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Frenchman Mountain

 
Frenchman Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Nevada, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.17910°N / 114.9967°W

Object Title: Frenchman Mountain

Elevation: 4052 ft / 1235 m

 

Page By: redsplashman23

Created/Edited: May 18, 2002 / Oct 7, 2009

Object ID: 150987

Hits: 30638 

Page Score: 88.18%  - 26 Votes 

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Overview

Frenchman Mountain is the broad, prominent peak forming the eastern boundary of the Las Vegas Valley. It is a rocky, treeless ridge visible from everywhere in Las Vegas. It is due east of downtown Las Vegas and several major east-west streets end there, including Washington and Bonanza. Frenchman Mountain is often mistakenly referred to as Sunrise Mountain (which is a separate mountain to the north, on the other side of Lake Mead Blvd.). The chief interest in climbing the mountain is the fabulous view it offers of Las Vegas. (Arguably, only the Stratosphere Tower offers a better one.) From the summit, you can see Lake Mead on the other side.

The mountain rises about 1500' to 2000' above the surrounding desert. The summit can be reached by several trails, most of which deteriorate into rock scrambles near the summit.

At the top, there are two summits approximately the same height, about 1/4 mile apart. Both are capped by radio installations, at least one of which is a radio repeater for Metro police.

Trail Overview

The only foolproof route to the summit is a dirt access road on the back (east) side. At least two other trails approach from the city side (west), but they become very rugged and hard to follow near the summit. Probably the best route from the west is the Pack Trail which is less rugged and easier to follow than the nearby Mormon Trail.

The dirt road climbs about 1500 feet of vertical elevation and takes 1-1/2 hours to hike up, while the trails on the west climb 2000 feet and could easily take 4 hours one-way. If your main goal is to reach the summit, hike up the dirt road. If you just want a good view of the city and don't care if you reach the top, you can try the western routes.

The two trails from the west begin in an area of rocky desert behind a prominent, gold-spired Mormon Temple (photo) which is visible from anywhere in eastern Las Vegas.

Red Tape

The mountain is on public [BLM] land, and no permits are required to hike. Posted signs on Lake Mead Blvd. indicate that camping is not allowed on the mountain or the area immediately it (but the likelihood of running into anyone who might object is very low).

Be aware though, that just recently on the summit they have now put signs to stay out of the fenced area, where the highest point resides. If there is a summit register within this area, if you sign it then you are admitting that you just trespassed. They could have a security camera up there too, stay safe and don't take the risk!

NOTE: This is something new within the last year.


 
Posted
No Trespassing sign on the summit.

When To Climb

Technically, the mountain can be climbed any time of year, but summer should be avoided due to 100+ temperatures. There is no water or shade anywhere on the mountain. (However, you can still hike the dirt road in the evening.)

In the winter, snow is rare, and does not stay on the ground for long. The biggest weather concern is wind, which is the major form of bad weather in Las Vegas. Cold wind can make the hike very uncomfortable. Consult a wind forecast if possible, such as this one.

Urban Safety

Being adjacent to the city, the base of Frenchman Mountain can be a beer-drinkin' party place at night. It is also a traditional dumping ground, both for trash and occasional dead bodies.

In recent years, however, upscale housing has moved closer to the western slope of the mountain, pushing out many of the partyers and dead bodies. We feel reasonably safe parking and hiking anywhere around the base of the mountain, but we do avoid leaving valuables in our car.

Once you start hiking on the mountain itself, you are unlikely to encounter anyone, since the mountain is rarely climbed by locals (who prefer to smoke, drink and gamble). It is remarkable that such a prominent landmark is so neglected.

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plasmasnakeUntitled Comment

Hasn't voted

I would prefer to see the comment in parenthesis; "rarely climbed by locals (who prefer to smoke, drink and gamble)" removed from this article since it in now way is representive of the Las Vegas community. Las Vegas locals do not prefer to smoke, drink and gamble. If you are a visitor here, all you may see is people drinking smoking and gambling, keep in mind those people are all tourists, they are not locals and even if some of them are locals there are not enough locals gambling drinking and smoking in casinos for a comment like that to be valid. There are "many" people who live in Las Vegas that are living their lives and struggleing just like in the rest of the world, and to say that the locals of Las Vegas are just a bunch of hedonists, is uncalled for. Please correct this article out of respect for the people of this community.
Posted Jan 11, 2005 1:38 pm
docwatt1959Untitled Comment

Hasn't voted

I have been living in the vegas valley since 1978, I moved here when i was 18 years old and i met some local young teens my own age who were born here in the valley and after hanging out with them at the base of frenchman mountain were Bonaza rd came to end. there was a porch and a cave at the foot of the mountain where high school teens gathered to drink and smoke pot. I remeber them telling stories of a old woman living in the mountain inside the cave, the storie was she had onwed the mountain or had inherited it from her family and chose to live there some time during the late 1930s to the mid or late 1960s when she was found frozen to death. My question is has anyone else heard about this story ?


if so, could you please share some information on weather its true or not !


"Thank You"


"Tour Guide"
Posted Nov 9, 2005 11:49 pm

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