15 Off-Road Trails Near Las Vegas That You Must Try!

Known for gambling, entertainment, and sex, Las Vegas gained fame as the place where you can do all things. But if casinos and parties are not your things or you want to do something new while you’re in the “Sin City,” you’re in luck!

So, do you want to go off-roading on your next trip to Las Vegas? If so, you’ll need to secure a permit for several trails featured on this list. Also, a 4WD car is not required as some trails are very easy to tackle. But for the most difficult trails, you’ll need a 4WD vehicle. Aside from the thrill that you’ll experience while driving through the trails, you will also witness breathtaking views and pass by historic landmarks along the way.

To spice up your next trip to Las Vegas, here are 15 trails that you can head to:

Alamo Road

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: 30.5 miles

Trail Time: 2-3 hours

Terrain: Dirt and rock

Nice trail drives through allowing the driver to experience the desert scenery located in the National Desert Wildlife Refuge, just outside of Las Vegas. There are multiple opportunities to explore other trails going into the canyons and mountains, making this a great area for a weekend getaway. Because there is unrestricted camping in the area, it is a great place for campers to get to higher elevations to decrease/escape some of the heat from the Vegas Valley.

Bitter Springs Back Country Byway

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 28 miles

Trail Time: 3-4 hours

Terrain: Rocky and undulated road surface

The Bitter Springs Back Country Byway is located approximately 40 miles east of Las Vegas, south of Interstate 15 and West of the Valley of Fire state park. The byway connects Interstate 15 to North shore road that surrounds Lake Mead by following old mining roads and washes through the Muddy Mountains. A major site to be seen is the multicolored sandstone formations known as the Buffington Pockets. Tracks from the Old Spanish Trail(later known as the Mormon trail), a path created by Spanish explorers in 1776 and later by settlers and miners heading west, can be seen crossing the trail. This area has attracted people throughout time due to the springs and water holes. Evidence of this can be seen in the petroglyphs, pictographs, rock art, and anthill shaped roasting pits. Settlement in the area created mining ventures. Old borax mines can be seen, where sandstone was quarried. There is plenty of extraordinary views and landscapes to be seen along the byway. Wildlife in the area includes wild horses and bighorn sheep. Bring your camera, sunscreen and plenty of water. Nearby is the Valley of Fire state park that has its scenic views, campgrounds, and facilities.

Nelson Goldmine Trail

Difficulty: Hard

Trail Length: 10.8 miles

Trail Time: 2 hours

Terrain: Rock, undulated road surface, and deep sand

Nelson Goldmine Trail is an off-road trail that features great scenic views, multiple rock obstacles, abandoned mining equipment, and some murderous history.

The area known as Nelson, Nevada was originally called Eldorado in 1775 by the Spaniards who made the original discoveries of gold in the area that is now Eldorado Canyon. The town was the site of one of the first major gold strikes in Nevada and one of the biggest mining booms in state history. Gold and silver were discovered here around 1859. The rush to the canyon began in 1861, several mining camps were established in the canyon and a steamboat landing at the mouth of the canyon on the Colorado River which was named Colorado City.

Among the early mines established was the notorious Techatticup Mine in the middle of the canyon. Management and labor disputes and disagreements over ownership resulted in wanton killings so frequent as to be routine and ordinary. Despite the sinister reputation of the mine, it along with others in the town produced several million dollars in gold, silver, copper, and lead. The mines in the canyon were active from about 1858 until 1945.

The community called Nelson was named after Charles Nelson, a camp leader who was slain in his home along with four other people in 1897 by a renegade Indian.

Nelson Roller Coaster

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 10.4 miles

Trail Time: 1-2 hours

Terrain: Rocky and undulated road surface

Nelson Roller Coaster, located just outside of Nelson, is an off-road trail that features great scenic views and rolling hills with steep climbs and descents. One of the hills has a 40-degree climb that is approximately 300 feet long. If you are looking for a trail that is both exciting and relaxing, then this is the one. The first part of the trail is relaxing with scenic views of the surrounding desert and mountains that gradually increase in elevation and become more challenging.

The area known as Nelson, Nevada was originally called Eldorado in 1775 by the Spaniards who made the original discoveries of gold in the area that is now Eldorado Canyon. The town was the site of one of the first major gold strikes in Nevada and one of the biggest mining booms in state history.

Rocky Gap/Potato Ridge Road 

Difficulty: Hard

Trail Length: 8.4 miles

Trail Time: 2-3 hours

Terrain: Rock, deep sand, and undulated road surface

Rocky Gap (also known as Potato Ridge), a favorite of local off-roaders, is located in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area that starts just off of Scenic Loop Drive and continues to Lovell Canyon Road. This can be a challenging off-road trail depending on the season and the vehicle driven. There are bypasses for all of the obstacles except for one particularly rocky wash, which gives the trail its name. There is beautiful scenery to be seen during the drive. Evergreens, canyon and rocky landscapes are just some of the views.

