This region of Nevada has always been lightly visited, a situation not much changed by the establishment of the national monument. Several long dirt roads enter the preserve from the east, starting in the Arizona Strip district, but almost all people approach from the northwest, along a paved route (Gold Butte Road) which forks south off Hwy 170 at Riverside, 3 miles from Interstate 15 exit 112. This road follows the Virgin River for a few miles then turns away, crossing plains and low hills to a four-way junction, continuing in semi-paved state for another 7 miles to a second major intersection, beside Whitney Pocket
, a group of red Aztec sandstone mounds with primitive camping areas at the base. From here the main road, unpaved and increasingly stony, heads south for 20 miles to the base of Gold Butte, near the scant remains of the old mining settlement of the same name, while a rougher track (Cottonwood Wash Road), branching off a little way before, proceeds further south all the way to the banks of the Colorado River, at the upper eastern end of Lake Mead. Many lesser roads leave the main route, nearly all requiring 4WD, and even Gold Butte Road, once past Whitney Pocket, generally needs at least a high clearance vehicle.
Apart from Whitney Pocket
, the two most visited locations in the national monument are also towards the north - the jagged red sandstone formations of Little Finland
, and a large group of petroglyphs spread out along a low rocky ridge about halfway between the other two popular places, accessed by driving up to 2 miles along a good quality track which forks southwards off the paved road 1.5 miles before Whitney Pocket. Named panels include Falling Man
, 21 Goats
, Kohta Circus
, Calvin's Rock
and Newspaper Rock
, all generally reached by short, easy (though unmarked) hikes of less than half a mile, but away from these more well-known places are hundreds more petroglyphs, indeed any group of light-colored sandstone boulders in the monument are likely to have some ancient rock art. Other recognised hikes lead to summits, sand dunes, sinkholes, springs, arches, narrow ravines, fossilized dinosaur tracks and old mines, plus the Gold Butte townsite (established in 1908), of which the only remnants are a few concrete foundations and rusty pieces of equipment. There are also several tracks that descend to the shoreline of the Overton arm of Lake Mead, within the NRA, but in general there are few other sites of special interest, and like many desert regions the greatest appeal is perhaps the general remoteness and isolation, and the wild, rugged scenery. Other activities include hunting (for big horn sheep), cycling and horse riding.