by DeAnne Trompeter Appleby
A drive through Dutchman Pass (“Pass”) makes a great morning or afternoon outing.
This immense, clear wilderness area lies just a short distance from Boulder City. It’s a great place to hike, picnic or just relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the rugged McCullough mountain range, the pristine Sloan Canyon area and the vast Eldorado Valley.
The full drive through the Pass, through Henderson, and back to Boulder City takes about 2 hours, and is approximately 30 miles long. From Boulder City, head south along US 95 and turn right onto Eldorado Valley Road, just past the Nelson turnoff. From Eldorado Valley Road, a dirt, gas-line road stretches north from Nevada Solar One to Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson. It’s a decent dirt road, navigable by a full-size, light truck. But there are some sandy areas, as well as a few rough patches toward Henderson. Along the main dirt road are numerous side roads accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles.
Within the Pass, native wildlife and vegetation abound. Various birds, rabbits and ground squirrels scatter in every direction when disturbed. Along the edges of the Pass, the rock and hill formations contain caves, old mines and trails. The trails lead to a variety of colorful, rugged ravines and canyons. The Pass is incredibly spacious, with multiple layers of color and texture.
As the drive ends, urban sprawl, with its high-density housing, noise and traffic, begins. But the Pass is part of a true desert oasis, hidden within the midst of urban life. It’s a spacious, pristine, calm wilderness area and a valuable environmental resource for future generations to use and enjoy. Take a look!
For more photos of Dutchman Pass, visit www.dutchmanpass.com.