Start at the Mary Beale Nature Trail, which is located at the end of the visitor center parking lot. The elevation here is about 1,310 meters. Edgar Peak rises prominently above you from here. You will immediately descend slightly, then start out across the desert flats on the loop trail. When the trail reaches it's northernmost extent, leave the trail and start heading north across the rough desert flats towards the canyon entrance at 1,400 meters.
Head across the relatively level desert wash, then turn left and start heading up the canyon. The route up the canyon is rugged, and filled with thick brush. Once you enter the canyon, you will basically follow this drainage all the way up to a 2,020 meter saddle between Edgar and Fountain Peaks. The drainage winds its way through the canyon, and there are a few intersecting drainages, but your goal is to stay in this drainage the entire way. Once at the saddle, you'll see Edgar Peak off to the north. Turn right and start heading up the rugged crest, bypassing any obstacles along the way. Make the final push to the summit, where you can enjoy the desert views.
Hiking Distance: About 5 miles round trip.
Elevation Gain: About 2,900' or 875 meters.
Providence Mountains State Recreation Area is closed, and there is a locked gate 2 miles before the Visitor Center; so you have to park before the gate. This adds 2 miles each way; so the trek is now 9 miles with 3800' elevation gain. There is a caretaker staying at the Visitor Center. He doesn't mind hikers, but if he doesn't know you're hiking he'll wonder what you're up to when he sees your vehicle parked at the gate. It might be a good idea to leave a note on your vehicle letting him know where you're headed. Even since he's been there, they have had some problems with vandalism.
Posted Mar 3, 2013 6:31 pm
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"The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till the other is ready."
--Henry David Thoreau