Wheeler Pass

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 28 miles

Trail Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Terrain: Rocky and undulated road surface

Wheeler Pass is located approximately 50 miles Northwest of Las Vegas in the Spring Mountain National Recreation area. Wheeler Pass Road was previously known as the road from Bennett’s Ranch to Indian Creek. Bennett’s Ranch was settled in 1875 in the Pahrump Valley. Indian Creek was a ranch owned by a small group of Indians. Now known as Indian Springs. Its history includes being a station on the Tonopah and Las Vegas railroad. Currently, it is part of the Creech Air Force base.

As you travel towards the trailhead, you may encounter wild horses on the roads and the surrounding areas.

On the trail, travelers will pass the Charcoal kilns. The Tecopa Charcoal Ovens in Wheeler Wash were built in 1875 by Nehemiah (“Red”) Clarke. Per information on a sign posted at the site in the past: These beehive-shaped structures are the remains of three charcoal making kilns and one Lime Kiln built for Jonas Osborne in 1877. He designed and built a big furnace to smelt over 20 tons of silver and lead ore each day in the boomtown of Tecopa, California in January of 1878. Forty-four men attempted to keep the furnace working by cutting and hauling the ore, and feeding and constantly repairing the furnace. It completely failed and was abandoned in the fall of 1878.

As this area of the Spring Mountains had the best and closest source of wood, the kilns were set up here and the charcoal produced was carried by horse-drawn wagons about 50 miles to the Tecopa Smelter. Evidence shows only tree limbs were cut in fuel and no extensive tree cutting was done. A single kiln has an estimated capacity of 35 cords of wood which would produce 50 bushels of charcoal, enough charcoal to produce one tone of silver-lead ore. Wood for the kilns was provided by Harsha White, who operated a sawmill in Clark Canyon, and was in partnership with Nehemiah Clarke. Unfortunately, the kilns have not been able to withstand time, weather and vandalism. The remnants can still be seen.

Golden Butte Backcountry Byway

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 28 miles

Trail Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Terrain: Dirt, rock, and undulated road surface

The Gold Butte Backcountry Byway offers a glimpse into Southern Nevada’s most beautiful landscapes and the history of the Anasazi and Paiute Indians, as well as early American Miners. The Gold Butte Backcountry Byway is built from historic mining roads and cattle trails that wind its way through the hills and washes of the Gold Butte country. You’ll enjoy some great views and plenty of opportunities to see desert wildlife, ancient petroglyphs, sinkholes and red and white sandstone formations with Lake Mead and the Muddy Mountains off to the west.

8 Mile Road (Modified) 

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: 28 miles

Trail Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Terrain: Dirt, rock, and undulated road surface

8 Mile Road(Modified) is an off-road trail located east of Las Vegas in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area(LMNRA). The LMNRA, operated by the National Park Service is located in both Nevada and Arizona. It follows the Colorado River corridor. The LMNRA includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, both reservoirs created by Hoover and Davis Dams plus their surrounding areas. Lake Mead was formed in 1935, less than a year before Hoover Dam construction was finished. In 1964, Congress approved the expanded area as the first National Recreation Area.

8 Mile Road is named for the distance from East Lake Mead Parkway to the turn off for the road.

This off-road trail makes for a great day trip for some water fun, hiking and or camping. The endpoint is a nice sandy beach area, perfect to enjoy the sunny weather and cool off in the water. Just be sure to bring your trunks, food, drinks, and some shade. The trail is an easy drive with a scenic desert landscape. There are also beautiful views of Lake Mead as you approach the end of the trail. Plenty of wildlife was observed.

Anniversary Mine Trail 

Difficulty: Hard

Trail Length: 9.9 miles

Trail Time: 1-2 hours

Terrain: Dirt, rock, and undulated road surface

Anniversary Mine Trail is located east of Las Vegas in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area(LMNRA). The LMNRA, operated by the National Park Service is located in both Nevada and Arizona. It follows the Colorado River corridor. The LMNRA includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, both reservoirs created by Hoover and Davis Dams plus their surrounding areas. Lake Mead was formed in 1935, less than a year before Hoover Dam construction was finished. In 1964, Congress approved the expanded area as the first National Recreation Area.

The Anniversary mine was started in 1921 for the production of Borax. This was refined from the colemanite deposits of the Lovell Wash and White Basin areas. The mine was closed in 1928 due to the costs of operation and competition in California. The Anniversary mine produced approximately 200,000 tones of Borate during operation.

