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Crawdad Cove Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Boxcar Cove Road
Boxcar Cove Road
Northshore Road at Boxcar-Crawdad Road


Crawdad Cove Road runs from Northshore Road down to the edge of Lake Mead at Crawdad Cove. This is a maintained backcountry road, but with limited budgets for work crews, the sand in the wash gets a bit soft down towards the lake and there is evidence that drivers sometimes get stuck in the sand.

The road, about 2.8 miles long, runs through dry, rolling hills covered with creosote bush and then turns down a shallow canyon. Farther down, the canyon open into a sparsely-vegetated wash. There are no structures or services along the road. Despite changing water levels, boaters can find places to launch their craft, fishermen can find places to cast, and campers can find places to pitch tents.

Link to map.

Boxcar Cove Road

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this is an easy drive. Although people in sedans make it to the lake, there are sandy spots where people get stuck. The area is heavily used, so drivers stuck in the sand likely would soon find a passing truck willing to pull them out.

While out, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this road is short, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials. Be aware of the weather report and stay out of this area if rain is expected; you don’t want to get caught in a flash flood.

Boxcar Cove Road
Fork in the road (0.50 miles out)

Getting to the Roadhead

This road is located along Northshore Road in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 40 minutes east of Las Vegas via Lake Mead Blvd. From town, drive out to Lake Mead, and then out Northshore Road to mile marker 8.9 (Table 1, Site 1161). Boxcar Cove Road turns right and runs south towards the lake.

Boxcar Cove Road
Fork in the road (0.55 miles out)

At the turnoff, watch for a brown backcountry road sign giving the name of the road and a numbered yellow arrow. Approved roads in the National Recreation Area are signed with yellow arrows. The black number in the center of the arrow designates the road number. Driving on roads or trails not marked with the yellow arrow is prohibited. Driving off roads, in washes, or cross country damages the fragile desert soil and is prohibited by National Park Service regulations. Maps of approved backcountry roads are available online and at the Alan Bible Visitor Center. Despite these regulations, it appears that Park Rangers don't enforce driving laws below the old high-water lake level.

Boxcar Cove Road
Fork in the road (0.56 miles out)

The Road

From the pavement (Site 1161), the road runs south, passing a bank of trash dumpsters off to the left in a large pullout. There are no other trash cans in the area.

At about 0.55 miles out, the road forks (Site 1162). Boxcar Road turns to the left, while the road to Crawdad Cove stays to the right.

Staying to the right, the road runs out over the hills on a firm road that can be a bit washboarded. At about 0.9 miles out, the road starts into a narrow, but shallow canyon. Some parts of the road run across flat rocks that are bumpy, but not likely to damage the undercarriage of a vehicle (1.2 miles out).

Crawdad Cove Road
Starting into shallow canyon (0.96 miles out)

By about 1.5 miles out, the canyon open and the road runs down Crawdad Wash. The road in the wash is smoother, but parts are softer sand, and some drivers get stuck in the sand here. Closer to the lake, the road firms up.

Near the lake, side roads begin to diverge, but the main road is obvious. At about 2.75 miles out, the main road reaches an overlook with nice views of the lake. A number of roads spread out and lead to points sticking into the lake with boat launch site, camp sites, and fishing holes.

Crawdad Cove Road
Road runs into a shallow canyon (1.09 miles out)
Crawdad Cove Road
Rocky spot in the canyon (1.20 miles out)
Crawdad Cove Road
Soft sand (1.45 miles out)
Crawdad Cove Road
Soft sand; people get stuck here (1.98 miles out)
Crawdad Cove Road
2.53 miles out
Crawdad Cove Road
Crawdad Cove overview (2.74 miles out)
Crawdad Cove Road
Crawdad Cove (2.84 miles out)
Looking back from the 0.5-mile fork in the road (view north)

Table 2. Backroad 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
1161 Northshore at Boxcar-Crawdad Rd 698550 4003410 36.15693 114.79285 1,491 GPS
1162 Boxcar Rd -- Crawdad Rd Fork 698859 4002636 36.14989 114.78961 1,424 GPS
1164 Crawdad Cove Rd at Lake Mead 698086 3999237 36.11942 114.79906 1,139 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120426

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