Ute Peak P500 RS
Peak 2,972ft P300
South Weiser Peak P500 RS
Peak 2,963ft P300 RS
Weiser Ridge P500

Feb 17, 2024

With: Tom Becht
Iris Ma
Tom Grundy
Bob Cable

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX


Day two in the North Muddy Mountains had us visiting six summits in this range on the west side of Valley of Fire, four of them found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. Bob Cable drove up from Boulder City to join us for the next two days. With five in our party, we drove two Jeeps to the various peaks. We had planned to use the paved road from the Ute exit on I-15 that leads to the Weiser Mine in the heart of the range, where we planned to hike today. This road used to be open to the public, but as we came to find, the road is now blocked at the I-15 exit by a large pile of rocks. Our alternate route would approach from the southwest off Valley of Fire Rd, shown as Old Spanish Trail Rd on Google Maps. It's a slow dirt BLM road that goes across numerous drainages. We drove this several miles northeast into the Moapa River Indian Reservation, then east on another road into the North Muddy Mtns, sandwiched between the reservation and Valley of Fire on BLM lands. It would be nearly an hour of driving before we were ready to head out shortly before 8:30a.

Ute BM - Ute Peak

There were several GPX tracks available on PB for these, but we made little use of them. Instead of ascending the NE Ridge as they had done, we parked NW of Ute BM and hopped onto the NW Ridge for the ascent. Our route was mostly class 2 with some avoidable class 3 scrambling, a disagreeable scree slope near the top and a small cliff band to get you to - a false summit. Someone had left a cairn here along with some piece of rounded metal on a stick. The benchmark is located further to the SSE along the ridgeline. We spent just over half an hour in reaching the correct point where we found the benchmark and the remains of a survey tower. We next turned east and southeast to follow the connecting ridgeline to the higher point that Purcell calls Ute Peak. The ridgeline looks to have a serrated section between two deep canyons, but crossing it is pretty easy, all class 2. We were at the highpoint 20min later, finding it pretty unsatisfying. Another point to the south looked of similar height so we visited it, though it measured slightly lower. We returned back to the northwest and descended from one of the saddles in the serrated section, dropping off the north side. This made for a faster return to the Jeeps, though it had some loose class 2-3 in the uppermost part until it devolved into a rocky mess in a gully. Once out of the gully, it was a pleasant, easy return.

Peak 2,972ft

This summit is found about a mile north of where we'd parked for the previous hike. With more than 400ft of prominence and what looked like an easy ascent, it was surprising that it had only one ascent on PB or LoJ, that by Courtney Purcell back in 2016. It would take us 20min to reach the summit via the South Slope, and a similar time for the descent on the SE Ridge which we found a bit more interesting. A flagpole (sans flag) had been erected, but no register was found, so we left one before departing.

South Weiser Ridge

Back at the Jeeps, we drove about 2.5mi further north, trying to connect with the paved road leading from the Ute exit on I-15 to the Weiser Mine. We made this harder than it should have been, losing our track and struggling to complete the last 100ft or so to the pavement. A couple of gentlemen in Jeeps had stopped to watch us. I got out to go talk to them, thinking their vehicles were official-looking, and it would be better to tell them we're lost than to have them watch us drive over untracked terrain. They were not official, it turned out, but locals, sort-of. They had come in from the east via the Logandale Trails network, with plans to drive to I-15 via the Ute exit. It had been three years since they had last driven the road, so were surprised when I told them the road was blocked at the exit. "We live here!", they declared, which was apparently license enough to ignore any such inconvenience. We found this highly amusing and would use this as our rallying cry the rest of the trip. They headed off to the west on the pavement while we found our way to it eventually, then drove a lesser dirt road to get us within 1/3mi of Weiser Ridge South (South Weiser Peak on PB). The hike was mostly easy, the highlights a group of bighorn rams we chased off and a neat little class 3 gully that got us nicely through the limestone cliff at the very top of the peak. 20min was all that was needed to reach the summit. There are fine views looking northeast and southeast to the colorful sandstones of Valley of Fire SP. After a brief stay, we returned via the same route.

Peak 2,963ft

This peak is located between North and South Weiser Ridge, and an easy 15min hike to the summit from the south. We went up one ridge and down another on the same side, finding them much the same. A tattered t-shirt had been left tied to a wooden stake in a cairn at the summit. Perhaps it had been a hot day and the owner needed relief.

Weiser Ridge

More unnecessarily difficult driving ensued between Peak 2,963ft and Weiser Ridge to the north. The satellite view showed possible tracks we could drive from the south, but finding them proved difficult and we ended up driving north on a rough up-and-down road better suited to ATVs than Jeeps. We parked 1/2mi SW of the summit, near the mouth of a small canyon we could use to access the peak from that side. Eric Kassan and Richard Hensley had both posted tracks on PB using this route. The hike up the gravelly wash at the bottom of the canyon was easy enough, after which it was a matter of choosing which steep slope to ascend. The two Toms chose to continue to a saddle north of the summit and then work around to the highpoint, all class 2. The other three chose to head more directly up from the west finding some class 3, but nothing serious. We were less than a minute ahead of the Toms, so neither route was obviously better. We left a register on the last summit of the day, deciding to try a different way off the summit when it was time to leave. We followed the SW Ridge down for a few hundred yards before descending onto the scree slopes below, in hopes of using the sheep trails we had seen earlier from below. This was mostly a bust, our route not seeming to coincide with the sheep trails, making for a pretty messy descent through the rubble before reaching the wash below. We were back not long after 3p and ready to call it a day.

We decided that since the "We live here!" guys hadn't returned, they must have found a way out to the Ute exit. We figured it would be easier to exit the same way since it's all pavement, saving us at least an hour of dirt road driving back to Valley of Fire Rd. Thus began our hour-long jeep adventure that we thought might take only ten minutes. Somewhere online Josh Ortman had posted about the road as it cuts through California Ridge, "Road is broken where I started for about 1/4 mile then picks back up again for the rest of the approach. Broken road is impassible I would think." So we knew to expect a washout in that section, but not really thinking it would be a big deal. It kinda was. There are two ways through the section, both having been damaged by a significant flood flowing through the gap sometime in the last 3-5yrs. What is left of the road is mixed with large boulders, constituting the shortcut, while the meandering bend is easier but has its own challenges. Both routes converge just before the pavement restarts and requires some moderate rock crawling to get through it (33" tires on both Jeeps sufficed). There is then a second washout just before the freeway exit, though this one is much easier to get around. This section appears to have washed out sometime in 2023. Past this, one is confronted by the boulder wall blocking access to the freeway exit. We might have been able to spend some time moving enough of these to drive through, but they appeared to be undisturbed by the other Jeeps that had come through earlier. We tried several possibilities before finding the sandy jeep road that goes under the northbound freeway, followed by a cut in the freeway fencing to gain access to the exit road under the north and southbound overpasses. The GPX track attached to this TR shows this nicely in case anyone wants to head to the North Muddy Mtns via this road. Be warned, the hardest part is getting through the gap in California Ridge.

We drove I-15 south to the next exit (for Valley of Fire), and there BobC joined the others in TomB's Jeep to drive back to the night's campsite. I headed back to Las Vegas where I was joining my wife for the 2nd of four nights.


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