|  Home |  Canada Trips |  US Trips |  Hiking |  Snowshoeing |  MAP |  About

Spirit Mountain
Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, Nevada
November 4, 2009

Distance: 6.5 km (4.0 mi)
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 727 m (2385 ft

Although not high, peaks south of Las Vegas sport some great desert scenery. Among the easiest and most accessible (no SUV required) is Spirit Mountain, a mountain sacred to the Native Americans of the region.

The trailhead is on Christmas Tree Pass, east of Searchlight. The instructions: hike to a saddle and drop down to a drainage below the west slopes of the mountain. From there pick up a trail that cuts through a mid-slope "pass" before ascending to the ridge south of the summit. The trail more or less follows the ridge to the top.

After reaching the saddle, I angled across slopes to avoid losing elevation. Even so, I ended up 40 m below the trailhead. After crossing the drainage, I climbed the slope and looked for the trail. (On the descent, I realized it would be easier to stay in the drainage since it leads to the trail.)

Once I got on the trail, routefinding was a forgone problem. I followed the trail through the pass, up the ridge and to the summit. Although there were no nearby peaks, I was granted good views of Lake Mohave, especially from the lower east summit.

GPX and KML Tracks

This road leads to Christmas Tree Pass and Spirit Mountain

Trees are decorated on Christmas Tree Pass

The saddle

Approximate route to the ridge from the saddle

From the bottom of the slope, the route goes on the right side of the big boulder block

The pass is the low point on my right

Almost at the pass

Looking back at the saddle from the pass

Huge prickly pear cactus

Looking north from the pass. Trail keeps right.

The ascent slope after the pass

Looking back at the pass

Great desert scenery everywhere

Looking back at the pass and the saddle (both in the centre)

View west with the striking Castle Peaks in the centre (mouse over for a close-up)

Typical landscape on much of the ascent

Jagged rocks on the right

Trail veers left ...

... and ascends among rock outcrops

Interesting rock formations here

Almost on the ridge

On the ridge but the summit isn't in sight yet

There's the summit

The summit bears a pole

Standing on the summit

Lake Mohave

Great basin collared lizard (mouse over to see the entire lizard)

Almost back at the pass (left)

Parting shot of Spirit Mountain from the road

Spirit Mountain (4.0 mi, 5640 ft, 1909 ft, 361 ft)

U.S. Trips | Home