OverviewLying some 60 miles south of Mount Stirling, the northernmost named peak in the Spring Mountains of southern Nevada, home of such well-known and eclectic peaks as Mt. Charleston, Mummy Mountain, Bridge Mountain and Black Velvet Peak, is Devil Peak, the southernmost named peak in the range.
Steep on all sides, this obscure little peak, with a striking pyramidal shape, lies only two miles from the California/Nevada border outside of Jean, Nevada. Devil Peak is clearly visible as the most prominent peak resting on the western outskirts of this small and uncharming gambling town.
Though the going is steep, hiking to Devil’s summit is an easy endeavor. The most common route, detailed in Andy Zdon’s classic desert hiking guidebook ‘Desert Summits’, climbs the peak via its south ridge, gaining about 2300 feet over a mile and a half. The views from the summit, and along the sharp ridge leading to the highpoint, are stellar.
And speaking of Zdon’s fabulous book, he comments that the rarely visited peak’s register had not been signed in 6 years when he stopped by. Being the lover of obscure peaks that I am, that’s what motivated me to check it out. Sadly, obscure peaks don’t always remain obscure…especially when there’s a guidebook mention. On my visit, 15 years after Zdon’s, I observed a couple dozen entries…still not bad, though.
Getting ThereDevil Peak is about a 30-minute drive from Las Vegas.
From Las Vegas, take highway 15 south toward California. About 24 miles or so outside of the city, get off at the Jean exit. It’ll be recognizable by the casinos and the generally distasteful neon flavor.
At the bottom of the exit, go east under the interstate and then turn south onto a frontage road that runs behind the casinos, etc.
Follow the frontage road for almost 6 miles until the pavement turns to dirt. A hundred yards after turning to dirt, the road bends sharply to the right and goes under the interstate. Follow it.
Once through the tunnel, you’ll immediate encounter a fork, though the right-bearing road is fainter. Stick to the main dirt road. This road heads directly toward Devil Peak, which is very obvious.
Continuing on the main dirt road, ignore the occasional side road that branches off. Although the main road bends a little as get closer to Devil Peak, rest assured that it’s the correct one.
Rough in places, requiring a high clearance vehicle in the best of conditions and a 4x4 in the worst, about 5 miles after leaving the highway tunnel the road will enter the mouth of a canyon below the base of Devil Peak. You might as well park here because the road gets a bit washed out beyond this point.
Red TapeNone that I know of.
Not so much an issue of red tape as an issue of safety, there are many open mines in the area of Devil Peak. I recommend that you do not explore them.
When To ClimbYear-round, though the summers are brutally and unreasonably hot. There’s no water in the area, so bring lots of your own – particularly if you’re idiotic, I mean, courageous enough to do the peak in the summer.
CampingDevil Peak is on BLM land. Primitive camping is allowed.
Those requiring creature comforts can stay in one of the casinos/hotels in Jean, if they want. Not sure why you’d want to.
Mountain ConditionsGranted Devil Peak is a bit south of Las Vegas, but the weather should be comparable.
The peak could be done in a blizzard, which of course would never occur there anyway.