Burro Wash

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Burro Wash
Colorado river.jpg
Photo: The Trail ends at the Colorado River below the Dam
Trail Information
Other Names: Black Canyon
Part of: Lake Mead Rec Area
Trail Length: 32 miles round trip
Trail Time: 4 hours
Terrain: Gravel, Washboard, Rocky
Off-Road Use: Licensed 4X4 vehicles only
Difficulty: Easy
County: Clark County, NV
Nearest Cities: Boulder City, NV
Map Links:
Satellite Map:
Special Map:
GPS Start:
GPS End:
Google Earth:
Climate: Desert
Elevation: 2300ft to 646ft and back

This scenic backcountry adventure takes you down Burro Wash into the depths of Black Canyon below Hoover Dam by the only route possible on the Nevada side of the Colorado River. This is a legitimate and open 4x4 trail that will take you down some rocky descents, sandy washes and over a few minor but fun rock obstacles right before reaching the river. This trail should not be taken lightly but for the most part is stock friendly for 4 wheel drive vehicles equipped with low range gears and all-terrain tires. This is an out-and-back trail meaning you will head back the same way you came in. Down by the river would be an excellent spot to stop and have lunch so bring your lawn chairs and a camera and have some fun!


From Las Vegas head southeast on Hwy 93 towards Boulder City. Just inside Boulder City turn right on Buchanan Blvd. Drive south on Buchanan for 2.9 miles, their will be a large power substation on the left. Fallow the pavement east in front of the substation, continue east on the dirt road that runs parallel to the chain-link fence. Beyond the substation continue southeast on a wide, graded dirt road that follows a line of high-tension power lines running out towards a saddle on the mountains to the southeast. Drive 1.8 miles across the flats to the edge of the hills marked with fencing and signs. This is the boundary line for the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. See Photo Below. Continue southeast for 4.3 miles on this graded, but rocky road to an overlook at the head of Burro Wash. The road runs steeply down rocky switchbacks to the bottom of the canyon. Take the left fork at the bottom of the canyon, staying in the wash. About 5 miles down the wash you will come to a sign directing you up and over a saddle, stay right at the top of the saddle and go down the back side into the last section of wash before reacting the river. The wash will narrow down into a steep walled canyon that runs into Black Canyon and the Colorado River. Sign.JPG

First half of the trail is a bumpy ride and easy 2wd trails. After reaching the open area with two power lines pictured, it should then be 4x4 recommended, or good limited slip/locker 2wd with all terrain or more aggressive tread. The "4x4 Recommended" sign is posted further down the trail than it should be. After the sign the trail has many large rocks and step downs that you encounter. Recommended 32"+ tires with sufficient ground clearance if you want to keep from rocker or similar damage. 2wd + Limited Slip Ranger barely made it through without help.

Comments, Run Reports, Photos[edit]

This is a easy fun run with a nice place for lunch and maybe a cooling splash in the river. Run and Photo date: 4-18-2009 DSCF0025.JPG Burro1.jpg Burro5.JPG Burro4.jpg

Update 11/9/2009 Did this run today. The directions are pretty accurate. From the power station, there are two trails you can take. One goes east, and the other south (unless my compass was busted :). So, the mention of going south-east from the power station might be unclear. The power lines leave the power station in three directions (east, west, and south). Go east. You can see the trail to the east start winding into the mountains. The trail to the south is a straight shot along the bigger towers, but it's not clear if/when it enters the mountains to the south.

About 8 or 9 miles in, there is access to the Colorado river. Then another mile or so to the end of the trail, also with access to the river. The trail is fairly mild for the most part. Rough rocky grated road, soft gravel wash, and some reasonably sized obstacles. I made it through fine in a Tundra 4x4 with 31s (no lift, no mods). So, folks with geared up trail machines will have no trouble at all.

Update 6-30-2011. Did this run today. All directions are accurate. The final steep section has gotten extremely rutted from rain washout.Went 1/4 the way thru it and turned around. Going down it would be rough. Coming back up would extremely difficult,,, and unless you have a lifted,, geared up trail machine,,,be prepared to leave a lot of scrape marks. Was very disappointed to get that close but being out there solo and as washed out as it was,,coming back up this section would have been iffy. 98 4Runner 4x4 w/ 31s no lift.

8-28-2011 as stated above the last portion of the trail has been getting rougher with the recent weather, although two 87 4runners with no lift on 31's made it with zero ground clearance issues. Always bring a buddy and recovery gear! happy wheeling.

11-27-11 Completed this trail today. As stated the last portion of the trail can be a bit rough in a few spots. I made it through fine with no issues in my 97 Wrangler 2" suspension lift and 17" Rubicon wheels. The water level at the river was way down when I went though.

11-3-12 Finished this trail today. Directions still accurate. As mentioned before trail is very washed out, but that just makes it more fun. No clearance issues and only the last 1/3 is challenging. 08 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, 31's, stock.