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Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain Road
Rockefeller Mine Road
4-way intersection (view NW)

Overview

Opal Mountain Road (NPS Road 33) is an occasionally graded dirt road that runs 5.8 miles from Rockefeller Mine Road to the western shore of Lake Mojave, following along the south edge of the Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area. The road provides sightseeing, hiking, hunting, and camping opportunities in this wild and remote part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, plus hiking and hunting opportunities inside the wilderness area.

The road is in fairly good condition (upper half graded in Sept. 2012), but rough in places. Assuming good weather, the road is suitable for experienced drivers of 2WD high-clearance vehicles, but soft patches can be found, so 4WD would be safer.

Link to map.

Rockefeller Mine RoadRockefeller Mine Rd at Opal Mountain Rd (view NE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about the desert ... Opal Mountain Road generally is a good road, but it runs out into wild and remote country. There are no services or developments of any kind. Cell phones don't work. Bring water and food, a good spare tire, a shovel, tools, a tow rope, bailing wire, and anything you might need to survive a night stuck out in the desert.

While out and about, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. This road runs along the edge of Wilderness, so pay particular attention to respecting the land. Be sure to bring the 10 Essentials. All motor vehicles, including ATVs, must be street legal.

Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain Rd (view E)

Getting to the Roadhead

This road is located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 1-1/2 hours south of Las Vegas and just east of Searchlight.

From town, drive south on Highway 95 to Searchlight (Table 1, Site 0927). In downtown Searchlight, turn left onto Cottonwood Cove Road and drive east for 7.8 miles) to Rockefeller Mine Road (Site 1320) on the left. Drive generally northward on Rockefeller Mine Road for 9.7 miles to Opal Mountain Road (Site 1323).

Opal Mountain Road

The Road

Opal Mountain Road (Site 1323) turns right and runs east and downhill towards Lake Mojave, which can't be seen from this point, but all of the land north of the road is the Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area.

The road is in reasonably good shape, but flaws in the grading will surprise drivers who have been lulled into a false sense of tranquility by the generally smooth roadway.

There are no side roads or major points of interest along the road, but the drive is quite scenic. There are nice patches of teddybear cholla, pleasing hillsides, and broad washes off to the side of the road.

Opal Mountain Road

Farther out, Opal Mountain, a large ridge of dark volcanic rock, dominates the landscape ahead and left of the road, and the deep blue waters of Lake Mojave dominate the view straight ahead.

The road winds around towards the end and eventually reaches a flat area overlooking the lake with a campfire ring. This is the end of the road (Site 1363). A track continues along a ridgeline as if it were the road leading to the water, but the ridge pinches out and drivers are forced to back up the narrow ridge without falling off either side. It is safer to park at the campsite and walk the few yards to the lake.

Opal Mountain Road Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain Road
Teddybear cholla lining the road
Opal Mountain Road
Grading flaw
Opal Mountain Road
Grading flaw
Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain ahead on left
Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain (left) and Lake Mojave (right)
Opal Mountain Road
More grading flaws
Opal Mountain Road Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain Road Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain Road Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain Road
Winding down to the edge of Lake Mojave
Opal Mountain Road
Campsite at the end of the road
Opal Mountain Road
Narrow track -- best not to drive down there
Opal Mountain Road
Lake Mojave
Opal Mountain Road Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain Road Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain Road
Opal Mountain (view N from campsite at Lake Mojave)
Opal Mountain Road
Desert landscape (view N from campsite at Lake Mojave)


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
0927 Hwy 95 at Hwy 164, Searchlight 688813 3926424 35.46519 114.91921 3,500 Yes
1320 Cottonwood Cove Rd at Rockefeller Mine Road 701103 3928204 35.47882 114.78341 1,982 GPS
1323 Rockefeller Mine Road at Opal Mtn Rd 702755 3937877 35.56564 114.76280 1,768 GPS
1363 Opal Mtn Rd at Lake Mojave 711146 3937839 35.56355 114.67029 706 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 121023

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