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Cold Creek Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Spring Mountains (Mt. Charleston)
Cold Creek RoadCold Creek road near Hwy 95

Note: October 2017. This road was fine for a carefully driven sedan.


Cold Creek Road, located on the northeast side of the Spring Mountains National Conservation Area, runs from Highway 95 to Cold Creek Town. The road begins as a regular state road serving the town of Cold Creek, but then it extends as a seldom maintained backcountry road that runs out to the Bonanza Group Camp and Bonanza Trailhead at the base of Bonanza Peak and Willow Peak. The end of the road usually is maintained sufficiently for a carefully driven sedan to reach the trailhead, but it is not plowed during winter.

As of May 31, 2016, the road is suitable for a sedan.

Link to overview map or road map.

Cold Creek Road

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ...this is a fairly easy drive, but sometimes the washboards get pretty bad and sometimes it is washed out. Always watch for crazy drivers careening around blind corners.

The road is maintained, but the exact condition depends on the time since grading and the history of rain and flooding, but it should be suitable for a carefully driven sedan.

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.

Cold Creek Road

Getting to the Roadhead

This road is located on the northeast side of the Spring Mountains National Conservation Area, about 40 minutes northwest of Las Vegas.

From town, drive north on Highway 95 to Cold Creek Road (Table 1, Site 0341). This is about 35 miles north of town and 5.5 miles past the turnoff to the Lee Canyon Ski Area. Watch for signs to the State Prisons, on the left. Turn left onto Cold Creek Road and drive west past the prisons.

Cold Creek Road

The Road

From Highway 95 the paved Cold Creek Road runs southwest up across the desert. About 3/4-miles out, the road passes a State Prison on the left and then at 2-miles out, it passes another on the right. Beyond the prisons, the road runs out into wild desert country.

At about 13.1 miles out, Cold Creek Road passes a dirt turnoff to the Cold Creek Picnic Area, which has 3 ponds and is a good place to find birds and wild horses.

Cold Creek Road
Wheeler Pass Road runs over this saddle

Continuing on the pavement, at 13.6 miles out, Cold Creek Road enters Cold Creek Town. The road winds around, and there are several side roads, but the main road always is obvious and side roads have street signs.

At the far edge of town, 14.0 miles out, the pavement ends, but the road continues. A large sign indicates that Bonanza Trailhead is farther up the dirt road. Running south, the dirt road is occasionally graded, so the road edge always is defined, and the various side roads that turn off obviously are minor roads.

Cold Creek Road
Cold Creek Road at FR 601 (Wheeler Pass Road)

The dirt Cold Creek Road runs south and up into the mountains. Early on, the road runs through an old burn area. The trees in this area are gone, but the shrubs provide feed for wild horses and elk, so keep an eye out for them.

Farther up, the road enters the forest where Pinyon Pine, Utah Juniper, and Mountain Mahogany dominate. Towards the end of the road, Ponderosa Pine and White Fir dominate.

After 2.25 miles in the dirt, the road ends in a large, parking area. The Bonanza Group Camp Trailhead is on the right immediately as the road enters the parking area (northwest corner), and the Bonanza Trail Trailhead is in the far, right corner of the parking area (southwest corner).

Cold Creek Road Cold Creek Road
Cold Creek Road
End of the pavement just past Cold Creek Town
Cold Creek Road
Road sign for Bonanza Trailhead and Group Camp
Cold Creek Road Cold Creek Road
Cold Creek Road Cold Creek Road
Cold Creek Road Cold Creek Road
Cold Creek Road
Arriving at end of Cold Creek Road
Cold Creek Road
Bonanza Trailhead parking
Cold Creek Road
Bonanza Group Camp Trailhead
Cold Creek Road
Grand view across the desert (view N while descending the road)

Table 1. Roadway Coordinates (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Roadway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
0259 Bonanza Peak Trailhead Parking 613021 4026870 36.38213 115.73994 7,513 Yes
0341 Hwy 95 at Cold Creek Rd 630061 4042819 36.52372 115.54734 2,970 Yes
0454 Cold Creek Ponds 613779 4031353 36.42245 115.73084 6,030 Yes
0671 Cold Creek Town 613277 4030600 36.41572 115.73654 6,197 Yes
1293 Cold Creek Road at Wheeler Pass Road 613882 4031229 36.42132 115.72971 6,130 GPS
1294 Cold Creek Road, End of Pavement 613155 4030121 36.41142 115.73798 6,398 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 171009

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