OverviewMcCullough Mountain is the prominent mountain one sees when looking south of Las Vegas about 30 miles or so. It is the highest point in the South McCullough Range. It is also #138 of Nevada's most prominent peaks. Nevada Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence.
The McCollough Range includes 2 distinct ranges. The northern range is volcanic in origin. The southern, where McCullough Mountains resides, is more expansive. Rattlesnakes are home here with the timber and shady alcoves. One should watch where stepping and placing their hands.
Getting ThereHiking from Pine Spring, East Side
Drive South from Las Vegas on Highway 95 to Searchlight. Turn right (West) onto HWY 164 (Nipton Road) and drive west for 8.1 miles to a stop sign at a dirt road (The turnoff is 1.2 miles west of Walking Box Ranch Road, which has a road sign). Turn right onto this dirt road and drive north for 4.4 miles to a fork in the road. Take the left fork. Drive another 1.1 miles to an intersection with a powerline road. Cross the powerline road and go straight west for 1.4 miles to a fork in the road. Turn right and drive north and down off the ridge; this part is a bit steep and rocky (a high clearance vehicle with 4WD is recommended for this). Follow this road as it curves running down a wash. Pass an obvious left turn that just goes to a campsite in the wash. The road continues down the sandy wash, eventually bends to the left, and starts up another sandy wash heading west. About 0.1 miles past an old corral, the road ends at Pine Spring This is the trailhead.
Take I-15 South past Primm for 11 miles exiting left (East) onto Nipton Road (HWY 164). Drive East to the Nevada State Line, then continue East another 5.3 miles to a dirt road with a stop sign on the north side of the highway. Turn left on the powerline road and drive north for 5.1 miles to a cross road. Turn left west for 1.4 miles to a fork in the road. Turn right and drive north and down off the ridge; this part is a bit steep and rocky (a high clearance vehicle with 4WD is recommended for this). Follow this road as it curves running down a wash. Pass an obvious left turn that just goes to a campsite in the wash. The road continues down the sandy wash, eventually bends to the left, and starts up another sandy wash heading west. About 0.1 miles past an old corral, the road ends at Pine Spring This is the trailhead.
Hiking From the West, Railroad Spring
Take I-15 South to Primm/State Line (Exit 1). Go East onto Underpass Road. Before heading over the overpass after the casinos veer left through the yellow arrow signs towards the railroad tracks. Turn left (North) onto the dirt road that runs parallel to the railroad. At 3/4 mile, go over the tracks and follow the powerline road NE for about 7.5 miles going over Beer Bottle Pass.
Another 1/2 mile East of the pass, turn right (South). After about 2 miles turn East (left) through a corral complex, then South (right)into a wash and up to a gate. Open the gate and then close it once you've passed it. Follow the deep and sandy route for about 5.5 miles then turn East (left). This wash takes you to a tin shack marked Railroad Spring, approximately 11 miles from the main power line road. This is the trailhead. The summit is straight to the East from here.
This hike is shorter than the route from the East, but much tougher to reach the trailhead. Here is a link to a trip report of this route.
Red Tape / CampingNone that I am aware of. Camping is primitive and all minimum methods should be used here. Gas, lodging, and food are available in Searchlight or Primm. Furhter information can be found by contacting the BLM in Las Vegas (702) 515-5000.
The HikeThis hike is an off trail 8.75 mile loop with about 2970 feet elevation of total gain. Here is detailed information on this route. Another great source for this hike step by step can be found at Jim Boone's site. South McCullough Wilderness Area
There are more routes for this mountain, like the west approach from Railroad Spring, but Jim Boone's route from Pine Spring is the easier trailhead to get to.
Weather Report for Searchlight, NV