Peak 5,282ft P500
Peak 4,406ft P300
Bird Peak RS
Bird Spring Range HP 2x P1K RS
Potosi Mountain South P300 RS

Mar 22, 2024
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX Profiles: 1 2
Bird Spring Range HP previously climbed Nov 8, 2015


The Spring Mountains are the largest and highest range in Clark County, NV, stretching some 60mi from US95 in the north to Interstate 15 at the CA/NV border at Primm, with Charleston Peak rising to nearly 12,000ft in elevation. Today I was in the southern part of this range which is lower and decidedly more desert-like than the northern part. I also paid a visit to the nearby Bird Spring Range to the east, separated from the Spring Mtns by Goodsprings Valley.

Peak 5,282ft - Peak 4,406ft

These two are found in the southernmost part of the range, just north of Devil Peak, which I'd visited back in 2015. I used the same BLM road that I had used in 2015, this time getting much further up the road though it has deteriorated considerably since then - this is the difference between the van and the Jeep. There has been a few flooding events in the Las Vegas area in the last year and the access road cutting across a broad drainage was hit with washouts that make the drive somewhat precarious. Another road forks off the Devil Peak road that goes to the mouth of a canyon between Devil Peak and Peak 5,282ft, and this one was in better shape since it doesn't go across the grain. I managed to drive it to its end at a small rise just above the mouth of the canyon.

Starting off just after 8a, I dropped into the gravelly wash that I would follow up the canyon. Most of this is easy, but it narrows in places and I had to bypass one section with water holes more easily managed in drier conditions. Further up the canyon it opens once more, less gravel and a bit more brush, such that I found myself on the sides where passage was easier. I reached the saddle at the head of this canyon in an hour's time, Peak 5,282ft now just visible to the northwest. From the saddle with Devil Peak, I began an ascending traverse across rubbly slopes, in and out of side gullies, on a fairly direct line to the summit. Another 45min would see me to the summit. Bob Sumner had listed an ascent back in 2014, so I added his name to the register I would leave in a small summit cairn. Devil Peak dominates the view to the south, with Little Devil to the northwest.

After a brief stay, I reversed most of the route back to the saddle and down the canyon. Peak 4,406ft lies to the east of Devil Peak, partly detached from it, and a short distance southwest of where I parked. I climbed out of the canyon and traversed across a few side drainages to reach the saddle with Devil Peak on the west side of Peak 4,406ft. From there, it's pretty easy class 2 up to the summit, taking me nearly two hours from Peak 5,282ft. I left a second register here. Getting off the summit is a little tricky. The north side down to the canyon is fraught with cliffs. The east and northeast sides have cliffs too, but lesser ones. I managed to find a class 2-3 way down the NE side without too much difficulty, just one noteable dryfall that I had to bypass. It took about half an hour for the descent which worked out to less than 1/3mi.

Bird Peak - Bird Spring Range HP

Back at the Jeep, I headed next to the Bird Spring Range. The mileage wasn't all that much, but it would take two full hours because of the rough roads. The road out of Goodsprings to the Bird Spring Range wasn't as bad as the earlier one, but it was still slow going. It wasn't until almost 2:30p that I reached the end of the road in the canyon between these two summits. I had been to the range HP in 2015, but had missed out on Bird Peak, a minor summit nearby, found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. From where I parked, the two summits can be done in a loop of less than 2mi, probably the shortest hiking route that includes both. I headed up the somewhat brushy canyon to the southeast, eventually climbing out on the left (south) side near the top. I then followed the easier ridgeline to the summit, taking about 35min. There was little left of the 1993 register left by MacLeod/Lilley, save for a single scrap with their names. A subsequent notepad has been trashed by the elements as well, probably due to poor storage. I spent the next 30min plying the connecting ridgeline NNW, bypassing one intermediate bump on its west side and another to the northeast. The register at the range HP was busier and better preserved. I took photos of only of the 1st page, and those from my 1st and latest visits. A radio beacon once stood at the summit but has since disappeared. The poles that brought power to the summit have been cut down. The descent proved remarkably easy, first heading west down a rough 4WD road (that I saw a Jeep club navigating on my first visit), then southwest down easy class 2 slopes to return to the Jeep by 3:50p.

Potosi South

This can be a hard or easy hike, depending on if the lower gate is open. The peak lies south of the DPS's Potosi Mountain, often climbed in conjunction. I had climbed Potosi from the north 15yrs earlier, neglecting its lower neighbor to the south. I hadn't even considered this one, but after viewing it while atop the previous summits, I thought I should at least go check on the status of the gate. It would be too late for the longer outing, but maybe not so if I could drive higher up the mountain. On a previous visit I found the gate locked and expected to find it similarly today. I was surprised and happy to find the gate open for business, or in this case, recreation. I figured I'd better hurry in case the tower technicians come driving back down to lock it.

As others have pointed out, the road, while mostly paved, is incredibly steep, climbing 2,000ft in about 2mi. I powered my way up to the crest of the range, all south-facing, where I got my first view of the peak from the saddle. The road then goes around the northwest and west side of the crest and it was here that I was stopped by lingering snow. I tried driving through it, but the snow was too deep and soft, and I couldn't get traction in 4WD. The Jeep got a bit squirrely giving it a go, and I decided it was best not to push it - there's no guardrail on the left side where I might slide over the edge. At this point I realized there were no technicians at any of the towers since no one had driven across the snow, suggesting the gate was opened by the BLM folks who manage the area. I spent about 25min hiking the mile or so distance on the road to the summit, first visiting the towers on the west side of the road before realizing the higher point is to the east. There is an old windsock at the summit rocks and a busy register. I was amused to find the last two parties were all Sierra Challenge folks. It was windy and pretty chilly at 8,000ft, so I didn't stay long.

Back to the Jeep shortly before 6p, I was now ready for the really tough part of this outing - driving back down. I was afraid the brakes were going to burn up in the effort, warping my rotors, or worse. I used 1st gear all the way down, stopping at the 1/3 point to check the brakes which immediately burned the finger I touched to a front rotor. I decided to wait about five minutes to give them a chance to cool, then made two similar stops to rest the brakes before exiting back through the gate. I spent the next hour driving to the hotel in Las Vegas I would be sharing with my wife the next few nights. Fun day, this one...


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This page last updated: Thu Mar 28 17:41:49 2024
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