Northeast of Las Vegas, between the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, lies the truly incredible 350,000-acre area known as Gold Butte National Monument.
Gold Butte is sacred to the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe and includes thousands of petroglyphs, and traces of human habitation, such as agave roasting pits and shelters, dating back over 12,000 years. While individual petroglyphs sites are important individually, they derive their sacred nature from their relationships to other sites — through physical and spiritual trails and histories that connect them. Gold Butte National Monument recognizes this landscape of interconnections.
Gold Butte is overflowing with jaw-dropping geology, intriguing history and prehistory, fragile wildlife species and remote, undeveloped camping opportunities. The region also offers opportunities for hiking, hunting, birding, camping, ORV riding on designated trails and timeless solitude.
Dotted with impossibly sculpted sandstone and thick Joshua Tree forests, the area offers snapshots of human history, from ancient rock art galleries to historic mining and pioneer-era artifacts. The rare and threatened Mojave Desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep are found here, as are some of the most exciting fossil finds of the modern era. In the fall of 2016, scientists were buzzing after discovering 290 million-year-old fossilized footprints–predating the earliest dinosaurs by 60 million years. That’s right: 60 million years before the the first dinosaurs, unknown reptiles were walking around on the mud flats of Gold Butte, and their tracks are preserved there today.