Fortification Hill is an extinct volcano located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on the Arizona side of Hoover Dam. The trail is most popular in the Springtime when the flowers bloom on the mesa.
From McCarren Airport drive East on the 215 Beltway for 9.9 miles to East/South 515/93/95. Drive 11.8 miles, past two stop lights, until you reach US93 (The Truck Route). Turn left and remain on 93 until you reach a security checkpoint for Hoover Dam at 6.7 miles. Continue driving past Hoover Dam and into Arizona. At 3.5 miles past the checkpoint you will see a white bridge on your left. Turn left here and go beneath the bridge. You are now on the unpaved Kingman Wash Road. Drive 3.3 miles on this rough road until you reach some outhouses located at a cove near Lake Mead. Veer to the right and drive an additional 2.7 miles past the outhouses. The trailhead is located on the left side of the road, marked by a small metal sign. A high clearance vehicle will get through this road, but a 4X4 would facilitate matters.
Traffic, traffic, traffic. Expect to encounter a lot of traffic getting past Hoover Dam and the security checkpoint. If you drive a truck you could be directed to pull to the side for inspection at the checkpoint. RVs, watercraft, and the like are generally directed to pull over. Congestion is greatest on weekends, compounded by the Hoover Dam bypass project. Traffic is sometimes stopped for thirty minutes or more if they are blasting in the area. Additionally, if there is any kind of traffic accident or stalled vehicle, expect a long back up.
When To Climb
This is definitely not a summertime peak, there will be no shade along the way, and the Las Vegas temperatures in the summer are dangerously hot. The hike to this peak can be done anytime except for the Summer.
There is undeveloped camping near the Lake Mead shoreline, located at 3.3 miles after turning onto Kingman Wash Road. Outhouses are located here, but bring your own water. The terrain is a bit rocky, so bring a rake/shovel to help prepare your camp space.
This is a six mile round trip from the trailhead. Although it appears the trail goes straight forward, you will need to gain the hill immediately on your right side. The hill is the first of a series of six hills which make up a ridge. You will gain and lose elevation at times as you make your way up. The trail is Class 1 in this portion, but steep. You will eventually make it to some large boulders. The trail will then turn west and become more steep as you make your way to the base of the cliff walls. Once at the base, the trail will turn north where it will suddenly end. Here is where you will begin a brief Class 2-3 climb up the wall to the top of the mesa. Once on top of the mesa, the trail becomes easy again. Less than a mile and you will see the summit approach. You won’t see the fabulous views until you get onto the summit. It’s worth every step.