Though certainly not the highest mountains of southern Nevada, the Mormon Mountains are an interesting diversion northeast of Las Vegas for I-15 drivers headed to or from southern Utah. Most observers will be drawn to the highly distinctive conical profile of Moapa Peak at the range's southern end, closest to the highway. However, for range highpointers, the less-than-impressive Mormon Peak is your goal. And for those checking off the "prominence" list, Mormon Peak offers a highly-respectable 4,034 feet of it. This is enough to come in at number 24 on the Nevada Prominence List. Though entirely do-able in the summer, it is quite warm, even at this not-so-low elevation, so get a pre-sunrise start if hiking during the warm months. Snow is very possible in the winter.
NOTE: This page was originally written by DesertRat.
NOTE: Getting to the trailhead for Mormon Peak requires lots of travel over very tough terrain on primitive roads. Enter at your own risk. Definitely need 4x4 and make sure you have spare tires!!!
From exit 90 on I-15 in Nevada (exit 90 coming from Las Vegas, Exit 91 when coming from Mesquite), drive west on NV 168 about 2.7 miles to Meadow Valley Road on the north side of the highway. Zero your odometer, turn north here, and drive about 8.4 miles to the end of pavement, passing some business. At mile 10.6, cross under the railroad from east to west, avoiding the "no trespassing" sign straight ahead. This is the mainline of the UPRR you're following between LA and Salt Lake. At mile 14.1, go thru a hopefully-open gate. On our first attempt here, this gate was locked and , but was open in 2008. At mile 14.5, cross under the tracks again from west to east, possibly encountering some shallow water. At mile 14.7, cross the Meadow Valley creek. Put on your sandles and walk it first and decide if you are comfortable driving it. Our Nissan Xterra rental 4WD had no problem with the 1.5 feet or so of water in early June. At mile 15.3, turn right at a fork. At about mile 19.8, turn right from the main road and head up a track in a wash toward the mountains. This track will leave the wash fairly soon and head up a low bench. Drive as far as you're comfortable, but you should be able to go at least six miles on this last section of road from that last right turn into the wash. You'll probably be able to make seven miles and park somewhere near one of the "prospect"s shown on the topo map. Park in a safe spot. It may take you 1.5 to 2 hours from the interstate to your parking spot. High-clearance vehicles are needed after the first RR crossing.
Note: As of 11-30-04, a new wilderness designation has affected the roads into the area. See link.
Meadow Valley Creek
As most of Nevada is, this is classic BLM land and no special permits are needed. As mentioned in "Getting There", you may encounter a locked gate between the two RR crossings, but I think that is not probable. Do not trespass on the UPRR (Union Pacific Railroad) property. As always, carry out all your trash, do not damage the land, and, if you have time, carry out others' trash, too.
Typical primitive car camping at the "trailhead". No nearby official campgrounds. The little town of Glendale at the interstate has very few services other than a simple gas station near the exit.
If you are coming from Mesquite the exit number is 91. It is exit 90 if coming from Las Vegas. As of Dec 11,2012 there were two gates to past thru, both were open. We turned right ~ 0.2 after the second gate and made our way over to the "first ruins". 2.5 hours up from there to the summit.
"After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world."
--Oscar Wilde on Absinthe