoon Road)
Pakoon Road
Beyond Pakoon Spring, another triangular intersection (11.3 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Other end of the triangular intersection (11.6 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Beyond Pakoon Spring area (view S)
Pakoon Road
Negrohead Butte: the core or a volcano (view E from road)
Pakoon Road
Negrohead Butte: a place-name that needs to change
Pakoon Road
Following along Pakoon Wash (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Dropping into Pakoon Wash one last time (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Last look back at the core or a volcano (view NE from road)
Pakoon Road
Near the confluence of Pakoon and Cottonwood Washes (view S)
Pakoon Road
Entering Cottonwood Wash (view S)
Pakoon Road
Crossing Cottonwood Wash at a narrow spot (view S)
Pakoon Road
Approaching road intersection (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Road intersection sign (view E)
Pakoon Road
Cattle guard (view E; 13.3 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Sign at left fork (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Sign at left fork (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Sign at left fork (view SE)
Pakoon Road
Sign at right fork: route marker: County Road 111 (view S)
Pakoon Road
Top of the route marker (view S)
Sign at left fork (view SE)
Looking back at fork in the road (view NW)
Pakoon Road
Approaching far side of triangular intersection (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Looking back at intersection (view N)
Pakoon Road
Looking back at directional sign (view N)
Pakoon Road
Cattle guard (view SW; 13.5 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Grand open Cottonwood Valley (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Cottonwood Valley (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Approaching Cottonwood Wash (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Cottonwood Wash is subject to major washouts (view W)
Pakoon Road
Burro Spring historic watering trough (view NW; 14.5 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road climbs bank behind Burro Spring (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road climbs bank above Burro Spring (view S)
Pakoon Road
Between first and second sharp curves (view NW)
Pakoon Road
Grand open desert scenery (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Cattle guard (view SW; 15.3 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Grand open desert scenery (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Grand open desert scenery (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Road runs along top of cliff (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Road drops towards North Fork of Black Wash (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Crossing North Fork of Black Wash (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Road climbs steeply beyond North Fork of Black Wash (view W)
Pakoon Road
Road climbs steeply beyond North Fork of Black Wash (view W)
Pakoon Road
Grand open desert scenery (view W)
Pakoon Road
Approaching backside of Primitive Road sign (view S)
Pakoon Road
Looking back at Primitive Road sign (view S)
Pakoon Road
Road intersection sign (view S; 17.7 miles out)
Approaching backside of Primitive Road sign (view S)
Looking back from intersection towards Primitive Road sign (view N)
Pakoon Road
Road intersection signs (view S)
Pakoon Road
Road intersection sign at edge of cliff (view S)
Pakoon Road
Road intersection sign (view SW)
Pakoon Road
Over the edge, the road forks (view SW; 17.7 miles out)
Pakoon Road
Grand Wash Road (Rd 113; view S from Pakoon Road)
Pakoon Road
Grand Wash Road sign (Rd 113; view S from Pakoon Road)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road hugs the hillside (view W)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Road hugs the hillside dropping into Black Wash (view NW)
Pakoon Road
Pakoon Rd at Grand Wash -- St. Thomas Rd (view W; 17.9 miles out)
More to come
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
1659 Arizona Rd at Fork 36.52592 114.05843 4,453 0.00 00.0 Yes
1761 Pakoon Rd at State Line Cattle Guard 36.51807 114.04822 4,153 0.86 00.9 Yes
1757 Pakoon Rd at Pakoon Spring Rd 36.41991 113.96447 2,359 9.84 10.7 Yes
1758 Pakoon Rd at Side Road 36.38635 113.95409 2,063 2.66 13.4 Yes
1759 Pakoon Rd at St Thomas Gap Rd 36.34606 114.00660 1,827 4.55 17.9 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170825

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