From the parking spot at about 1,220 meters, drop down a few meters and start heading southwest on a primitive road that heads straight for the Granite Mountains. The road follows the scenic Cottonwood Wash. This is true Mojave Desert country. You will pass by some old corrals about a quarter-mile from the trailhead. Continue southwest on the road as it gradually climbs up Cottonwood Wash. After about 1.5 miles, you will reach Cottonwood Spring at about 1,360 meters. There are some huge boulders along the road here.
From the vicinity of Cottonwood Spring, start climbing southwest towards Point 2,061, the highpoint of the Granite Mountains. The route is rugged, rocky, and brushy, but there are no obstacles. A GPS would be useful here to track the correct route. We climbed the wrong gully and ended up on Point 1916 before we reached the true summit.
Hiking Distance: About 7 miles round trip.
Elevation Gain: 860 meters.
Here is the last communication from the folks who run the preserve (GMDRC):
Even though Granite Peak is just inside the reserve boundary, we don't mind if people climb the peak, as long as you are accessing it from outside the reserve. You can get up to the peak via Willow Springs Basin, Budweiser Canyon, or Bull Canyon, all of which are beautiful areas.
So DON'T use the DPS route (Cottonwood Wash), as indicated on SP currently (Apr 09, 2009). I specifically asked them about Willow Springs Basin, and that really looks like a better route.
Posted Apr 9, 2009 10:40 am
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"One man's folly is another man's wife."