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St. Thomas Gap Road - Westbound
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte
St. Thomas Gap Road
St. Thomas Gap Road
Freshly graded road intersection in Grand Wash (view W)

Overview

St. Thomas Gap Road (also called Grand Wash Road) is a 9-mile graded dirt road that runs northwest-southeast between Gold Butte Road in the west and Pakoon Road in the east, which is over in Arizona in Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument.

St. Thomas Gap Road runs across open desert flats and down a sandy canyon, making the east end of the road questionable for 2WD vehicles after storms.

This road provides access to no particular destination, but it connects with roads that lead deep into the Arizona Strip on the north side of the Grand Canyon. This road is also part of the Whitney Pocket -- Pakoon Spring Loop that starts and ends at Whitney Pocket.

Link to road map.

St. Thomas Gap Road
Starting up St. Thomas Gap Road (view NW)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this road is fairly safe, but it runs into 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 main roads, but be prepared to survive alone for a day or more on side roads. Cell phones don't work.

I drove this road in my jeep using 2WD, but it was reassuring that I could lock in the hubs and continue in 4WD if necessary in the sandy east-end washes. When freshly graded, this area is fine, but it can become soft. Road conditions change; use your own good judgement.

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.

St. Thomas Gap Road
Freshly graded road (view NW)

Getting to the Roadhead

St. Thomas Gap Road is located out in Gold Butte northeast of Lake Mead, about 2-1/4 hours northeast of Las Vegas.

For the west end of the road, from Las Vegas, drive out to Gold Butte. From the end of the pavement at Whitney Pocket, continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 9.0 miles to a major fork. The intersection is signed, but the southbound sign was knocked down some years ago; only one 4x4 wooden sign post remains. At the fork, the left is St. Thomas Gap Road, which can be confirmed by driving a few yards farther south on Gold Butte Road and looking back at the road sign.

For the east end over in Arizona, drive south on Pakoon Road about 7.2 miles south of Pakoon Spring. At a major fork, stay right and drop into Grand Wash. Staying right in the wash (uphill), the road (marked County Road 113) is St. Thomas Gap Road.

St. Thomas Gap Road
Out of the sandy wash (view NW)

The Road

From Pakoon Road (Table 1, Site 1759), St. Thomas Gap Road turns up the sandy Grand Wash. The road runs in and out of the wash for about 1.7 miles before exiting the wash for good and climbing onto broad, open desert flats. At about 1.8 miles out, a cattle guard confirms that the sandy wash is finished.

Traversing open desert flats, the road encounters another cattle guard at 3.5 miles out. This is the Arizona-Nevada state line (Site 1760), which is marked with a Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument entrance sign, primitive road caution signs, a directional sign, and an environmental sign.

Now in Nevada, the road continues northwest across desert flats. At about 7.3 miles out, the road forks. Either fork is fine, as they merge only a few hundred yards ahead.

Running across low hills, the road ends at an intersection with Gold Butte Road (Site 0796), 9 miles out.

St. Thomas Gap Road
Back in the sandy wash (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Dropping back into the sandy wash (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Back in the sandy wash (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap RoadCattle guard at 1.8 miles out (view N)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Wide open desert flats (view N towards Virgin Peak)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Nice road and undulating terrain (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Dipping through a major wash (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Backside of primitive road caution signs at state line (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Cattle guard at Arizona-Nevada state line (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Directional sign at state line (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Directional sign (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Approaching Area of Critical Environmental Concern sign (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Watch for desert tortoise crossing the road!
St. Thomas Gap Road
Grand, open desert flats (view W towards Tramp Ridge)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Tall creosote bushes (view N towards Virgin Peak)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Desert flats (view W towards Tramp Ridge)
St. Thomas Gap Road St. Thomas Gap Road
St. Thomas Gap Road St. Thomas Gap Road
St. Thomas Gap Road
Approaching side road to Greasewood Basin (view W)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Road forks ahead: left is gentle, right is steep
St. Thomas Gap RoadSteep, right fork St. Thomas Gap Road
Top of the ridge (view W)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Red soils in mid-day light (view W)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Red soils in afternoon light (view W)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Wide open road (view W)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Grand scenery (Mud Hills; view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Grand scenery (Mud Hills; view N)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Gently rolling terrain (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Gently rolling terrain (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Approaching directional sign (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
Directional sign near road intersection (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap RoadApproaching fork for triangle intersection (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
St. Thomas Gap Road at Gold Butte Road (view NW)
St. Thomas Gap Road
St. Thomas Gap Road at Gold Butte Road (view NW)

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) Verified
1759 St. Thomas Gap Rd at Pakoon Rd 36.34606 114.00660 1,827 0.00 0.00 Yes
1760 St Thomas Gap Rd at State Line 36.38133 114.04542 2,206 3.50 3.50 Yes
0796 Gold Butte Rd at St Thomas Gap Rd 36.41359 114.12277 2,427 5.50 9.00 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161119

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