An old pack trail (mule trail) probably dating to around 1912 ascends about two-thirds of the way to the summit, reaching the remains of an old mining camp on the mountainside. This is a very good trail up to that point, but after the mining camp the trail is poor to the summit. When we climbed this trail around 1993, we lost the trail after the mining camp and ended up scrambling over rocks to the summit.
It takes 2 to 2-1/2 hours to hike from the end of Bonanza Rd. to the mining camp. Allow another 1-1/2 hours to reach the summit. The total elevation gain to the summit is about 2000'.
Although this trail is less travelled and harder to get to than the Mormon Trail, it is probably an easier route to climb (at least to the mining camp level). Since the trail was built for mules, the slope is moderate and the footing is good.
The Pack Trail is shown on the Las Vegas NE topographic map, and appears faintly on the Topozone reproduction.
Follow the instructions to reach the trailhead of the Mormon Trail.
The trailhead for the Pack Trail is about 0.6 mile beyond the start of the Mormon Trail. If you have a regular car, park at the end of Bonanza Rd. If you have a high clearance vehicle, you can get about 1/2 mile closer to the trailhead. (At the end of Bonanza Rd, the dirt road is very difficult. For easier access, drive about 1 block north on Los Feliz Ave and look for a dirt road on the right.)
The trailhead is shown here on the Topozone map.
From the Mormon Trail trailhead, keep walking (or driving) on the main 4WD road, across the shallow ravine. Follow this road for another 0.6 miles. The road winds back and forth and climbs about 400 feet. At some point, the road will become impassible to 4WDs and you'll have to walk. The road approaches the mouth of a narrow ravine. When you encounter a fork just before the mouth of the ravine, keep left, continuing upward into the narrows.
Although the pack trail is easy to follow once you are on it, the trailhead can be difficult to find, due to erosion in the ravine. Once you have passed the narrow portal of the ravine, starting looking on the left for the pack trail, which starts within the next 100 feet. (You may have to walk back and forth on the road to find it.) The trail heads up a steep slope and follows a ridge. Once you find the trail, you should be able to follow it without difficulty to the mining camp. Remember that mules once took this route, so if you find yourself hiking through terrain that a mule couldn't handle, you are probably off track.
At the mining camp, you'll find the stone foundation of a small building. There is also a small mine tunnel a short distance away. We have visited the mining camp twice - in 1993 and 2000 -- and found that little had changed, with no obvious signs of other visitors.
After the mining camp, the trail to the summit is much more difficult. We lost the trail and had to scramble to the summit. If you reach the summit -- or fail to -- please report your details here.
If you do get to the summit, be careful to note the route you took, as the returning trail is probably poorly marked at the top. Be sure to allow yourself enough daylight to descend.
No climbing gear required.
There is no water or shade anywhere on the mountain, so prepare accordingly.
See other warnings for the Mormon Trail.
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