The Providence Mountains
Fountain Peak is a superb desert peak in the providence mountain range located in the Mojave National Preserve in south eastern California. The peak is mainly comprised of Volcanic Rhyolite which gives the peak it's redish color. From the summit, views of the surrounding desert are spectacular in all directions. Desert Bighorn sheep are very common in the Providence range although the very shy and elusive animals are rarely seen by visitors. This is rugged country, and hiking is difficult with objective hazards like no trail, cactus spines a plenty, and loose talus.
Exit from U.S. Interstate 40 at Essex Road.
If driving from the west, Essex road is 50 miles east of Ludlow.
If driving from the east Essex road is 56 miles west of Needles.
Go north on Essex road and drive 16 miles following signs to Mitchell Caverns State Park. Park in the visitor center parking area.
Begin the hike on the Crystal Spring trail which starts behind the visitor center. The trail ends at Crystal Spring, from here begin crosscountry up to the top of the canyon, from there follow the ridge northward to the peak. Be prepared for some class 3 scrambling on loose talus near the summit. It's about 4 miles round-trip and 2750' elevation gain.
Mitchell Caverns is a State Park and charges a $5.00 per vehicle fee to park in the lot. Envelopes and an "Iron Ranger" self serve pay station are located at the Campground kiosk.
No special permits or passes are required for hiking or backcountry camping. If planning an overnight or multi-day trip, you should fill out a voluntary backcountry registration form available from the visitor center, so your unattended vehicle doesn't attract concern for your whereabouts.
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Mojave National Preserve
When To Climb
Climbing season in the Providence Mountains is November through April. The summer months are extremely hot with daytime temperatures typically exceeding 100º Fahrenheit.
Camping is available near the trailhead at east end of the parking area of the Mitchell Caverns visitor center. There are six developed sites. Potable water is available in the campground as well as flush toilets. Camping fees are $12.00 per night. Self registration at the Campground kiosk. This campground is highly recommended for it's convenient proximity to the trailhead and excellent views of the surrounding desert. The sunrise is spectacular!
Other camprounds in the area are Hole in the Wall and Mid Hills. The latter of which, is situated within a beautiful Pinyon Pine and Juniper grove and is also highly recommended.
Backpackers and hikers can camp within the Preserve by going at least 0.5 mile from any day-use area or road and a 0.25 mile from water sources. There is no official registration system, so let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Backcountry camping is limited to a 14-day stay. Few trail signs exist, so take a good map and become familiar with the area you are about to camp in. Do not set up in a drainage or dry wash as flash floods can develop quickly in the desert.
National Weather Service forecast Click here
Intellicast weather forecast for Essex, Ca. click here
Mojave National Preserve Desert Information Center
72157 Baker Blvd./ PO Box 241
Baker, CA 92309
Mojave National Preserve