Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

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On our way back from Death Valley to Las Vegas, we thought, we could do a trail run nearby Vegas. A friend of us arranged a contact to a offroader from Vegas. His first question was: ‘What do you want to do ? I can tell you trails from ‘mild to wild’ in the Vegas vicinity. I told him, that moderate to difficult should be fine for us. As we came in from Pahrump, the trail question was clarified very fast. The suggestion was to do Rocky Gap Road, which connects Lovell Canyon with the Red Rock Canyon NCA nearby Las Vegas.

Our friend from Vegas said, that he did the trail this winter quite a few times and that it should not be a problem with our modified JKU Rubicon. After this I was doing some google search on this trail and most people suggested to not do this trail with a single vehicle. They also suggested to have at least one vehicle with a winch in the group (which we have on our Rubicon). I also read a lot about axle or control arm braking. But this I did not tell my wife ;-).

I again contacted the guy from Las Vegas and he decided to show up in Lovell Canyon to do the trail with us.

Rocky Gap Road is a atv trail, which follows a creek bed. There should also be a lot of traffic, but we did not see anyone on our way up. Rocky Gap Road is also a starting point for a lot of hiking routes. Depending on the time of the year, the route may be something between moderate and difficult. We have been there in march 2011. A short time before, there was a lot of rain and snow fall. So the trail would be most likely difficult. Even when the guy from Vegas called this trail ‘stocker friendly’.

After a great breakfast nearby the Armagosa opera house we went down to Pahrump, to fill up our gas. Meanwhile I was talking with our ‘guide’ and he told me, that he is not able to shop up in Lovell Canyon.

So the ramp up phase was not ideal, but we decided to try it on our own.

After leaving Pahrump on US160 towards Las Vegas and at 11S 62970X 398674X (UTM/NAD27) is an exit to the left into Lovell Canyon.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

On a paved road we were driving along Lovell Canyon. The mountains on the left side were still covered by snow in the upper regions.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

On the right side (the direction, we had to go) it seemed to be pretty much good.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

At 11S 62850X 399774X we arrived at the turn off to Rocky Gap Road.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

At 11S 62845X 399690X is an additional way up onto Rocky Gap Road, but at the beginning it is very steep upward on loose ground. The easier ‘entrance’ is the one, we have choosen (at least at the time, we were going in). On an easy gravel road we are going up, along a creek bed.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

At the beginning, the creek is pretty small and we had to cross the bed quite a view times:

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

On our ongoing way, the creek now got wider and there are coming atv tracks out of the bed itself on the main trail, which made the route a little bit more interesting.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

We were still following the creek to the left….

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

…..and arrived at Rainbow Wilderness Area:

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Here the trail got a little bit more difficult, but it was not a problem at all for our Rubicon.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Soon we should arrive at the difficult part of this trail as the trail now was located in the creek bed and the boulders got bigger:

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

From here onward, it got difficult. I went out of the jeep to check the ‘boulder conditions’.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Our friend from Vegas told us to keep out of the creek as long as possible, but in this section, everybody has to go through the creek bed.:

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

My wife now said ‘No’. She did not want to go further, as we were back to Vegas to fly out home and she did not want the jeep to be damaged on our last trip. I tried to convince her to go through this passage, as it seemed to me possible, without to big problems. The difficult is maybe 150 – 200 meters long and due to the snow/rain falls in a bad condition. And as I did not want to go further withour my spotter, I had to go back.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Here again a picture of one of the creek crossings:

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

So we turned around and drove back the way we came in. Here some impressions from along the way:

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

and one more creek crossing, which is stocker friendly…

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Finally we came down the second route into Rocky Gap Road, mentioned previous in this trip report. The picture doesn´t show the real stepness.

Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV

Back in Lovell Canyon, we went down to US160 and drove to Las Vegas.

Most of the shown picture include the gps positions, where they were taken, in the exif data.

The trail itself was at the time, we were exploring it, definitely difficult and not ‘stocker friendly’. The pictures do not show the real situation. From our point of view, this trail should not be driven alone.

For a better orientation, one can downlload a gpx file of this trip:

Tracklog: Rocky Gap Road, Las Vegas, NV (344 downloads)

And here is an overview of the area, we visited:

Christian

Christian

Hi, my name is Christian. Since years, my wife and me are spending our vacation in the southwest of the USA. At the beginning, we had been visiting a lot of national parks, but after some time, we started to explore also areas off pavement. We started with the Coyote Buttes South region and White Pocket in the Vermilion Cliffs NM. Over years, we explored almost the complete Vermilion Cliffs NM and visited also a lot of other areas in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. Especially the Moab area and the San Rafael Swell are our favorites. But also the Rubicon trail in the High Sierras was very impressing. In 2015, we had been the first time in the Kingman, AZ area. There are a lot of outstanding 4WD trails, like Sleeping Princess or Moss Wash. This type of trails has a high difficulty rating and one should have the right vehicle and good driving skills to tackle this type of trails. As I did not find any good source of information about the trails, we planned to drive at the beginning of our ‘offroad adventures’, I started to create this website. I hope, that it has some use for visitors and gives some kind of information and also inspiration.

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