The Meadow Valley Mountains lie roughly east of the Sheep Range and west of the Mormon Mountains in a relatively obscure part of the Mojave Desert. The tallest in the range, Cathedral Peak, rises to 5,772 feet but is not named on USGS topographic maps. However, a USGS marker on the summit confirms the peak’s title. Despite the area’s lack of recognition, Cathedral Peak is an impressive chunk of rock.
At the very top of the mountain, you can make out, from a distance, a smallish caprock marking the summit. Reaching the top can be the most fun of the whole climb. In spite of the perceived exposure, it’s probably only a class 3 scramble as the ledges are solid. Do be wary of loose rock throughout the climb – on ledges and talus fields. Total relief from Kane Springs Valley is 2750’ with approximately 3.8 miles distance from the road to summit.
At the foot of the mountain is widely scattered debris belonging to a crashed air force jet fighter. Wreckage from two jet engines, a weapons pylon and scrap bearing the USAF emblem are about all that is identifiable. Further investigation suggests this was an F-4 Phantom that probably crashed in the 70's.
From the intersection of Highways 93 and 168 (Coyote Springs development) head north. Drive approximately 10 miles north on 93 and turn off onto 317 toward Elgin. This puts you into Kane Springs Valley. Drive another 10 miles on good gravel and find a place to park. There is no established trailhead, or any landmark for that matter. For this trailhead you will either need a topographic map to interpret your location or a GPS unit.
Park along the road near 37deg. 3’16”N, 114deg. 49’47”W.
Total drive from North Vegas is about 70 miles.
No permits or fees required, but Leave No Trace ethics are encouraged. The mountain is within the Meadow Valley Range Wilderness, administered by the Ely district BLM Office.
When to Climb
Winter, early spring and late fall are probably best. This is a desert peak and so temperatures above 80 start to get really uncomfortable. There is no water or shade.
Kane Springs Valley has no designated camping and no services or amenities, not to mention that it’s a rather stark place to camp anyhow. If you must camp, pretty much anywhere there is a pullout and place to pitch a tent is acceptable – it’s all public land! Bring all of your water.
The nearest weather forecast can be obtained from Alamo, NV. Given the obscurity of Cathedral Peak, the Caliente BLM Field Office will only be able to provide conditions for Kane Springs Valley.
Bureau of Land Management
US Highway 93, Building #1
P.O. Box 237
Caliente NV 89008
Office Hours: 7:30 am - 4:15 pm M-F
Geology & Vegetation
Rocks of the Meadow Valley Mountains consist of 200- to 600-million-year-old sedimentary rocks in the south and 60-million-year-old and younger volcanic rocks in the north. The structure is typical of the Basin and Range province and is characterized by north-trending normal faults. Cathedral Peak lies in the southern end of the range and is comprised of the same kind of sedimentary dolostone rock found throughout southern Nevada.
In terms of Vegetation, the valley has lots of creosote, rhatany, indigo bush, cholla, big galleta grass and some kind of pokey bush that's similar to crucifixion thorn. Higher up there's desert almond, Mojave yucca, agave, barrel cactus and big sagebrush. The east slope of Cathedral Peak has burned (probably in 2005). Aside from the invasive weeds, theres lots of apricot mallow and mexican cliffrose. At the 5200' saddle, burned Joshua trees are resprouting.