Trip report: Roach Dry Lake, NV!

September 5, I took the kayak out for an unique paddling experience: Roach Dry Lake. It is near Primm, Nevada, next to I-15, and just inside the CA-NV state line.

This area was pounded with rain on Saturday, September 2, causing I-15 to be closed in both directions. I read in the news that the southbound closure lasted for seven hours. I’ve included some traffic camera screenshots that illustrate why the road was closed…

After all that rain, I expected there would be some water in this normally dry lake, and I was right. However, there proved to be barely enough to paddle on the lake itself. However, on the side opposite from where I started, I found deeper water. This was right along the Union Pacific RR line, where a dirt road runs.

All in all, it was worth the trip from Las Vegas to have this unique experience. Per my GPS I covered about 3.5 miles paddling.

I did consider paddling on Ivanpah Lake. But access to that lakebed requires a permit due to it being heavily used for landsailing and other activities that require a smooth surface. So it’s not fully open to the public at any time. The main part (east of I-15) is fenced off with locked gates on the access roads so if you’re not permitted, you can’t even get near it. I did check out the entrance to the access point for the part of the lake west of I-15. It was open and there was water, but I decided to stick with my plan for Roach.

(Arguably the grandest normally-dry paddling destination in the region would be Badwater Basin in Death Valley. But the National Park it sits in is totally closed right now due to widespread road damage.)

On the way home I checked Jean Dry Lake (last pic) from a distance, but it looked to be completely dry. Apparently the big downpours of rain were farther west so no significant runoff flowed into it.



quite an adventure!

That’s certainly different.

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Playa lakes are cool. I rowed a small raft once in Death Valley at Badwater after a really wet winter around 1992. The lake was at least 3-4 miles across.

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I wonder if Lake Manly made an appearance this year? I’d wager it did.

But as noted in my OP, the Park is closed due to extensive road damage so I couldn’t give that a try. Alerts & Conditions - Death Valley National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Amazingly, there doesn’t seem to be any rule against putting a boat out there (or on any other ephemeral lake in the Park). Rules and Regulations - Death Valley National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

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Ephemeral is an awfully big word for this group although we often see many examples of Ephemeroptera while paddling.
Once in awhile my zoology education pops up. Worked a total of 4. months with it. The Army was a cheaper education and much more productive.