This is a remote peak located opposite the trailhead for Bridge Mountain near the top of Rocky Gap Road. There are various routes available for reaching the summit which require either high clearance 4 WD or a nice long hike. My preference has been to park near the end of the pavement at the Willow Springs picnic area and hike up the Rocky Gap road for about 4 miles before heading cross country. The elevation gain to the summit is about 2,948’ and time required for the climb is an estimated 5 hours for a fit climber. Distance traveled to reach the summit and return using the road is about 10 miles roundtrip. The views surrounding this summit are outstanding with views of the Las Vegas valley lying beneath the summits of Bridge mountain and Mt Wilson. There is a nice panorama of the extensive ridge that runs to and beyond La Madre mountain as well as great views to the south toward Mt Potosi.
From Charleston Blvd and the 215 Beltway in the western part of Las Vegas, take Charleston Blvd. (Highway 159) west for about 5 miles until you reach the entrance to Red Rock Canyon NCA. Once inside the park, follow the 13 mile loop road for about 7 miles to the Willow Creek parking area. You should allow about 30 minutes driving time from the strip to the entrance station.
National Park entrance fees apply in Red Rock National Conservation area. Hours of operations vary by season. See Red Rock NCA Home Page
There is a campground located south of SR159 two miles east of the entrance to RRCNCA. There is no developed campground within Red Rock NCA, although backcountry camping with a permit is allowed.
When to Climb
Spring and Fall are the peak seasons as it becomes extremely hot in the summer. Winter can be an excellent time as well unless snow and ice accumulate from winter storms making the scrambling too hazardous. This is most likely to occur in January and February.
Begin hiking up the Rocky Gap Road at the Willow Springs picnic area. You will hike about 4 miles to a small wash coming down from the saddle to the right of the peak. The GPS coordinates where you leave lthe road are N 36 08’ 29.1” W 115 31’ 43.4” At this point there is a small fall that can be climbed starting at the lower right and heading up and left. You will be in the wash at the top of the small fall and there are several options depending on whether there is much snow or ice on the approach.
routes to saddle
The objective is the saddle, or notch, that lies to the right of the summit. If there is no snow, it is best to start up the drainage and eventually climb out on the left choosing a ridge that is not too thickly covered in brush. If there is a lot of snow along the way, it is best to leave the drainage on the right side and follow that ridge which seems to accumulate less snow. This right hand ridge does have a section of intense brush that lasts perhaps 200 yards encountered about halfway to the saddle!
The crux of this route is the cliff face below the saddle. The first time I climbed it, there was very little snow and I found a good route on the left side that went up along the cliff ascending left to right. The next time, there was much more snow/ice and the most reasonable route was a ledge system ascending right to left at the base of the cliffs below the saddle.
Ledge through cliff band (photo by ridgeard3230)
This route joined the first described route partway up and continued smoothly from there to the top of the saddle.
From the saddle, the route to the summit is obvious and presents no unusual problems other than possible steep snow depending on when you are there.
Looking to summit from saddle (photo by ridgeard3230)
On top there is a register placed by H Stockman in 2005 with a “joke” name of Peppes Peak. He suggests calling it Pepper Peak. He has used a completely different route to climb this peak involving a long difficult drive from the south.