From wherever you decided to park on the way in, follow the old road south into a wide pinyon/juniper-filled drainage to the north/northeast of Mt. Stirling. Although the summit of Mt. Stirling is approximately southwest of you, you will not be able to see it.
At about the 6400-foot mark along the road, start looking for another dirt road that branches off of the main one. Hang a right on this secondary dirt road and start following it as it gradually switchbacks up. As you ascend, you should be able to make out that you are working your way up a forested ridge that heads more or less southwest to a sub-peak (c. 7940 feet) to the northwest of Mt. Stirling’s summit.
At any point that seems reasonable, leave the dirt road and head directly up the steep, but easy, spur ridge toward the sub-peak above.
* Alternately, from wherever you parked your vehicle, you could head south/southwest cross-country across washes and through brush and trees until you hit the main ridge crest above. From there, head for the highest point in the vicinity…and hope it’s Mt. Stirling.
Route-finding is this area is not particularly hard, and the terrain is typically user-friendly, but due to brush, trees and general topographical features, it’s not immediately apparent as you ascend below the main ridge crest where the actual summit is. Once the ridge crest is gained, it should become obvious.
This is not a difficult endeavor. A little trial and error should get the job done.
From the vicinity of the sub-peak I mentioned above, head southeast along a pleasant ridge toward the obvious highpoint a short distance away. Check out the funky green broken cliffs on Mt. Stirling’s northwest face as you approach it. Also, be sure to check out the expansive views seen from along the crest, as well as the numerous petroglyphs hiding on the slabs and boulders in this area.
The summit views are grand. Sign the register, take a picture.
For those interested, the sub-peak you passed over or by on the way up is the recommended spot from which to view Papoose Lake. Check out this
link for directions on how to correctly spot the lakebed.
Your basic desert hiking gear in all but the most unusual conditions should suffice. Bring enough water, as there isn’t any to be found here.
A map doesn’t hurt either.