Wheeler Pass

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Wheeler Pass
overview of trail
Trail in Google Maps
creator: Tim France (nvprospector)
Dates: October 04, 2010
Distance: 40.80 Miles
Trail time: 4 hours
Difficulty (1-5): 1.5 to 3.0
Vehicle classes: High-clearance 4WD
Small/medium dualsport


Wp wash.JPG
Wp kilins.JPG
Wp kilins two.JPG
Wp east.JPG
Wp west.JPG

Location details

Southwestern United States, Southern Nevada, Nye County, Spring Mountains, Pahrump, Clark County, Cold Creek, Indian Springs


Dirt road connecting Pahrump and Cold Creek.

Detailed description

The Pahrump side of the route is a very mellow, well maintained dirt road. The Cold Creek/Indian Spring side of the route is the roughest section of this route. This section of the trail sees a lot of land slides leaving large rocks and boulders on the trail making it very slow driving. 4LO in this section is helpful.

Terrain type / brush factor

Graded dirt road, large rocks and boulders
Low brush factor

Permits? Fees? Seasonal closures?

There are no vehicle requirements or permits.

Attendees (vehicles/people)

Toyota Tacoma/ Tim France / (nvprospector)

History, geology, etc.

The route known now as Wheeler Pass Road was first known as Road From Bennetts Ranch to Indian Creek. In the spring of 1875, Charles Bennett and is family established a ranch in Pahrump Valley. Indian Creek, now Indian Springs, was originally a ranch owned by a small group of Indians, later it was a station on the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad, now it is part of the Creech Air Force base.

The Tecopa Charcoal Ovens in Wheeler Wash where built in 1875 by Nehemia (“Red”) Clarke for J.B. Osbourne who was operating a smelter at Tecopa, a mining camp in Inyo County California. The location of these kilns was chosen because it was the nearest wood for the smelters. 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 saw mill in Clark Canyon, and was in partnership with Nehemiah Clarke.

General considerations

There are services in Pahrump and Indian Springs but not in Cold Creek. Wheeler Pass can become quite crowded on the weekends. This is not much of an issue on the Pahrump side of the trail, but the Cold Creek side of the trail may require someone to backup a little ways to find an area wide enough for a vehicles to safely pass. And even then, the passing vehicles are very, very close.


GPS units/laptops used for tracking/navigation: ASUS EEE PC; GPS puck attached to computer; DeLorme PN-40 (backup in case of hard drive crash)
Navigation software used for planning/navigation: Oziexplorer
Books/maps used for planning: Report 26. Guidebook: Las Vegas to Death Valley and Return. Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. 1976: Pg 7
Lingenfelter, Richard E. Death Valley and the Amargosa: A Land of Illusion. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1986: pg167
Rectangular Survey Plats: 1881: Numerous Maps

Important waypoints as coordinates

Pahrump Trailhead: N 36.219584, W -115.994233
Cold Creek Trailhead: N 36.523540, W -115.548376
Important turns:
N 36.523540, W -115.548376
N 36.220811, W -115.943928
N 36.228234, W -115.923220
N 36.261311, W -115.867482
N 36.285972, W -115.826958
N 36.363643, W -115.827422
N 36.369231, W -115.797745
N 36.421308, W -115.730555
N 36.422166, W -115.739933

Track/Waypoint file attachment (.gpx)

File:Wheeler Pass Track.gpx | File:Wheeler Pass WP.gpx