This area is an intricate web of peaks, gentle slopes of lava flows and eroded basalt, and side canyons with craggy cliffs. The Eldorado Wilderness is adjacent to the Black Canyon Wilderness, separated only by a transmission line corridor. The eastern edge of the wilderness hugs the contours of the Colorado River. Eldorado is jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
Paralleling the west side of the Colorado River, the Eldorado Mountains are volcanic in origin. The mountains were uplifted during the Miocene Basin and Range Uplift about 15 million years ago. They are mostly made up of Precambrian metamorphic rock topped by the beautiful reds, whites and browns of volcanic tuffs, ash, pyroclastic flows, and basalt flows that made their appearance between 40 and 20 million years ago.
Ranging from 600 to 3,800 feet in elevation, the landscape in the Eldorado Wilderness area displays a thriving Mojave Desert filled with creosote bush, bursage, brittlebush, prickly pear, catclaw acacia, and a variety of cacti.
Watch for desert bighorn sheep on the cliffs, while desert tortoises and jackrabbits, as well as a variety of lizards (including the collared and desert spiny lizards), wander about. Canyon wrens nest in the cliffs while peregrine falcons soar above double crested cormorants and water fowl along the river.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Eldorado Wilderness.
Drive south on U.S. 95 from Las Vegas and then drive east on State Route 165 to a parking/pull-out located two miles north of Nelson. -The parking area is on the north side of the road near the ridge prior to descending into the valley where the town of Nelson is located. From the parking area it is an easily accessible one mile walk to Bridge Spring. From Bridge Spring continue to hike east over a ridge and you will enter the Eldorado Wilderness at Oak Creek Canyon.
Drive south on U.S. 95 from Las Vegas and then drive east on State Route 165 to Approved Road 49 which exits to the north just east of the Techatticup Mine. This Approved Road leads to the wilderness boundary, which is approximately 7 miles north, and provides access to Lonesome Wash which leads to Lake Mohave.
Drive to Boulder City, Nevada. Drive east on Buchanan Blvd until you cross the boundary into Lake Mead NRA. This dirt road becomes Approved Road 60 (Burro Wash Road) and very shortly after crossing the park boundary becomes washed out and difficult to maneuver. This portion of the road is only accessible via high- clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles. The dirt road follows a power line corridor from the WAPA electrical substation and provides access to a remote and rugged section of the Eldorado Wilderness.
The entire eastern boundary of the wilderness is accessible by boat from Lake Mohave. The closest boat launch is at Willow Beach in Arizona. At approximately River Mile Marker 43 the entry to Lonesome Wash is accessible from the river. The wilderness boundary begins 300 feet above the high water line.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002 - Public law 107-282 (11/6/2002) To establish wilderness areas, promote conservation, improve public land, and provide for high quality development in Clark County, Nevada, and for other purposes
Always leave trip information with family or friends. This means your trip length, when you will return, and where you will be departing from in the park.
Take adequate provisions with you including food and water. Remember, you are in a desert and water is scarce. In addition, carry a basic first aid kit.
Before your trip, learn about the hazards you may encounter and take adequate precautions. Select appropriate clothing and equipment. Always hike with a companion.
Know your own limitations and the abilities and weaknesses of your hiking companions. Plan your route and rate of travel around the weakest member. Make sure that each member of your party knows what gear the others have packed.
Have an emergency plan. When journeying into the wilderness if an emergency arises, you may not be able to reach help in a timely manner. This means cell phones and radios may not work in rugged or remote parts of the park.
Know your location using a map, Global Positioning System (GPS) and/or compass. If you encounter trouble, do not be afraid to turn back. Be aware that trails, trail signs, and place signs may be missing due to vandalism or wash outs.
The Eldorado Wilderness provides a stunning stage for hiking, horseback riding, and camping. Wildlife is abundant, with bighorn sheep in the mountains and migrating birds near the river. Hunting is allowed with proper licensing; however, target practice is prohibited.
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.