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Bitter Springs

Bitter Springs Trail, a BLM Backcountry Byway, has all this and more. It's a twenty-eight mile, two-hour journey through the Muddy Mountains of Nevada, an easy day trip when you want a break from the casinos and night life of Las Vegas. It's marked on most maps and is located about forty miles east of Las Vegas, south of Interstate Highway 15, and west of Valley of Fire State Park.

To reach the trail, proceed north from Las Vegas on Interstate 15 to the Valley of Fire exit (exit 75), and turn south (right) toward the state park. Go past the Moapa Indian Reservation store. About three miles later, the paved road bends left, but follow the trail straight, to the mountains. A BLM sign lets you know you that you have reached the Bitter Springs Back-country Byway.

The first half of the trail is a graded, improved road that ends at an open rock quarry near the summit of the pass, about eight miles from pavement. This segment can be driven in a passenger car. About a mile after leaving the pavement, you will cross an ancient and barren set of tracks: the old Spanish Trail, known later as the Mormon Road, first traveled by Spanish explorers in 1776. The Spanish used it as a link between their New Mexico and California missions. Later, the mountain men followed the trail to California. The Mormons developed the trail into a road during their westward expansion after settling in Utah.

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