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.
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, who
then 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
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.
*Water temp reflects Lake Mohave water temperature.