Like nearby Moapa Peak
, Muddy Peak is a desert classic. An absolute must-do for the desert peak enthusiastic.
When viewed from I-15 as one travels between Las Vegas and Utah, Muddy Peak, though far off the highway, appears as an impressive, pointy summit to the south just outside the boundary of Valley of Fire State Park
and not too far from the very cool St. Thomas ghost town
, the remnants of an old town that was put under water when Hoover Dam was completed in the 1930's. With the quickly shrinking volume of water in Lake Mead, the ghost town is starting to re-surface. There are still folks around today who grew up in that town before it went under water.
Back to the mountain...
Though not the highpoint of its range, the Muddy Mountains, Muddy Peak is by far its showpiece. The peak justifiably ranks as one of the best, most impressive, and elusive of all the fine desert peaks that southern Nevada has to offer. When approaching the imposing summit block of Muddy Peak, reaching the summit itself appears to be an impossible task without ropes and/or technical climbing abilities. For this reason, many have turned back just shy of the summit. Fortunately, the summit block's NW gully offers a non-technical route up to the top.
Not only is Muddy Peak elusive for the timid, but its standard route, a 4.5 mile cross-country jaunt from Hidden Valley and up the intimidating class 3-4 NW gully, is physically challenging with its several ups and downs, its scree slopes, and its steep climbing. Additionally, the 10-12 miles of rugged dirt road needed to access the peak require a high clearance vehicle in the best of conditions. These three great factors join together to weed out most of the schmucks before they get to the summit. This said - Muddy Peak is a fine and pristine peak.
The feeling of achievement one gets upon reaching Muddy's summit are considerable. The views from the top are incredible. With Lake Mead only a short distance away, much of nearby scummy Las Vegas obscured behind the range's other peaks, and many of the area's notable mountains, such as Frenchman Mountain
, the high peaks of the Sheep Mountains and the Spring Mountains, Moapa Peak, Virgin Peak, and Signal Peak
, visible, the vistas are extraordinary.
Muddy Peak fits nicely alongside Moapa Peak, McFarland Peak
, and Bridge Mountain
as one of the classic peaks of southern Nevada.
*You might also check out a fledgling outdoor site (www.backcountry-explorer.com), which provides access to trip reports, beta, photos and other stuff covering hiking, scrambling, climbing and canyoneering around Las Vegas. A great new hiking and scrambling guidebook, Rambles & Scrambles: The Definitive Guide to Peakbagging Around Las Vegas, is now available.
From Las Vegas, head north on I-15 toward Utah. About a half hour outside of town, you will come to the adequately signed exit for the popular Valley of Fire State Park. There's also a small casino there at the exit - big shocker!
Exit and head south for about 3 miles on the paved road leading to Valley of Fire. Soon, the road starts to bend toward the left. As it does, a paved road, which quickly turns to well-graded dirt, continues straight ahead toward Muddy Peak, which at this point is readily visible in the distance.
Once on the dirt road, which is known as the Bitter Springs Road, continue south/southeast for around 8-10 miles, ignoring minor dirt roads branching off occasionally here and there. Along the way, you will pass by an old sandstone quarry in a sort of canyon, where you will find a bunch of trash and old machinery. It's around here that the road suddenly deteriorates in quality. Fortunately, the road improves somewhat a mile later. Once out of the canyon, you will continue by winding up and around some ridges and then find yourself dropping back down into the beginnings of a valley on the south side of the canyon you just passed through. At this point, start looking for a fork in the road with a small BLM sign at the junction. Take the right fork.
Once on the right fork, follow the shabby dirt road for a mile or so to an obvious parking area and unreadable, rusted signage that says you can't go any further.
This is the trailhead.
The one-way driving distance from the exit at I-15 to the trailhead is around 14 miles.
None. However, the area is contained within the Muddy Mountains Wilderness ...
"Wilderness is land set aside as part of wild America, where man can be a visitor. The natural environment has not been disturbed. Travel is restricted to foot or horseback. No mechanized equipment is allowed. "
Please respect it.
When To Climb
Year-round, but winter is by far the best time to climb Muddy Peak. Not only are the temperatures considerably cooler in the winter but the peak is low enough in elevation that snow and ice should be minimal or non-existent.
The Muddy Mountains Wilderness is under the management of the BLM. Camping is allowed without a permit. Minimum impact, as always, is appropriate.
Weather for the Las Vegas
a link with GPS info, pics, etc (courtesy of DonnieB