There are several points of interest deep in the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument that are well worth enduring the long bumpy ride, which include the Tassi Ranch, Grand Wash Bay, Twin Point Overlook and the very remote Kelly Point Overlook. Careful preparation is necessary before starting the journey, because there are no services, cellular communications or fueling stations to be found anywhere in this desolate wilderness area. A visitor will truly be on their own and personal survival skills will be the only thing to rely upon if the unexpected occurs. Fuel management is critical and charting the course on a map or GPS will reveal the lengthy mileage involved. The dirt roads in this region are slow going even with a high ground clearance 4x4, so the minimum average fuel mileage of the vehicle should be part of the calculation. Two spare tires and a tall jack are recommended for a Grand Canyon Parashant adventure, along with adequate food and water for a few days in case of a vehicle breakdown. With disclaimers like these, it is easy to see that a trip into this vast wilderness area is serious business, yet with careful preparation the journey can go go off without a hitch.
Oddly enough, Mesquite, Nevada is the closest fueling station to the Tassi Ranch and the total distance is about 65 miles. From Mesquite, it is best to follow Gold Butte Road to Whitney Pockets Road, then go over the mountain pass to Aravada Springs, which is located next to the Arizona Border and the Grand Canyon Parashant. From here the roads are well marked and there is even signage for the Tassi Ranch. From Aravada Springs, CR 111 goes through the Pakoon Wash to the intersection Thomas Gap Road, which is an alternate way back to Mesquite. From the intersection, CR 113 goes downhill through the entire length of the picturesque Grand Wash. At the end of CR 113 is NPS Road 1213, which goes a few more miles east to the Tassi Ranch. Grand Wash Bay is only about 4 miles past the ranch, so it is best to plan on touring both of these remote destinations during the same trip. Primitive camping is allowed at Grand Wash Bay, which is a real plus for those who want to break up the long bumpy ride into an overnighter.
The National Park Service manages the Tassi Ranch as a Mojave Desert historic cultural site. A signature in the permit box is all that is required to enter, but it is best to read the posted warnings before setting foot on the property. The old stone and mortar ranch house is infested with rodents that carry a very dangerous respiratory disease, so it is best to only soak up the views outside the building. The water in this region is contaminated with heavy metals from uranium mining, so filtering the spring water for drinking is taboo too. Another item to be aware of is the tiny toads. Thousands of little toads hop around the overflowing spring, so it is best to look at the ground before taking a step. All sorts of rare bees and wasps drink from the mud puddles too, so it is best to proceed with care in the Tassi Spring area.
Towering cottonwood trees provide plenty of shade in this unique desert oasis. The Tassi Ranch is a fascinating place to be and hours can be spent observing the little creatures that drink from the spring. Deer, elk, coyotes and wild horses drink from these springs too, so a quiet approach to the ranch may reveal more wildlife than expected. Tassi Springs has a very long native cultural history and there are many petroglyphs to be found in this region. Tassi Springs was also a Mormon pioneer stopover on the way to Pearce Ferry Crossing at the Colorado River until the property was acquired in the early 1900s. The significance of Tassi Ranch has to do with how this property was managed way back when cattle ranching was the main enterprise in this region. Extensive agricultural systems were set in place in the surrounding acreage, so this historic site actually was more like a farm than a cattle ranch, which was practically unheard of in this end of the desert.
Previous articles describe all the legs of the 65 mile journey from Mesquite to the Tassi Ranch and the photos will indicate just how extreme the Grand Canyon Parashant terrain can be. All that can be said is be prepared for anything and don't bite off more than you can chew, because you will truly be on your own in this deep desert wilderness. The old Tassi Ranch nestled under the cottonwood trees certainly is a pleasant sight to see after a long dusty ride, so be sure to chalk this spot high on the lifetime adventure list!
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