Dunes and Trails ATV / UTV
Gold Butte 02-2017 ride report. By: Roger Walkemeyer
Ride Leader: Roger Walkemeyer Tail Gunner: Ron Foglia Mid Gunner: Rick Lund
19 rigs, 26 people including the video crew
Everyone started arriving and preparing their rigs between 8 and 8:30 am.
The area and the trails we are to be riding this day are new to most of the club members. There was to be
more than the usual number of photos taken.
This was a special ride that was being videotaped and photographed with interviews to be taken of members
of the group for the Nevada State OHV Commission, to promote the value of OHV registration, Nevada
outdoor off road recreation, and rider safety.
I did an interview about Dunes and Trails ATV Club, this ride location, and rider safety before the 8:45 am
safety briefing. I introduced the reporter, video, photography crew and Nevada OHV Commissioner Charlie
At 9 am we hit the trail. Directly out of the parking area to a wash and the fun began. We went about a mile
or so and made an equipment check. No-one had anything falling off. Life is good. On the road again. Then
back to the wash trails until our next stop.
For this loop. We broke the group in half (as parking was limited at the top) and put the rigs into 4 wheel drive
low range to climb up to the top of a mountain to get some 360 degree views of the mountain ranges from the
very top of a mountain. The trail used to go down the other side but got wiped out in a landslide. (The value of
We rode in washes for a few miles and that gave the suspensions some exercise. Then we came up the wash
wall to the top of a plateau. We picked up the pace a little and checked out some beautiful vistas overlooking
Lake Mead and the mountains surrounding it.
Then back down into the 4 wheel drive washes, trails and ridges. Some in low range. Excellent technical
riding, watching where each tire goes. Down in the bottom of one wash that had a stream running thru it we
stopped for a break and a lesson in tire plugging. One of the rigs got a hole punched into the side wall of a tire
and there was a big crowd of helpers to make the event memorable. The job is sure easier when there are
people to help. We went to the top of a ridge lookout point and took a short photo stop, and added air to a
low tire. Then back down into the wash.
The wash led to the highlight of the trip. Little Finland. Absolutely beautiful red sandstone mountain
outcroppings that are weathered by wind sand and water to create some of the most unique shapes and
colorful vistas that exist nowhere else in the world. This site is very fragile and some of the features can be
broken easily. Your imagination should be left to run wild. Some of the features are named and some are the
idea behind some movie characters. Beware of the rhinoceros and the dragon and the crocodile. The king and
his court are watching.
Every time you come here the experience is different. A person can spend hours here getting “those special
Pictures and memories” where the angle and light is perfect. We spent an hour or so here for lunch and
Then we were off to the ridges and washes to the next stop to check out some petroglyphs and take the
Then off to Devils Throat. Which is a huge sink hole in the middle of nowhere that we are grateful that
someone put a fence around. We would not want to find it the hard way. 80’ to 100’ down. Ouch!
Off again, this time on trails to the Gold Butte road then back toward the staging area. But there is still one
A seldom visited site that if you didn’t know about it you would drive right by.
The site is the dam that was constructed on the site of an ancient spring by the WPA during the early part of
the 19 th century to store larger quantities of water than was previously saved by the tiny spring. This was a
valued resource to the ranchers and travelers in this area and was maintained by the ranchers and
government until the BLM “in it’s infinite wisdom” decided that the ranchers, hikers and others that used this
area for hundreds if not thousands of years (note the ancient petroglyphs and Anasazi ruins in the area)
should not be allowed to use the area. “Infinite Wisdom?”
Then back to camp. We got to camp about 3 pm. We set up the barbeque and table for hot dogs and
socializing. I grilled up 36 hot dogs, buns, condiments, and a few brats. Most of the group stayed for a while
and ate and visited.
An excellent ride and a fun day with a great group of people. Thanks for coming.
There were three areas that we were going to go to shortly after leaving the staging area that had to be left
out of the trip as the BLM has “in its infinite wisdom” decided to close the roads and trails and block access to
* Two of the sites are full of petroglyphs but the road / trail to the parking area at the base of the glyphs has
been blocked with posts and cables. Preventing access to these sites to anyone with a disability or anyone
unable to walk a half a mile on the old unmaintained road bed. (Yes the road is still there, it’s just that no-one
can use it!)
* The other area blocked off with posts and cables is the “Poppy” flower fields. A few miles of OHV trails that,
in the spring after a little rain is absolutely beautiful. Desert flowers cover the entire valley. Until the area was
blocked off and we were denied access we could ride the trails and take some breath taking pictures, from the
road / trail and never disturb anything other than the click the camera made. P.S. The road / trail is visible
going off into the valley and guess what, there is not one single flower in the road. The closed signs, cables and
posts are the eyesore. PS “Study”? What? When it rains flowers grow in the meadows. DUH! Study done!
* The other note is the pathetic disgrace of the worn out, washed out, chuck hole infested, un-maintained,
un-repaired, sorry excuse of a road. The ROAD has been allowed to deteriorate to this abysmal state over
more than 20 years.
This embarrassment and affront to users of the area can only be explained by one obvious fact. It prevents
most of the public from coming to the area. How many people are willing to risk their $20,000 to $300,000
trucks, campers, and motorhomes over 28 miles of 4” to 6” deep chuck holes going all across the “road” to the
point you cannot miss them. How many are willing to drive 28 miles at 5 to 10 miles an hour to avoid
damaging the suspension tires and wheels on their vehicles? There are some beautiful campsites in the area
that are totally unused.
I have a 22 year old nephew that was 2 years old when we first documented the deterioration and total lack
of effective maintenance to this “road”.
Why doesn’t the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) just get honest and change its name to the BLC (Bureau
of Land Closure). The only evidence WE see of the BLM is the next “closed trail” sign, or “study area” closed
sign. What the “heck” are they studying? Why the “heck” do they need to close trails that are thousands of
years old to “study” them. I have a novel idea. Have some of the “studying persons” walk on the trails, or ride
a horse, of maybe drive an OHV on them. Then get out of the way so the rest of us “the public” can see the
beauty that is being reserved for the exclusive use of a “SELECT FEW” “STUDY PERSONS”.
As shown by the petroglyphs, these roads and trails have been in use for the past several thousand years.
It seems to us mere members of the public. That the BLM has obviously, quite successfully fulfilled its
(unwritten) goal of removing the public’s access to these PUBLIC LANDS. This needs to change!