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Red Rock Springs and Hartman Tank
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Red Rock Springs and Hartman Tank
Red Rock Springs
Trailhead parking at the fence (view NE)

Overview

The hike to Red Rock Springs and Hartman Tank is easy, nearly level, and runs only 2 miles round-trip. The hike is unusual for this arid desert region because it runs along a stream, and while doing so, it also runs among colorful sandstone cliffs while providing the opportunity to see desert birds and other wildlife coming to drink.

Red Rock Springs often have water that flows down the wash, part of which is fenced to keep feral burros from trampling the vegetation. Hartman Tank is an area of eroded and water-sculpted red sandstone that once may have been dammed to hold water for cattle (hence the name "tank").

Link to area overview map or hiking map.

Red Rock Springs
Starting up the wash (view NE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a fairly safe area, but be careful when wet sand sticks to the bottom of your hiking boots and you scramble on the rockpiles along the wash. Please stay out of the 2.5-acre fenced area; the fence is intended to protect part of this rare and fragile desert ecosystem from trampling by burros, but trampling by people is also a concern.

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. It 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.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this hike is short, the area is remote, so be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials. Cell phones don't work here.

Red Rock Springs
Rock sill and marsh vegetation in the wash (view NE)

Getting to the Trailhead

Red Rock Springs and Hartman Tank are located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 3 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 for 3.9 miles to Mud Wash North Road.

Turn right onto Mud Wash North Road and drive southwest and downstream for 3.2 miles to Mud Wash Road. Stay right onto Mud Wash Road, continuing downstream for another 4.0 miles to Little Finland Road, on the right.

Turn onto Little Finland Road and drive east 1.0 miles to Red Rock Springs Road, on the left. Turn onto Red Rock Springs Road and drive northeast 0.16 miles to the end of the road. Park here; this is the trailhead.
Red Rock Springs
Water and marsh vegetation in the wash (view NE)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), a use-trail runs over the post-and-cable fence and up the streambed. Quickly, however, the use-trail peters out and hikers are left to walk in the wash.

Depending on the season and recent rainfall, hikers may encounter water in the wash right away (even along the access road) or farther up. If not before, at 0.40 miles out, hikers will encounter a sandstone ledge (Wpt. 02) with water flowing over the edge.

Passing the sandstone ledge is easier on the right side (south), and upon gaining the top, a fence across the wash becomes evident. This is the lower edge of about 2.5 acres that is fenced to protect the fragile desert marsh from trampling by burros.

Hikers can pass the fenced area on either side, but it is somewhat more scenic to cross the wash to the northwest side, climb the embankment, and walk along the outside of the fence with an elevated position above the wash.

Red Rock Springs
Water and marsh vegetation in the wash (view NE)

Beyond the fence, hikers can drop back into the wash and walk up the wet streambed. At about 0.73 miles out, hikers pass the official location of Red Rock Springs (Wpt. 03), and while the exact spot is not apparent, the wash dries above this area.

Continuing up the wash, hikers pass a pair of cottonwood trees (Wpt. 04; 0.96 miles out), indicating that water is still present in the wash, not too far below the surface.

A short bit farther up the wash, hikers encounter a red sandstone outcrop that blocks the wash. This is Hartman Tank (Wpt. 05), and although there is no water here now, the site is scenic and well sculpted by floodwaters that occasionally careen down the wash.

This is a good place to wander about, sit and think, eat a little lunch, wander a bit farther up the wash, and contemplate the forces of nature (wind and water) that created such a site.

When ready, follow your footprints in the damp sand back to the trailhead. Consider walking on the other side of the fenced area for a slightly different view.

Red Rock Springs
Flowing water and red sandstone outcrops (view NE)
Red Rock Springs
Water running over an edge (view NE)
Red Rock Springs
Close-up of a mini-waterfall (view NE)
Red Rock Springs
Stream flowing across red sandstone (view SE)
Red Rock Springs
Sandstone ledge with waterfall (view SE)
Red Rock Springs
Sandstone ledge with waterfall (view NE)
Red Rock Springs
Sandstone ledge with waterfall (view NE)
Red Rock Springs
Atop sandstone ledge with waterfall (view N)
Red Rock Springs
From atop sandstone ledge, the fence comes into view (view N)
Red Rock Springs
Sandstone ledge (view SW, downstream, from near fence (view N)
Red Rock Springs
Streambed below fence (view NE)
Red Rock Springs
Streambed above fence (view NE from fenceline)
Red Rock Springs
Elevated view from outside the fenced area (view E)
Red Rock Springs
Nearing end of fenced area (view NE)
Red Rock Springs
Beyond fence (view NE from edge of embankment)
Red Rock Springs
Streambed above fence (view NE)
Red Rock Springs
Streambed and fence (view SW looking into protected area)
Red Rock Springs
Continuing up streambed above fence (view NE)
Red Rock Springs Red Rock Springs
Hartman Tank Hartman Tank
Hartman Tank
Cottonwood trees and damp soils (view N)
Hartman Tank
Upper cottonwood tree and red sandstone outcrops (view N)
Hartman Tank
Upper cottonwood tree and dry streambed (view N)
Hartman Tank
Dry streambed (view N)
Hartman Tank
Hartman Tank: a red sandstone outcrop spans wash (view N)
Hartman Tank
Approaching Hartman Tank (view N)
Hartman Tank
Looking down into Hartman Tank (view N)
Hartman Tank
Looking up out of Hartman Tank (view N from the pit)
Hartman Tank
Above Hartman Tank (view S into the upper tank area)
Hartman Tank
Hartman Tank (view SW into upper tank area)
Hartman Tank
Continuing up wash above Hartman Tank (view N)
Hartman Tank
Continuing up wash above Hartman Tank (view N)
Hartman Tank
Continuing up wash above Hartman Tank (view N)
Hartman Tank
Continuing up wash above Hartman Tank (view N)

Returning down the Wash

Hartman Tank
Hartman Tank (view SW into upper tank area)
Hartman Tank
Hartman Tank (view SW into main pit)
Hartman Tank
Departing Hartman Tank are (view SW)
Hartman Tank
Returning past the cottonwood trees (view S)
Hartman Tank
Birdcage Evening Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)
Red Rock Springs
Pond in the wash above the fenced area (view SW)
Red Rock Springs
Upper end of the fenced area (view SW)
Red Rock Springs
Looking into the fenced area from northwest side (view SW)

Table 1. Highway Coordinates and Distances based on GPS Data (NAD27). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Red Rock Springs Trailhead 749227 4038249 1,774 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Red Rock Springs, Lower 749785 4038269 1,818 0.40 0.40 GPS
03 Red Rock Springs, Upper 750110 4038574 1,883 0.33 0.73 GPS
04 Cottonwood Trees 750226 4038888 1,911 0.23 0.96 GPS
05 Hartman Tank 750245 4039051 1,938 0.11 1.07 GPS
01 Red Rock Springs Trailhead 749227 4038249 1,774 1.07 2.14 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 151102

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