There is an option to head further north to explore the Anniversary Narrows, the Ore Car Mine and optional hikes in the Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area.

Arrowleaf Road

Difficulty: Hard

Trail Length: 3.5 miles

Trail Time: Around 1 hour

Terrain: Dirt, rock, and undulated road surface

Arrowleaf Road, an off-road trail located in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, is a scenic drive with a hill climb/descent that is perfect for beginners to test their four-wheel-drive skills. Arrowleaf Road can be used to access the network of trails located in the area.

BM15 Road

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 5.8 miles

Trail Time: Around 1 hour

Terrain: Dirt, rock, and undulated road surface

BM15 Road is an off-road trail that is a relaxing drive through a Joshua Tree forest with views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. As you continue on the trail and begin to increase in elevation, the Joshua Trees will begin to merge with the evergreen trees. This 4×4 trail offers multiple small campsites. This is a great trail to escape the heat of Las Vegas during the summer.

Boathouse Cove Road

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 5.8 miles

Trail Time: Around 1 hour

Terrain: Dirt, rock, and undulated road surface

Boathouse Cove Road is an off-road trail located east of Las Vegas in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area(LMNRA). The LMNRA, operated by the National Park Service is located in both Nevada and Arizona. It follows the Colorado River corridor. The LMNRA includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, both reservoirs created by Hoover and Davis Dams plus their surrounding areas. Lake Mead was formed in 1935, less than a year before Hoover Dam construction was finished. In 1964, Congress approved the expanded area as the first National Recreation Area.

This off-road trail makes for a great day trip for some water fun, hiking and or camping. Just be sure to bring your trunks, food, drinks, and some shade. The trail is an easy drive with the awesome desert landscape. There are also beautiful views of Lake Mead as you approach the end of the trail. Some wildlife may be observed.

Callville Wash North Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: 1.62 miles

Trail Time: Less than 1 hour

Terrain: Dirt, rock, and undulated road surface

Callville Wash Trails are located east of Las Vegas in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area(LMNRA). It is located near the historical site of Fort Callville. The LMNRA, operated by the National Park Service is located in both Nevada and Arizona. It follows the Colorado River corridor. The LMNRA includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, both reservoirs created by Hoover and Davis Dams plus their surrounding areas. Lake Mead was formed in 1935, less than a year before Hoover Dam construction was finished. In 1964, Congress approved the expanded area as the first National Recreation Area.

Sent by Brigham Young, Anson Call established Callville, as an outpost for the Mormon settlement, in December of 1864. Callville was used as a military fort/garrison. In 1869, the garrison was shut down, due to the end of the war and lack of conflict with the Native Americans. After the railroads were completed linking the coasts, it made Callville obsolete and was abandoned. Structures could still be seen in the 1930s until the Colorado River was dammed to allow the filling of Lake Mead. Callville Bay Resort and Marina closely located to the historic site.

Colorock Quarry

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 3.6 miles

Trail Time: 2-3 hours

Terrain: Paved

Located in the Muddy Mountain Wilderness, a 100 million-acre natural preserve north of Las Vegas, Colorock Quarry trail is an easy way to access this remote and truly unique region of southern Nevada. The trail winds its way through a colorful mix of rocky mountains before stopping at the wilderness boundary and an old mining cabin. The Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area is truly a geologists paradise. It features unique geological formations made of limestone, Aztec sandstone, and fossilized dunes that all come together creating a visually dramatic landscape.

Devil’s Cove Road

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 14.17 miles

Trail Time: Around 3 hours

Terrain: Dirt and rock

Devils Cove is a relatively unknown and secluded off-road trail not terribly far from Las Vegas. It originates in the Gold Butte National Monument and travels down to what was once a cove of Lake Mead. The drive down to the cove is stimulating with fun driving that weaves in and out of washes and gives you a sampling of the five plant communities that surround the Lake. Once in the cove area, there is plenty of camping and areas to explore on foot.

Related Questions

Can You Drive A Side By Side On The Road In Nevada?

The term includes, but is not limited to the all-terrain vehicle (ATV), off-highway motorcycle (OHM), dune buggy, snowmobile, utility vehicle (UTV) also known as side-by-side, or any other vehicle used on public lands for recreation. Off-highway vehicle registration is required in Nevada; it’s the law.

What Is An OHV?

An off-highway vehicle (OHV) is a type of vehicle designed specifically for off-road use. Some can be driven on the road, but the vast majority of drivers reserve their OHVs for recreating in places that regular vehicles cannot go.

Recent Content