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Cleopatra Wash, NV

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Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NV > Vegas
4 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,966 feet
Elevation Gain -750 feet
Accumulated Gain 750 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.75
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2013-10-27 autumnstars
4  2013-07-04 autumnstars
5  2011-12-19 autumnstars
Author autumnstars
author avatar Guides 25
Routes 19
Photos 558
Trips 1,383 map ( 11,360 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Las Vegas, NV
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:25am - 5:36pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Culture Nearby
Spires galore
by autumnstars

A hike down canyon through a beautiful jumble of volcanic cliffs and spires.

Many spots in this canyon offer no escape route, so do not hike here if there is a threat of storms. Do not climb down any dry falls you are not sure you can get back up or around.

The Black Mountains, where Cleopatra Wash is located, are volcanic. The colorful volcanic formations here were formed by eruptions of the Hamblin-Cleopatra Volcano 13-20 million years ago. Rocks in the area were subsequently tumbled about by tilting, faulting, and other geologic movement. This has created an amazing mixture of hoodoos, spires, towers, windows, and cliffs.

The hike down Cleopatra Wash starts out much as any average wash hike, unless you look up - the awe-inspiring volcanic formations begin almost immediately. As you continue down the canyon, the walls and formations become taller and more elaborate, with windows and hoodoos appearing. The dry falls in the canyon also become taller as you proceed down the wash, until you can no longer down-climb them. You can pick a route up and around these dry falls, which is part of the fun of this canyon exploration. In most cases, the easier route is up and around on the north side (left as you are headed down canyon). Remember how you got down, though, as the best route is not always apparent on the way back up. As you approach Lake Mead, the canyon becomes more narrow and twisted. Enjoy, then return the way you came.

There is an approved camp site where Cleopatra Wash takes off from Boathouse Cove Road. The road is lightly traveled, so it would make a good camping spot.

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2011-12-20 autumnstars
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Cleopatra Wash
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Good hike today. Just needed to get out and about. Most importantly, with no other people! Pleasant wash walking with interspersed downclimbs to keep things interesting. Surprised to see a few puddles, and even a short stretch of flowing water over a few of the dry falls. One pool was stuffed with large tadpoles.

    Some odd trash to pick up today - one of those huge advertisement balloons complete with a string of flags. Of course it was caught around a spire of rotten rock, so it took quite a bit of doing to finally free it.

    As per usual, I walked up Boathouse Cove Road to begin my hike. Road is in good shape right now, mostly just HC needed.

    Catclaw were in full bloom, filling the air in the washes with their thick aroma. Most annuals were done flowering, but still a few flowers on some of the perennials, mainly indigo bush.
    Cleopatra Wash
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Seemed like a good day for a nice hike down Cleopatra Wash. I parked my car (low clearance) along Northshore Drive and walked in down Boathouse Cove Road. The hike up the road is actually quite nice, going by a lot of interesting rock formations and gypsum-rich hills where 2 endemic plant species grow. Also, there never seems to be anyone on the road, which was the case again today.

    Cleopatra Wash is stunning, with jumbles of multi-hued mainly volcanic rock everywhere. Nice lichen, too, which are relatively rare for us here in the Mojave. Shortly after entering the wash, I was greeted by a group of four bighorn rams, who proceeded to watch me lazily from a distance. After tiring of this game, they sauntered off and I continued on my way. It was fairly warm for the end of October, and the lizards and ground squirrels were also out in force.

    Today, I climbed up and out of the wash near the end for some lunch time views of Lake Mead. Next trip with my husband, we are going to see if we can find a way down to the water. There must be a semi doable route, as the slope is just covered with well-used bighorn trails angling down toward the water.

    Sitting and eating my lunch, I heard a small noise - the bighorn and I saw one another at the same moment. He was traveling back using the same trail I just been on and was now sitting no more than 20 meters from. We both froze and stared at one another. After a few minutes of this, he must have decided I wasn't a threat, because he continued toward me on the trail, stopping every few feet to make sure I hadn't moved. He passed right behind me and then continued on by, turning a few times to check. Crazy! After my heart stopped racing, I got up and hiked back out.

    Nothing interesting happened after that ;)
    Cleopatra Wash
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    It was a very, very hot hike at such low elevation.
    Late start to the point we probably should have bailed.

    We did spot five separate bighorns, so that was an interesting highlight.
    Each one was hanging out in a well-shaded spot and then took off as we approached. :sorrry: Hopefully, they made it back to those cooler hangouts quickly after we passed.

    At our turn-around point (a 30 or 40' pour-over), you can see the gravel deposits at about head height from where the lake level used to be. Now, you can't even see the water from this point. A steep up-and-over allows access to the lake, but not today thank you.

    The heat really reduced my ability to focus on the scenery or anything much else - I was just happy to get back to the vehicle with a little water still left.
    Cleopatra Wash
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    With beautiful weather and the day off work, I set out for a new adventure. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that my car wasn't up to the task and had to walk in down Boathouse Cove Road. As it turned out, the hike up the road was actually nice, going by a lot of interesting rock formations and gypsum-rich hills where 2 endemic plant species grow. Also, there was no one else on the road.

    Upon reaching Cleopatra Wash, I very much enjoyed the scenery and the challenge of bypassing the increasingly tall dry falls. The ground was still wet from Sunday's rain, with a few standing puddles in the bedrock. The smell of damp soil filled the air, which was refreshing. The character of this canyon continuously changed, with jumbles of multi-hued rock everywhere.

    After reaching the level of the Lake Mead bathtub ring, I sat down for some lunch at the top of a dry fall. Soon, I had the feeling of being watched, and looked up to see a bighorn ewe staring down at me from the cliffs above - sweet!

    Walking back up the canyon, I had no idea what was right around the corner. A large bighorn ram jumped up from under an acacia and darted across the wash. He started a mini rock slide in his hurry to escape up the side. It was simply stunning to watch him leap up walls I perceived as nearly vertical - how do they do it??? Also, they're shockingly huge up close. Once safely above me, he meandered slowly upward, looking back from time to time. Watched him for about 30 minutes until he disappeared above the cliffs.

    Wow! Stunned by my luck, I hiked back to end an amazing day.

    Permit $$

    Lake Mead NRA National Park
    Lake Mead Fees & Permits

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From north Las Vegas, drive east on NV147 (Lake Mead Blvd) or from Henderson, drive east on NV146 (Lake Mead Drive). After entering Lake Mead NRA on either of these roads, turn east (left) on Northshore Rd. Drive east on Northshore Road and turn south (right) approx 100 yards before mile post 30 onto the unpaved Boathouse Cove Road - there is a sign as soon as you turn. If you have a low-clearance vehicle, you will need to park here and continue on foot. If you have high clearance, drive down Boathouse Cove Road to the second signed camping site (approx 3 miles). Road conditions deteriorate as you go, so if at any point you are not confident in your vehicle's abilities, park and continue on foot. From the signed camping site, head east down Cleopatra Wash.
    page created by autumnstars on Dec 20 2011 3:40 pm
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