La Madre Mountain sits East of the Spring Mountains as part of the La Madre Mountains. Congress designated the La Madre Mountains a wilderness area in 2002. La Madre Mountain stands out from its surrounding peaks because of a distinctive scar, a large bare area visible for miles. Redrock National Conservation Area (RRNCA) lies just to the South of La Madre Mountain.
La Madre may be accessed a variety of ways, via State Route 157, via RRNCA, or via unmarked 4X4 roads just East of RRNCA, although recent construction has limited access through these areas. The Northern route begins by driving West on State Route 157 from US95 approximately 8.5 miles, then left onto an unmarked gravel road. Driving another 1.5 miles another gravel road intersects on the left. Taking this road approximately another mile, a gate along with construction/mining equipment, will block your passage. As of March 31, 2007, the gate was broken and open. Normally it is here you will park and begin the Northern route. Despite being usually blocked, a road continues up into the area. If you have a 4X4 you can drive a bit further and save some leg work. Walk around the gate (if repaired) and begin hiking. You will pass some old mine entrances and additional construction equipment on the road. The road will eventually end and you will then head Southeast up to a ridge, where La Madre, and the distinctive scar, will come into view. Descending a slope, you will drop down and cross a drainage to a short wall. Climbing up the wall out of the drainage, you will continue to head Southeast. You will then gain a ridge and follow it up towards La Madre, passing the scar on your left. Continuing up the limestone ridge you will encounter slight exposure here before reaching the summit.
The Southern approach used to be accessed by a dirt road approximately 4.5 miles form the intersection of Charleston and Rampart. Due to new housing being built, this area too is affected by construction equipment and related man made obstacles. The back roads lead to an old jeep trail, which heads Northwest toward the base of the mountain. If you can access the jeep trail, this is where you would begin the usual Southern route. At the end of the jeep trail, the route will become steep as you cross several drainages. You will aim for the base of the mountain and veer to the right as referenced below in the following Southern approach.
An alternative Southern approach option is to drive into RRNCA approximately 3 miles to the signed Sandstone Quarry parking area. Park here and begin the hike to Turtlehead Peak. Hike the trail to Turtlehead until you get to the saddle to the left of the Turtlehead summit. It is on this ridge you will veer left (North). La Madre Mountain is directly ahead of you as you hike across the ridge. Remain on this ridge until you drop down to another saddle. You will now begin to hike North up the steep limestone terrain, to the base of the cliff walls ahead of you. Once you have made it to the base of the walls, head East along to the base and around the right side of the walls. Just before you head North again, drop down near a notched outcropping. In this general area you will see a faint path from time to time, and an occasional cairn. You are now heading North up a steep gully. This area is loose with rock, so caution is required. Remaining close to the base of the walls on the left may facilitate the climbing, but caution is necessary as loose rock is abundant. Continue straight up to the saddle, once attained, hike right (East) along the ridge. Again route finding is necessary, hike another half mile up and you will reach the summit of La Madre.
There are no permits required to hike this mountain. Parking or driving in RRNCA requires a $5.00 entry fee, or a $20.00 annual pass. La Madre Mountain is a lengthy hike, and if you think you will get back to your car after visiting hours, call the Visitors Center (515-5367) and advise them (otherwise you will get cited).
Bring some good boots for this hike, the limestone will slice and dice your boots! Additionally, watch out for snakes.
When To Climb
Don't climb this peak in the summer. There are no water sources and the temperatures become dangerously hot. You will find little shade on this hike. This is a very strenuous hike, despite its mild elevation, a Southern approach gains approximately 3,400 feet.
There is a local campground on SR 159 on the left, approximately two miles before you reach the Redrock Visitors Center.
The Redrock Visitors Center are always happy to answer questions. (702)515-5367. Summer wildfires have left the central portion of the RRNCA area charred, but once you are hiking you will not go through the burned area.