Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hike / Scramble
Time Required:
Less than two hours
Class 2 with a taste of Class 3

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Created On: Feb 25, 2005
Last Edited On: Aug 28, 2013


From Beatty, NV (100 miles or so north of Las Vegas on highway 95): There's only one stoplight in this small town. From the light, head west straight toward Death Valley (there's adequate signage pointing the way). Follow this road for several (maybe 10?) miles until you cross over the border to California, at which time, the road becomes highway 374. Once on the California side, the highway starts to wind up into the Grapevine Mountains and soon crosses over the signed Daylight Pass. A few miles after Daylight Pass, you will come to the self-pay and unstaffed station for the east entrance to Death Valley's called, appropriately enough, Hell's Gate. (By the way, I love the names of places in Death Valley National Park...Coffin Peak, the Funeral Mountains, Last Chance Range, Hell's I forgetting any?).  About a quarter-mile past Hell's Gate, park at a turnout near the base of the easternmost butte. 

From Death Valley: From the Stovepipe Wells area of Death Valley, follow highway 190 eastward toward Furnace Creek. Soon enough, you will come to the signed and paved turn-off to Daylight Pass Road (highway 374) and Beatty, NV. Take that road and drive to the pullout mentioned above.  Should you reach Hell's Gate, you've gone a little bit too far.

Route Description

Most text is by the original page author, cp0915.

The route is virtually impossible to get wrong or get lost on. It's almost a waste of time explaining it...but I will.

Head to the toe of the first butte. You can't miss it.  Once there, look for a use-trail heading up the butte. Even if you don't see one, no worries-- just head up the's class 1-2.

When the top of the first butte is gained, look due west toward the highest butte (point 3017). Drop down to a saddle and continue westward toward the highest butte.

There is a nice little ridge that must be crossed on the final approach to the highest butte. The ridge is mainly class 2 but has a few fun and very easy class 3 sections (an experienced scrambler will likely not consider it Class 3 at all-- I did not use my hands once on this route). It's narrow in several places, including one particular 12" wide ledge section, has nice exposure into a series of steep gullies on either side, and ultimately makes the mountain worth doing.

From the top of the narrow ridge, walk west cross-country a little ways to the actual summit. When I was there, the summit "register" consisted of some scraps of paper in a prescription pill bottle.

Essential Gear

Hiking boots, water, sunscreen should do it in most conditions. Take a look at the weather, then use your discretion.