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Clark Mountain

 
Clark Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 35.52500°N / 115.588°W

Object Title: Clark Mountain

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Fall

Elevation: 7930 ft / 2417 m

 

Page By: streeyyr, redsplashman23

Created/Edited: Jan 13, 2005 / Feb 12, 2011

Object ID: 153551

Hits: 25082 

Page Score: 83.1%  - 16 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Clark Mountain is the highest point in the Mojave National Preserve. This large and impressive mountain dominates the landscape near Mountain Pass for miles around. Although few people pay much attention to Clark Mountain itself, many are familiar with the long haul up Interstate 15 to Mountain Pass. The steep and sometimes treacherous grades of the highway as it crosses the mountain's southern flanks are usually enough to capture anyone's attention. Clark Mountain is located in the Mesquite Mountains BLM Wilderness Area.

Although it is close to a major highway, Clark Mountain has virtually no tourist attractions. There are no campgrounds or trails on Clark Mountain. There is one small picnic area at the southern base of the mountain, but reaching it can be a challenge. The roads leading to it are rough and confusing, but that may change in the future if the mountain starts receiving more visitors. With an elevation of 7,930', Clark Mountain ranks way down on the California elevation list. But the new field of Prominence has made Clark Mountain an important mountain. With a prominence of 4,254', Clark Mountain is big enough to make an impressive appearance on the crowded California Prominence Map.



Getting There

The driving route to the trailhead is not straightforward, and a high clearance vehicle is necessary. The Road and Peak Guide by the Desert Peaks Section of the Sierra Club has some detailed directions, as do some other guide books, but we found the guidebooks inaccurate, and the roads around here confusing. It took us more than one attempt before we found the right road in. Your goal is to get to this picnic area at 1,850 meters at the base of Clark Mountain. Since there is only one road that leads to the picnic area, once you find it, just drive on it until the road ends.

The following information was taken from the DPS Guide, and the posted comments: Exit I-15 at Bailey Road in Mountain Pass. Drive north a short distance, then turn left onto the paved Clark Mountain Road. Drive west 1.1 miles until the pavement ends at a cattle guard. Continue west 0.4 miles on an excellent dirt road to a 4-way junction. Turn right (keeping the mine tailings pile on your right) and go 0.6 miles to a second junction. Go straight ahead here. Do not turn left onto the power line road like we did. Instead, drive east on the good road as it passes by the tailings pile, heads down a small hill, then heads up a sandy wash. Follow the wash for about 1.3 miles until reaching the open hillsides above an electrical substation. The road then switchbacks left and right. One mile past the right switchback, bear left at a fork and drive 0.6 miles to road's end at a picnic area. The road continues on past the picnic area another half mile or so to 1,950 meters. This is an alternate starting point.

A good map of the correct access route can be found here.

Mountain Conditions

Contact the Mojave National Preserve HQ in Barstow at 760-252-6100, or the BLM Field Office in Needles at 760-326-7000 for the latest information.

Topo Maps: Clark Mtn; Mescal Range.

Click for Nipton, California Forecast

Camping

There are no developed campgrounds near Clark Mountain. However, primitive camping is allowed in the area.

External Links

Additions and Corrections

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Viewing: 1-7 of 7    
cp0915Untitled Comment

cp0915

Voted 10/10

I'd have to agree with you, Scotty. I think that's the same approach I took, though I still couldn't get my Corolla beyond the wash without beating it up.





Judging by your photos, I see you made a recent trip down this way.
Posted May 12, 2005 10:54 am
ScottySUntitled Comment

ScottyS

Voted 10/10

Ah, yes. During an extra day in the LV area, I sampled a collection of old piñon pine as part of a long-term Great Basin climate reconstruction project. I've been targeting Clark Mt as a collection site for a while, just hadn't gotten the time to do it.
Posted May 12, 2005 1:18 pm
ScottySUntitled Comment

ScottyS

Voted 10/10

There is a variation of the road leading to the picnic area that is much faster and easier to travel for light cars than the pole-line road. It uses the same directions for getting off the highway and going towards the tailings, but goes straight at the second junction instead of left. The key to this road is to follow the way that appears to have the most use. Stay close to the tailings, drive down a small hill, and follow the road as it goes up a sandy wash. The wash twists and turns for ~1.3mi until reaching the open hillsides above substation. (see posted map for exact route) Here it joins with the described route.





