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Mount Wilson 5445 - Black Mountains, AZ

Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
  5 of 5 
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,966 feet
Elevation Gain 2,480 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,285 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21.73
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Historic & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
34  2021-03-20 DixieFlyer
Author DixieFlyer
author avatar Guides 58
Routes 505
Photos 7,086
Trips 461 map ( 5,731 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Fountain Hills, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:22am - 7:58pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Oooh Las Vegas!
by DixieFlyer

Mount Wilson (elevation of 5,445' and prominence of 3,205') is in northwest Arizona, about 30 miles from Las Vegas, NV. Mount Wilson is the highpoint of the Mount Wilson Wilderness and is the second-highest peak in the Black Mountains. Be careful not to confuse Mount Wilson with Wilson Mountain, which is near Sedona.

This guide describes the approach to Mount Wilson on the southwest ridge, starting on Black Joe Mine Road. Another route to the summit ascends the east side of the mountain, but that approach is beyond the scope of this guide.

Despite its relatively modest elevation, Mount Wilson seems to be a fairly important summit in the Las Vegas area. If you are in Las Vegas looking toward Lake Mead, Mount Wilson is quite easily recognizable. Mount Wilson is included in the Las Vegas Mountaineering Club 50 Peak List, and is one of 5 Arizona peaks to make the list. The others are Humphreys, Bangs, Logan, and Trumbull.

The vast majority of this hike involves class 2 rock scrambling, which makes the hike tougher and more time-consuming than the distance will suggest.

From the trailhead, you'll go a short distance in a wash, and then you'll start gaining altitude. You'll mostly be on a couple of ridgelines that eventually take you to the summit. Along the way, there will be a few false summits that you'll have to negotiate. As with most ridgeline hikes, you'll be occasionally be faced with a choice of whether to stay on the ridgeline and deal with some ups-and-downs or try to sidehill around some of the false summits and avoid some extra elevation gain. For the most part, I found it best to stay close to the ridgeline.

There will be a few opportunities for some class 3 climbing, but you can avoid these if you want to take an easier route. There was one short class 3 climb just below the summit, but even that could be avoided. The views at the summit are great, so you'll likely want to hang out there for a bit. Return to the trailhead the same way that you came.

Views were great on almost the entirety of this hike. You'll want to stop and check out views of Lake Mead, Las Vegas, and Mount Charleston Peak at numerous places. If you have a sharp eye, you can probably also see Hoover Dam along the way.

There is no actual trail on the hike, although you can see a social trail in some sections. A GPS track can be helpful, but at times you'll have to rely on your instincts to find the best route to take. There is no exposure or difficult climbing on the hike, so if you find yourself in an iffy spot, you will have taken a bad route. In that event, backtrack and try another route.

This is a fun hike with great views, but with all of the rock scrambling, it will be among the more difficult 5-mile-ish hikes that you'll do. I think that the rewards far outweigh the effort, and I highly recommend this hike if you are comfortable with some rock scrambling!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2021-03-22 DixieFlyer
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Lake Mead NRA National Park
    Lake Mead Fees & Permits

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    The parking area to begin the hike is on Black Joe Mine Road and is 2.5 miles off of Highway 93, which runs from Kingman, AZ to Las Vegas, NV.

    The turn off of Highway 93 is at these GPS coordinates: 35.96598, -114.67152

    The parking area is at these GPS coordinates: 35.98007, -114.63654

    Once you are on Black Joe Mine Road, there are no turns that you will need to make; instead, just follow the road until you park.

    About 0.4 miles from Highway 93 is the crux of the drive: a short uphill section that is rather rutted. A high clearance 4WD vehicle will likely be needed in this section. A high clearance AWD vehicle MIGHT be able to get through this section of the road, although it seems iffy to me. Other than this section, an SUV should be able to get to the TH.
    page created by joebartels on Mar 22 2021 4:16 pm
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