Rising before the sun is something I relish while exploring. Making a fire, heating water for coffee and enjoying the quiet coolness of a new day, it just doesn’t get much better.
Mike has traveled with me on several occasions and knows I like to get an early start. So camp was broke, vehicles loaded and we were on our way before 8 am. We exited the Little Finland valley and instead of turning left and making our way back to the Gold Butte Rd the way we came, we took the less traveled route which would eventually end at the Gold Butte Townsite.
The main Gold Butte road is a well-traveled graded super highway compared to most the other roads in the Nevada Strip. We’ll travel this section on our way out days later when we head over to the Arizona Strip. But for now it’s the two-track, occasionally rough road.
This route takes you through the middle of the 2005 Tramp and Forks fire that burned over 71,000 acres. From the looks of the amount of vegetation outside the burn zone it had to be a fire that was spread by very high winds. There just isn’t that much vegetation to keep a fire going otherwise.
It’s also the land of the giant slugs which show themselves all over the hillsides.
Gold butte town site has little to show for itself. One could easily drive by it with notice. It does lay at a major intersection of several roads. It also is the ending of the graded dirt section of the Gold Butte Rd and the beginning of the less maintained and less traveled road choices.
The site does have a few pieced of machinery and two more recent and permanent residents. Not sure who these folks were and why the earthly remains were parked here but maybe someone can enlighten me.
The mountain peak behind the town site is the name sake of the monument, Gold Butte itself. Our plans were to turn south and head toward Catsclaw wash and Lakeside bay, but I had included plenty of time for side rad exploring so we headed west around Gold Butte mountain on it southern side. After a few miles we came across an odd, which from a distance looked like a weather worn structure but upon closer view we found that is was an old moving van type trailer. At one time it house equipment and even had electrical hookups. I was intrigued by the decorative art deco fins on the top front of the trailer.
So many roads out here to explore but now was the time to work our way back and head south as we planned.
On a prior trip, I traveled out in my Sportsmobile to Catsclaw wash. The road goes right out to several possible campsites on the Virgin River arm of Lake Mead. There are places to fish, swim and canoe/Kayak.
On this trip I will take the left hand road following the Overton Arm Jeep trail, which should end at Lakeside bay. Sounds’ inviting, but unfortunately, at road end it was rather disappointing. There is no level ground for camping and the waters of Lake Mead are a good 150 yards away down a steep hill. There is however one redeeming item of this trail and that would be the Lakeside mine. At the time of our visit the trail leading to the mine was marked by a newer sign about a mile from road end before the barbwire fence running next to the road began.
Lakeside mine was after copper, must have been a fairly profitable operation to be so remote. About ½ way to the actual mine there are several building in fair shape in a canyon. One is an interesting “5 seater” outhouse. Plenty of “junk” around to look at some of which would indicate that the mine was operating up into the 1960’s. The road up to the mine is narrow and steep and might be a bit of a challenge for a full size vehicle.
After exploring the mine we retraced our route back toward Gold Butte town site and turned right and started up the climb to the Scalon Ferry crossing and Jumbo Pass.
After our brief visit to Lakeside Mine we back tracked and turned right on the road leading toward Scanlon Ferry. All I could find in my search about this road was this brief sentence.
“Mike Scanlon's Ferry, started in 1881, which was later bought by Tom Gregg, crossed the Colorado River at the area now known as Greggs Hideout.”
So there you have it, you know as much as I do, if anyone happened to find out more please let me know.
The narrow, sometimes very narrow, trail up to the divided before descending to what is left of the old ferry crossing is rather unremarkable. It would appear that as of lately it is rarely driven. After traveling a short distance on it all visual signs of prior vehicular traffic diminished o the point that at time it was early to believe you were just following an old wash and not a road as indicated on most maps.
Those with a desire to maintain a nice paint job would be well advised to avoid this trail. After several miles the trail does finally open up at the divide with some nice views either direction.
If the trail up would be rated on the more difficult side of the scale for its narrowness and crudeness, the trail down the other side would also be rated initially as “difficult” for the shelf road drop off and its steep loose rock surface. My YouTube search after the trip found this interesting video of some guy who listed it on his channel as one of the “most” dangerous roads, I think that was a bit of a stretch.