This route is totally drivable in a low-clearance car until the switchback through the wash. Actually, I drove a recent-model Pontiac Sunfire all the way to the picnic area without grinding the muffler, but unless you really know what you're doing I can't recommend this. A two-wheel-drive pickup would be fine, as long as speed is maintained through the sandy sections.
Posted May 11, 2005 9:58 pm
cp0915Untitled Comment

cp0915

Voted 10/10

I'd have to agree with you, Scotty. I think that's the same approach I took, though I still couldn't get my Corolla beyond the wash without beating it up.





Judging by your photos, I see you made a recent trip down this way.
Posted May 12, 2005 10:54 am
ScottySUntitled Comment

ScottyS

Voted 10/10

Ah, yes. During an extra day in the LV area, I sampled a collection of old piñon pine as part of a long-term Great Basin climate reconstruction project. I've been targeting Clark Mt as a collection site for a while, just hadn't gotten the time to do it.
Posted May 12, 2005 1:18 pm
Matthew HollimanUntitled Comment

Matthew Holliman

Hasn't voted

I only had the DPS guide with me when I did this, but I ended up doing what it sounds like Scotty did as well. There are many roads and junctions not mentioned in the guide. Here's an updated description and GPS waypoints. All distances are given relative to the previous road junction:


  • Exit I-15 at Mountain Pass onto Bailey Road, and head north to Clark Mountain Road. Drive west 0.9 miles to a cattle guard at the end of pavement. Continue west for 0.4 miles to a sharp bend in the road (waypoint BEND), where several faint tracks lead off into the desert; continue right on the main road.


  • At 0.6mi from the bend, you'll see a poor road heading left; ignore it. This is the old powerline road mentioned in the DPS guide, and meets the main road higher up.


  • In another 0.2mi (0.8mi from the bend), the road forks next to a large mine tailings pile (waypoint TAILNG). Take the left fork. (The right fork heads straight ahead to a large parking area and gate).


  • In another 1.6mi, turn left at a fork below a large power pylon (waypoint PYLON).


  • In another 0.4mi, right at a fork (waypoint FORK1). (The left fork heads off towards a hill with a radio installation on top).


  • In 50 yards, take a left fork (waypoint FORK2). The road drops down and crosses a wash.


  • In 0.3mi, take a left fork (waypoint FORK3), which leads up to a couple of switchbacks (waypoint SWBACK).


  • In 1.1mi, take the left fork (waypoint FORK4), which leads in 0.6mi to the picnic/parking area (waypoint PICNIC). The right fork initially looks better, but quickly deteriorates.



Here are waypoints that can be imported into TOPO! or Excel:





TOPO! GPS Data Format Deg NAD83 ElevFeet UTC-Time


BEND,35.47692,-115.54966,4773,11/28/2005,22:47:46,Sharp right turn in dirt road, 0.4mi after end of pavement (indistinct trails heading off here)


PWRLIN,35.48211,-115.53806,4809,11/28/2005,22:47:46,Old powerline road (ignore)--meets main road 1.2mi from waypt BEND


TAILNG,35.48263,-115.53761,4831,11/28/2005,22:47:46,0.8mi from waypt BEND, left fork at mine tailings pile (road straight ahead continues to large parking area/gate)


PYLON,35.50356,-115.54516,5198,11/28/2005,22:47:46,1.6mi from TAILNG, left fork next to power pylon (main road continues right)


FORK1,35.50389,-115.55357,5375,11/28/2005,22:47:46,0.4mi, right fork (left fork heads off towards hill with radio installation on top)


FORK2,35.50410,-115.55409,5397,11/28/2005,22:47:46,50 yards, left fork (main road continues straight), drops into wash and crosses it before reaching...


FORK3,35.50475,-115.55790,5459,11/28/2005,22:47:46,0.3mi, left fork (leads up to a couple of switchbacks)


SWBACK,35.50336,-115.55701,5418,11/28/2005,22:47:46,Switchbacks


FORK4,35.51172,-115.57126,6099,11/28/2005,22:47:46,1.1mi, left fork (right fork initially looks better, but deteriorates rapidly)


PICNIC,35.51580,-115.57819,6176,11/28/2005,22:47:46,Picnic area, 0.6mi from junction


Posted Nov 29, 2005 2:08 am
mthorntCool Hiking

mthornt

Hasn't voted

I hiked this mountain in July and it was a lot of fun. The terrain was relatively easy with a lot of loose stone toward to the top.



It was quite possible that I was the only person on the mountain during the hike. The place was absolutely desolate and peaceful.



I took a two wheeled drive Dodge Journey rental on the back roads to the base. The crossover has a pretty high wheelbase; however, there were a few times I got pretty nervous about going off the side of the trail (road). There were many potholes and washouts along the way and some being as deep as two feet.



I would definitely do again if I was in the area.
Posted Dec 31, 2013 8:45 am

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