Rocky Gap Road
Rocky Gap Road (aka Potato Ridge) Rocky Gap Road conects Lovel Canyon road on the west side of the Spring Mountains to the Red Rock Scenic Loop on the east. High clearance 4x4 recomended. The west side of the pass holds the most difficult terrain while the east side holds great views and a winding trail. Watch for hikers. Map of the Red Rock NCA. http://www.nv.blm.gov/redrockcanyon/PDF/hikemap.pdf
Rocky Gap Report- East to West 5/19/07
You should consider this trail as two sections. The east side is the easy side,access via Red Rock State Park. And the west is the advanced side,access via Lovel canyon raod. The middle point of the trail is the highest point with a couple marked hiking trails (I forget the names) and an area to park. Traveling west from Red Rock, as you go up the trail it’s fairy easy most of the way. There are a couple rugged spots about 2/3 of the way up, not too tough, but be careful - one of these had a Honda Passport high-centered that I helped pull out. There are a few scenic spots for leg-stretching and picnicking along the way. You'll know you are mid-way and at the top when you see a large parking area and marked trails on the south side of the road. Make your decision to go to the west half of the trail here. I definitely recommend high clearance and a good spotter for the west half. From the middle point, the road drops steeply downhill. At the bottom of this first downhill slope is the worst part, or the best part of the whole trail, a very rugged wash with some nice mixed boulders, soft gravel, and some narrow spots. It was scary, but I made it through the worst with my stock Wrangler Rubicon and a spotter. I got high-centered once when my spotter wasn't looking and my left side sunk into the soft gravel. We had to jack up my front axle and stick some rocks under the tires to get out. Just west of the this big wash are a couple steep side-angle spots where the road winds in and out of the creek-bed so be careful not to tip :) Once you get past the big wash and the steep side angles, it’s pretty easy the rest of the way down. Or if you like Rock Crawling you could run the wash.
UPDATE 5/11/08 The rock garden portion discibed above is washed out even more so now. Stock vehicles other than a Rubicon or simalar are not advised. There are more boulders and off camber erroded ledges. Jeeps will fitt pretty easily still but full size riggs should have 35's or larger and rock sliders to avoid body damage. A skilled spotter is a must. Long quad cab/long bed trucks will be tight. My 79 Ramcharger with 33's barely made it through. It was very slow going to avoid body damage. A late 90's Toyota Land Cruiser with sliders, 37's and lockers came through right behind me. His length caused him to reposition himself several times to get through. There are 2-3 wash areas after that make a nice challenge as well for those with the more serious rigs. One more note, this is a high risk flood area. Storms can move in with little warning, so check the weather outlook before hitting this trail.
UPDATE 8/23/09 West side of trail (rock garden) is still pretty rough. Stock vehicles will not make it, however I think the 35" requirement is a bit overkill at this time. My Wranger with 32's made it, 33 and up should be fine. Maybe someone has cleared some of the bigger obsticles since the above update was written. Be careful of the washed out ledges on the east side of trail. Hug the mountain side and you should be fine in wrangler or similar, something wider like a Hummer will be tight.
9/29/09 I did the entire trail in my stock Pathfinder running on 31's. Even worse we witnessed a stock Kia looking small SUV coming down through the rock garden portion unscathed. It is fun, but only as challenging as you want to make it.
1/28/10 Before this winter the main trail had become the easiest it's been since the original wash out the winter/spring of 2005. This trail is snow packed as of now. Between the winter snow and rain storms this trail changes dramatically each year. The wash the trail follows is very challenging in spots but also changes with each storm or snow melt. This is not a trail to be done alone for 90% of the off road community regardless of recent edits.
I would agree that during the winter time only vehicles with excellent ground clearance and at least one winched vehicle in the group attempt this trail. There are numerous off camber portions that with the snow cover could be treacherous. See the photo below and know that it took us over 8hrs to do this trail in the winter (albeit during a storm) and the photo is of us coming back the next day to recover the JK due to a broken front axle. It will be interesting to see the trails shape in the spring!
7/16/11 Went East to west. Stock 02 wrangler sahara, was a little hairy but did not get stuck. Had a good spotter. Would not recommend to anyone with a stock jeep without experience. The rest of the trail was an easy ride.
9/15/12 Went west to east...stock 2011 jku...the wash was sketchy buy made it through with little fuss...not for the unexperanced...mike:)
09/22/2013 West to east - 07 FJ Cruiser, OME lift, Goodyear Wrangler MTR Kevlar: Noted NO recent tracks anywhere else on the trail, and we saw NOBODY ELSE the whole run, even though it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Initial Lovell Wash washout was much more deeper than 2 years ago, but no problem. Trail up to ledges at beginning of the rock garden was as usual, base of the ledges themselves was washed out a bit deeper than before and required a little more effort to clear. Once on top, dropped front into a hole that is deeper than remembered; got fronts over, then it was rears in that hole, fronts in another deep hole. Eased forward, but tires began to spin, front & rear. Maybe it's because I'm almost 60 now, maybe it's because the wife was with me and was starting to freak, but I engaged the rear locker and backed out of the holes, turned around on top of the ledges (a bit tricky in an FJ-C), and went back down the west side to Lovell Canyon. If there had been a group of folks up there like there was the last time I went up there, particularly if there had been someone with a winch, we probably would have pushed it through, but it was just a little too lonely up there to take any real chances.
East to West in a bone stock 2009 JK Wrangler 2 door with 32" BFG KM2s. Easily done with a slightly experienced spotter, or just someone who has a decent grasp on how wide a Jeep is. A couple of decent lines to follow. We had some fellow Jeepers come behind us and continue in the wash after the first opportunity to take the dirt road out. JK with 4" and 33s did fine and even a 4dr Rubi was fine despite the longer wheel base. Get out on this trail folks as it seems the right amount of tricky right now!