OverviewAlthough appearing as a less-than-spectacular mountain as you approach it on highway 95 near Laughlin, Nevada, Spirit Mountain is, in fact, a spectacularly beautiful granite peak. One will discover this if one takes the time to go there.
Sacred to the Indians, the wilderness of Spirit Mountain resembles a Zen garden in its tranquility and sublime and simple beauty. While exploring Its crag-covered slopes, its rugged canyons and gullies, and when taking in the far-reaching views from its summit, it's not hard to see why the Indians hold the mountain in high esteeem. 'course, the spirits of their departed tribal leaders living on the mountain have something to do with it as well.
Despite being a somewhat obscure mountain, its proximity to Laughlin and Las Vegas, its ease of access, its striking topography, and its amazing views draw the occasional visitor.
From the summit, one can see the Spring Mountains of southern Nevada to the northwest, Clark Mountain, New York Mountain and Castle Peak of Mojave National Preserve to the west, and Hualapai Peak and the Colorodo River to the east.
A multitude of routes to the summit exist. The easiest, without question, is a class 2 (occasional easy class 3) cross-country, gully route that leads to the summit from the west. An interesting class 5 route traversing the peak's south ridge is one that I would gladly return to try.
The cragging on the mountain is top notch. The granite is superb, and there is available terrain for any and all levels of expertise.
Spirit Mountain, which is also sometimes referred to as Newberry Peak, is the highpoint of the Newberry Mountains.
*You might also check out a fledgling outdoor site (www.backcountry-explorer.com), which provides access to trip reports, beta, photos and other stuff covering hiking, scrambling, climbing and canyoneering around Las Vegas. A new hiking and scrambling guidebook, Rambles & Scrambles: The Definitive Guide to Peakbagging Around Las Vegas, is now available.
Getting ThereSpirit Mountain is located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. To get there, take highway 93/95 south from Las Vegas toward Boulder City. Before reaching Boulder City, take the highway 95 turn-off just past Railroad Pass. The turn-off is signed for Laughlin, Nevada and Needles, California.
Once on highway 95, you will reach Searchlight, Nevada after about 35 miles. Searchlight has gas and basic food stuff. About 8 miles after Searchlight, still traveling on highway 95, one will come to the very obscure and scrawny community of Cal-Nev-Ari, Nevada. Don't bother stopping. Continue another mile or two to the signed Christmas Tree Pass Road turn-off on the left.
Turn onto this well-graded dirt road and head east for about 8 miles. The road will eventually cross a pass. The mountain on the north side of the pass and still slightly east is Spirit Mountain; the mountain on the south side of the pass, as far as I know, is unnamed and has antennae on its summit. A short distance past the pass, look for a faint dirt road heading to the north from the Christmas Tree Pass Road.
Take the faint dirt road and drive in a quarter mile or so to a small turn-off (about 1-2 parking spaces) on the left. The road continues on a short distance but degenerates. From the parking area, Spirit Mountain is the gorgeous, granite peak to the north.
Red TapeNo permits or passes are required.
The mountain lies within a wilderness area, so please respect it and practice no-trace travel while visiting the area.
When To ClimbThe mountain can be climbed year round, but the cooler months of fall/winter/spring are far preferable. This may surprise you, but the summers in southern Nevada can be disturbingly hot - like 115-120 degrees!
CampingAlthough camping in wilderness areas tends to inflict unnecessary injury to the area, there is an obvious camp area that has seen traffic near the summit of the mountain. The spot, incidentally, is perfectly suited for camping and offers up fantastic views of the Colorado River below.
Mountain ConditionsThe mountain is remote. Don't expect to be able to find any reliable, up-to-date information on conditions. Fortunately, southern Nevada has good, predictable, stable weather, so no real worries.
Of course, you can always check the weather in Laughlin, NV to get the latest scoop.