Late Night Parking (view northeast)
The Black Velvet Road is a maintained backcountry road that runs north from Highway 160 (the road to Pahrump) into the wild backcountry of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area at the base of the Red Rock escarpment. The road provides access to hikes along the base of the escarpment and climbing in the Black Velvet Canyon area.
Black Velvet Road is 2.6 miles long, and runs along the east edge of the Rainbow Mountain Wilderness Area. Camping is not permitted along the road.
Link to map.
Designated Route sign
Other than the standard warnings about driving in the desert, ...this is a fairly easy drive. Under normal conditions, the road is suitable for any sedan, but sometimes the road is washed out and requires a high-clearance vehicle.
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.
Getting to the Roadhead
From town, drive out to Red Rocks. From West Charleston at the
entrance to the Scenic Loop Road (Table 1, Site 0519), continue west on
Charleston Blvd (Hwy 159) all the way past Blue Diamond town to Highway 160 (Site 0848). Turn right onto Highway 160, towards Pahrump, and drive west for 4.7 miles. Watch for a paved, right turn lane and the parking area off to the right; there is no sign on the highway. Turn right onto the Late Night Access Road (Site 1076) and drive towards the paved parking area. Stay to the right and continue past the parking areas and the vault toilet (Site 1072) to the far end of the paved parking area.
In the far east corner of the paved area (Site 1081), the graded dirt Black Velvet Road runs out into the desert generally heading northeast. Watch for a carsonite "designated route" sign.
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.
The road runs to the northeast, then bends and runs to the northwest as it passes around Mustang Hill. At 1.30 miles (Site 1082) and 1.34 miles out (Site 1083), the Black Velvet Road passes two side roads to the left. These two roads converge to become Lone Grapevine Road, which runs out to the Mud Spring #2 Trailhead and the Lone Grapevine Spring Trailhead.
Passing Lone Grapevine Road (view northwest)
Continuing northwest past the Lone Grapevine Roads, the Black Velvet Road crosses a wash, and in my experience gets rougher. The road continues to the northwest, then at 1.8 miles out, bends hard to the left and runs more to the west.
The road continues to get more and more rocky, then at about 2.5 miles from the pavement, the road passes the first of four parking area on the left. The road continues for another 0.1 miles, but only the most hardy drivers (and those in rental vehicles) will drive to the very end of the road (Site 1074). Park in any of the parking areas; this is the trailhead.
Table 1. Backroad Coordinates (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Roadway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.
||Charleston Blvd at Scenic Loop Entrance
||Hwy 160 at Blue Diamond Rd
||Late Night Parking
||Black Velvet Parking
||Late Night Parking at Black Velvet Rd
||Black Velvet Rd at Lone Grapevine Rd-1
||Black Velvet Rd at Lone Grapevine Rd-2