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McCullough via Pine Spring

McCullough via Pine Spring

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 35.60290°N / 115.18°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Sign the Climber's Log


This route is a nice long is totally off trail. It runs up long and gentle sandy washes and steep rugged ridges to McCullough Mountain.

From the trailhead, this route runs north over some low ridges into a sandy wash. This wash then heads NW through a sandy wash. You then gain a ridge line and contour around where you can take the ridgeline all the way to the summit. Alternatively, one could take a wash and angle your way to the summit, cutting off about 0.63 miles on the trip to the summit. The total distance for this trip if you do the entire loop is about 8.83 miles with 2,970 feet or so of net elevation gain.

McCullough Mountain

Getting There

  • Drive South from Las Vegas on Highway 95 to Searchlight.
  • Turn right (West) onto HWY 164 (Nipton Road) and drive west for 8.1
    miles to a stop sign at a dirt road (The turnoff is 1.2 miles west of
    Walking Box Ranch Road, which has a road sign).
  • Turn right onto this dirt road and drive north for 4.4 miles to a
    fork in the road.
  • Take the left fork. Drive another 1.1 miles to an intersection with a
    power line road.
  • Cross the power line road and go straight west for 1.4 miles to a
    fork in the road.
  • Turn right and drive north and down off the ridge; this part is a bit
    steep and rocky (a high clearance vehicle with 4WD is recommended for
  • Follow this road as it curves running down a wash. Pass an obvious
    left turn that just goes to a campsite in the wash.
  • The road continues down the sandy wash, eventually bends to the left,
    and starts up another sandy wash heading west.
  • About 0.1 miles past an old corral, the road ends at Pine Spring This
    is the trailhead.

    Route Description


    You can cut about 0.63 miles off the trip to the summit by going down into the wash and taking the wash to the summit instead of the ridge. To go down into the wash, it will be to your left at about WPT 17 on this route. From here hike NW to the summit.

    Refer to the Waypoints section below and the descriptions for details.

    GPS Trace for McCullough Mountain from Pine SpringGPS Trace of Route


    WaypointLatitudeLongitudeElevation (feet)Distance from Trailhead (miles)

    WPT 1
    35° 34’ 23.7 N 115° 9’ 20.7 W 5,376’ 0.00
    WPT 235° 34’ 25.3 N 115° 9’ 20.7 W 5,540'0.12

    WPT 3
    35° 34’ 26.4 N 115° 9’ 29.8 W 5,482'0.14
    WPT 435° 34’ 31.7 N 115° 9’ 35.4 W 5,500'0.33
    WPT 5 35° 34’ 34.6 N 115° 9’ 36 W 5'538'0.39
    WPT 635° 34’ 46.7 N 115° 9’ 55.8 W 5,674’0.85

    WPT 7
    35°34'46.1"N 115°10'05.0"W 5,764’1.06
    WPT 835° 34’ 48.1 N 115° 10’ 7.6 W 5,830'1.11

    WPT 9
    35° 34’ 53.5 N 115° 10’ 5.7 W 6,077'1.24
    WPT 1035° 34’ 57.5 N 115° 10’ 13.7 W 6,218’1.39
    WPT 1135° 35’ 0.6 N 115° 10’ 19.3 W 6,260'1.51
    WPT 1235° 35’ 6.0 N 115° 10’ 28.5 W 6,399’1.74
    WPT 1335° 35’ 11.1 N 115° 10’ 23.0 W 6,472’1.91
    WPT 1435° 35’ 20.3 N 115° 10’ 10.2 W 6,291’2.22
    WPT 1535° 35’ 25.3 N 115° 10’ 0.3 W 6,414’2.44
    WPT 1635° 35’ 26.1 N 115° 9’ 56.3 W 6,393’ 2.52
    WPT 1735° 35’ 31.4 N 115° 9’ 56.2 W 6,250’2.63
    WPT 1835° 35’ 42.4 N 115° 9’ 55.2 W 6,314’2.88
    WPT 1935° 36’ 16.7 N 115° 10’ 16.6 W 6,870’4.03
    WPT 2035° 36’ 15.1 N 115° 10’ 37 W 6’775'4.41
    WPT 21Summit Summit 7,026’4.63

    To return taking the wash follow these Waypoints

    WaypointLatitudeLongitudeElevation (feet)Distance from Summimt (miles)Total Trip Distance (miles)
    WPT 2235° 36’10.5 N 115° 10' 38.3 W 6,723’ 0.204.83
    WPT 2335° 36’ 36.3 N 115° 9’58.3 W 6,113'1.376.07
    WPT 2435° 36’ 33.6 N 115° 9’56.4 W 6,230’1.446.14

    There is a class 3 section in the wash. 0.86 miles from summit. (5.49 miles total), between WPTs 22 and 23.

    To return from here, follow WPTS 17 and down and return back.

    Descriptions of Waypoints

    1Hike North up the Ridge past the Water Tank
    2On the ridge and go down into a Valley
    3Cross a wash, continue North
    4 Cross a big wash, go North over a small ridge. Over this ridge cross into another wash, turn left and head NW
    5In wash heading NW
    6Rocky Outcrops in wash where it narrows
    7Turn Right off main wash to a side wash
    8Turn right out of wash and up the little ridge
    9On the ridge, continue NW
    10 The next sub peak is to your North On the ridge. Contour on the ridge ahead around to the right.
    11Turn left on ridge and follow around to avoid going down ridge into the wash.
    Contour around the ridge to WPT 12.
    12Hike North up the Ridge past the Water Tank.
    13Almost due south of the summit. Continue
    East to WPT 13.
    14Rocks at a saddle, continue east over this.
    15Rocky Outcrop.
    16Start going North down ridge
    17Rocky Outcrop, go around the right side. Start going down the ridge to a saddle
    area and go up a little ways. You’ll be below a rocky outcrop, hike up to this outcrop.
    18Continue going North along the ridge. It eventually contours and turns West
    towards the summit.
    19On the ridge heading west. McCullough Mountain comes into view here.
    20 Saddle just below the summit.

    To return taking the wash follow these Waypoints

    22Start entering the wash.
    23Turn left up the ridge and exit the wash.
    24Back on the ridge, head south along ridge.

    To return from here, follow WPTS 17 and down and return back

    Essential Gear

    The big concern on this hike is the loose footing among the dense yucca and pricklypear cactus. Make sure you have good hiking boots with thick soles. Long pants to avoid bush wacking on your legs would be a great idea too.

    External Links

  • Route from Pine Spring Jim Boone's page on this route

  • Parents 


    Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.