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Red Barrel Peak
Lake Mead NRA, Nevada
October 15, 2017

There's little reason to ascend Red Barrel Peak other than it's a short, easy hike and it has a name. Even so, this and other obscure little peaks around Lake Mead always seem to have something to offer. In the case of Red Barrel, there's a good trail running from a wash practically all the way to the summit, unusual if not unique for an unknown desert nub.

Dinah and I drove one mile down Boathouse Cove Road to a large parking area on the right (high clearance vehicle required). From our SUV, we traversed the north slopes of Peak 791 before dropping into a wash. We hiked up the wash to where it ended on a low saddle at the base of Red Barrel. There we found a nice trail that mostly follows the ridgeline. We got within 75 horizontal metres of the summit before leaving the trail and hiking to the top.

We wondered where Red Barrel Peak got its name, but it wasn't until we reached the summit that we came across the red-tinged cactus. Aside from cute little barrel cactus, the modest apex offered good views, including that of Lake Mead.

Instead of going back the same way, we returned to the saddle and hiked over the col south of Peak 791. Neither the south route or north route appeared to have any advantage over the other, but doing both made the most of our experience in climbing Red Barrel Peak.

KML and GPX Tracks


The trailhead: we went around the north (left) side of Peak 791 and came back on the south side


Traversing the slope north of Peak 791


Then we dropped dropped into a wash and headed to Red Barrel Peak ahead


The wash climbs to a low saddle where we turned left and started up a trail


Looking back at the saddle and Peak 791 from the trail


As we climbed, we began to get far-ranging views


Ahead is a false summit


The true summit appears


Below the summit, a shimmering Lake Mead came into view


Manganese Peak lies south


We left the trail and climbed a short distance to the summit


The summit cairn is ahead


There are a few small barrel cactus on top


A close look at one of the cactus


Dinah stands by the summit cairn


There's a big drop on the east side


Cathedral Peak lies northeast


We headed back to climb the col north (left) of Peak 791


Back at the saddle, we started up the other side


The col was an easy ascent


Looking back at some gnarly-looking rock we passed under


Peak 791 appears easy to ascend from the col but we didn't bother


Coming down the other side. The black dot above Dinah is our car


Looking back at the col


Echo Bay and Middle Point 1:24,000 Topos ( mi, ft, ft)

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