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Chemehuevi Peak

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Chemehuevi Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 34.55221°N / 114.56272°W

Object Title: Chemehuevi Peak

GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map

County: San Bernardino

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 3694 ft / 1126 m

 

Page By: gimpilator

Created/Edited: May 6, 2015 / May 6, 2015

Object ID: 938257

Hits: 1719 

Page Score: 86.37%  - 22 Votes 

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Overview

First Light on Chemehuevi
First Light on Chemehuevi

Chemehuevi Peak is the highest point of the white granitic Chemehuevi Mountains, located on the eastern border of Southern California in the Mojave Desert. The word Chemehuevi means "those that play with fish". The namesake Chemehuevi tribe is a small branch of the Southern Paiute. These Native Americans have been indigenous to the area for thousands of years. They call themselves "Nüwü", (The People).

Chemehuevi Mountains
Chemehuevi Mountains

In 1994, 85,840 acres were protected as part of the Chemehuevi Mountains Wilderness. This area is home a small herd of big horn sheep, as well as desert tortoise, wild ass, rattlesnakes, jackrabbits, coyotes, quail, roadrunners and lizards. Some common plant species you will encounter include ocotillo, cholla, catsclaw, creosote and barrel cactus. Please respect the land and leave it just as you found it.

Ocotillo Sunset
Ocotillo Sunset

Despite being short in stature Chemehuevi Peak has significant rise above the valley floor.  It is also featured on the popular Sierra Club Desert Peaks Section list.  The standard route approaches from the southwest and is 7 miles round-trip with just under 2000 feet of gain. The open desert approach is pleasant but becomes more rugged after entering a wash to reach a steep gully. See the route section for more details.

Cholla Gardens
Cholla Gardens

This side of the Colorado River is sparse when it comes to development so it is best to bring your own supplies. But food, water and gasoline can all be purchased nearby, on the west shore of Lake Havasu. There is a small grocery store located there as well as a gas station and casino with a restaurant inside.

Interactive Route Map

Standard Route

Entering The Wash
Entering The Wash

From the powerline road (see Driving Directions below), hike north by northeast across the open desert. Initially there may be a few small hills in the way, but this will give way to a broad alluvial fan. Take extra care when navigating around desert flora and watch for rattlesnakes in the afternoon.

Steep Gully
Steep Gully

2 miles from the powerline road, enter the mouth of a wide canyon. This canyon becomes more narrow at the head. Follow the open wash along the base of the canyon as it turns more to the north. Scramble up class 2 terrain working around or over boulders and some minor dryfalls.

Upper Gully
Upper Gully

Near the top, the gully becomes a narrow V with some catsclaw bushes. At 3000 feet there is a small plateau. Turn right (east) and the last slopes below the summit are visible.

Above The Wash
Above The Wash

There are two rocky sides to this slope divided by a gully. I scrambled up the left side and then went around a corner briefly onto the north slope. However trails near the summit indicate that this west slope can be ascended a number of different ways. Just take care to avoid exposed slabs.

Above The Gully
Above The Gully

A class 3 move might be required to reach the summit depending on the way you go. Watch for loose rock. As of February 2015, there was a PVC register tube.

Getting There / Driving Directions

From Needles, CA drive south on Highway US-95 for 19.7 miles. Turn left onto a dirt powerline road. If you came to the Havasu Lake Road junction, then you went too far. Turn around and backtrack 500 feet to the powerline road. Follow the well-graded powerline road for 4 miles and park. The peak will be visible to the northeast.

Chemehuevi Summit Panorama
Chemehuevi Summit Panorama

When to Climb

This area is too hot to hike in during the summer, so plan your visit during winter or the shoulder seasons.

Camping

Camping is permitted. This is a wilderness overseen by the BLM.

Images

Ocotillo SunsetChemehuevi Peak Southwest FaceAlpenglow on ChemeheuviFirst Light on ChemehueviCholla GardensWindblown golden on Chemehuevi summitChemehuevi Summit
Chemehuevi MountainsChemehuevi Summit PanoramaSummit View EastThe Rocky GullySteep GullyUpper GullyAbove The Wash
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