Pahrump Peak, or Pahrump Point, as it’s also known, is a fine desert peak located in the incredibly rugged and barren Nopah Range of southern California. When traveling on highway 178 between Shoshone, CA and Pahrump, NV, one can’t help but notice the steep and impressive west face of the mountain range while passing through Chicago Valley.
Though not the highpoint of its range (that title belongs to Nopah Point
to the south), the infrequently climbed Pahrump Peak is a very worthwhile endeavor for the desert peak enthusiast. The views from its summit are stunning – the entire Spring range of southern Nevada to the east (Charleston Peak
looks particularly impressive when viewed from the west), the Panamints to the west (including excellent views of Telescope
, Bennett, Rogers, and Wildrose
Peaks), and countless anonymous (some named, such as Eagle Mountain
, but most not) peaks all around.
Pahrump Peak’s standard route, a four mile class 2 hike from the west involving about 3400 feet of elevation gain (much of it occurring in the last mile), heads deep into a beautiful and rugged desert canyon, up a scree slope, through a couple of notches, up a steep, loose scree chute, then ultimately onto the narrow and winding summit ridge leading to the summit itself.
A good, and very serene, time is virtually guaranteed. It’s far more likely that you’ll come across rattlesnakes, lizards, bighorns or birds than humans.
Were it not for Pahrump Peak’s inclusion on the DPS (Desert Peaks Section
- Sierra Club list of note-worthy desert peaks) list, I have little doubt that it would virtually never be climbed.
Highway 178 runs between Pahrump, NV and Shoshone, CA. Approx. 10 miles east of Shoshone (or 19 miles west of Pahrump), look for a faint dirt road heading off to the east from the highway. After about 200 feet on the dirt road, you’ll come across a wilderness boundary sign. Although the road continues on a couple miles across the alluvial fan to the mouth of a canyon at the base of Pahrump Peak (clearly visible to the east), park outside of the wilderness boundary. Any and all cars should be able to reach this point – If not, park along the highway and walk the extra 200 feet to the “trailhead”.
No permits, no fees.
Pahrump Peak is located within a wilderness area. That said, please don’t be tempted to drive your truck (or even a bicycle, for that matter) along the dirt road leading to the mouth of the canyon.
When To Climb
Fall, winter or spring. Forget about summer…unless you’re suicidal.
I understand that there is a developed campground over in nearby Tecopa (home of China Ranch Date Farm’s locally-famous date milk shakes & also the Tecopa Hot Springs). Otherwise, you can stay in a hotel in Pahrump or a motel in Shoshone OR apply minimum impact camping methods and do the desert camping thing out in Chicago Valley.
The weather forecast
for nearby Pahrump, NV.