Spirit Mountain

Spirit Mountain and Grapevine Canyon
Laughlin Area Scenic Hikes and *Bikes

When visiting Laughlin, Nevada, be sure to look to the west. You will see a large scraggy mountain. That is Spirit Mountain, aka Newberry Peak. It is a beautiful sight especially during a desert sunrise. It glows brilliant red  for about 2 hours every clear morning. Summer is not the time to hike the mountain. The hike is much more enjoyable during late fall, winter and early spring.

To get to Spirit Mountain starting from Davis Dam or Laughlin, Nevada, drive up Nevada Highway 163 about 5.5 miles to the Christmas Tree Pass turnoff (to the West, towards Las Vegas). Follow this unpaved road North for about 5.5 miles, 3 miles past Grapevine Canyon, to a turnoff on the right side of the road. Park your car here, at the “Y” to begin your hike up Spirit Mountain.

*Christmas Tree Pass is an excellent mountain bike road/trail. Hardly any traffic with beautiful rock and boulder scenery. Anyway back to the hike….

The hike up Spirit Mountain is a tough hike. Always be on the watch for rattlers, especially during warm days. Always wear long pants and carry plenty of water. The hike will provide views of high desert country and Lake Mojave. Some clear days you can see up to 120 miles. 
Following these directions will lead you up one of the easier routes to the top of the mountain. Go straight north from your vehicle, through the tall brush and down the two track trail, following the relatively flat area east of Spirit Mountain. After you past an out cropping of large granite rocks on your left, start up the slope toward the ridge. From that point simply following the ridge the rest of the way. Don’t forget to watch for snakes! THERE IS NO TRAIL.

You will cross three flat areas during your hike, the upper two contain junipers and pinion pines.

On your return, be sure to return by the same route you came up. The more southerly and westerly routes could lead you into ravines that are difficult, sometimes impossible, to get out of. Above all else, BE SAFE! Let others know of your intentions and return time.

Grapevine Canyon crude map

For an easier hike, stop at Grapevine Canyon. Right away you will notice the ancient petroglyph drawings left by our ancestors. Grapevine Canyon is the biggest petroglyph site in southern Nevada. The depth and width of these engravings reflect the fact that Yuman petroglyphs were studied and examined by many people after their construction, sometimes repecked by them. Still, considerable variation in the degree of re-varnishing is evident at the site, indicating that Yuman shamans used this locale probably for many thousands of years. Recent accounts, on the other end of the time scale, tell us that it continued to be used into this century.

These petroglyphs tell a mythological story of how the Colorado River, particularly, the Mojave Region came to being. According to the Mojave creation myth, the oldest spirit was Matavilya, made from the mating of Earth and Sky. Matavilya had two sons, Mastamho and Kaatar, and a daughter, Frog. Matavilya committed an unwitting indecency that offended his daughter, whothen killed them. Mastamho directed the cremation and mourning ceremony for his father and, when completed, strode up the Colorado River Valley. When he got to the top Mastamho created the river by plunging a cane of breath and spittle into the earth, allowing the river to pour forth. Riding a canoe down the waters to the ocean, he created the wide river bottom by twisting and turning the boat. He returned from the ocean with his people, the Mojave, taking them in his arms to the northern end of Mojave country. There he piled up earth, creating the mountain Avlkwa’ame (Spirit Mountain), and built himself a house on it. There too Mastamho plotted the death of Sky- Rattlesnake, an evil spirit and the source of dark powers. Mastamho killed Sky-Rattlesnake by cutting off his head, with his spilt blood becoming noxious insects. Mastamho then gave land to the different tribes and taught them to farm. Finally, Mastamho turned himself into a fish-eagle and flew off into oblivion.

Anyway, Grapevine Canyon is a nice break from the casinos and well worth the 30 minutes travel time to see. Follow the directions to Spirit Mountain and look for the road to Grapevine Canyon that is clearly marked off Christmas Tree Pass Road.

Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Day 63 85 87 95 97 105 113 108 102 88 77 70
Nite 44 54 57 65 66 77 81 84 74 63 57 48
Water* 51 52 56 61 68 76 81 80 76 70 64 54

*Water temp reflects Lake Mohave water temperature.