Bird Spring Peak • Range Highpoint: Bird Spring Mountains
• Southern Clark County


The road in
 

Bird Spring highpoint can be seen ahead, with some of the upper road
 

The upper roads as seen from the end of the decent road
 

Looking back at Potosi Mountain
 

My mom inches up the steep section
 

My mom again
 

Summit view north, Potosi Mountain and Mount Charleston
 

South view
 

My mom
 

Me
 

A narrow section of the upper road
 

Montage: the sign-in register, zoom view of Vegas, my mom as we walk back to the car, and on the road out, a tortoise!
 

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Date: March 19, 2016 • Elevation: 5,695 feet • Prominence: 1,095 feet • Distance: 5 miles • Time: 3 hours and 15 minutes • Gain: 1,375 feet • Conditions: Clear, breezy • Teammates: Gail Surgent

The Bird Spring Mountains are located in southern Clark County, paralleling Interstate-15 west of the Jean exit, about 25 miles south of Las Vegas. The summit has no official name other than Bird Spring Peak or Bird Spring Mountain Highpoint. It's a desert range with no large trees, and interesting limestone cliffs and striations. However, no one goes there. The summit register went back to 1993 and held just a few names, some years with no one signing in.

I was visiting my parents this weekend, and looked for an easy hike to do, possibly with my mother who does a lot of hiking with her two local hiking clubs. She knows the area, but had never hiked this peak either. There is a road to the top, so route-finding is trivial. Other than a couple steep sections, it looked like an easy hike that wouldn't take all day.

My mother and I left Henderson about 7 a.m. and drove to the Jean exit, heading west to Goodsprings. We followed the Goodsprings Bypass road around town, now on a rougher paved road that eventually leads to an active mine. I was here once before when I hiked Potosi Mountain. The valley between Potosi Mountain and the Bird Spring Mountains is called the Goodspring Valley.

About two miles north of Goodsprings (the town), we turned onto a dirt track. This road goes north to a side road, this road being the one that goes all the way to the top of the range. My mother had never driven a road like this. It wasn't a bad road, but it had rubbly rocks in spots, plus ruts and washboard. Her vehicle was 2-wheel drive but with decent clearance.

She eased her car three miles north on this road. I would sometimes get out to move aside larger rocks. She went slowly, and we covered the three miles in about 20 minutes. Now on the side road, presumably called Bird Spring Mountain Road, we found it to be a little better overall. She was able to get in another half mile. We parked when we found a small patch of open ground in which to pull aside. The day was sunny and clear, and slightly warm. We started hiking at 8:30 a.m.

We hiked eastbound on the road, which was still in good shape. It gains a soft ridge and tops out near an old foundation. There is a turn-around here and this would be the probable limit for most high-clearance vehicles. Past this, the road makes a hard right and drops into a drainage, then enters into a canyon, with Bird Spring Peak directly ahead, its upper roads visible from below.

From the hard-right bend, we walked another three-quarters of a mile to a Y-split, the left being the way to the top. This would be the limit for most stock 4-wheel drive vehicles. This three-quarter mile segment wasn't bad, but it was rockier in places, with one small steep portion that had exposed rock intruding into the road. For hiking, it was easy.

At this Y-split, the summit is about 800 feet higher and slightly under a mile. The road itself drops about five notches in quality. It is steep and narrow, often has outward cambers, no shoulders and abundant rocks. We walked up this road, which presented no difficulties except for the loose gravelly dirt. Soon, we were at the base of a very steep segment, which gains about 150 feet and seems to be pitched at a 45 degree slope. Walking uphill, it was slow. The dirt was loose and rubbly. We often hiked on the margin of the road, which was slightly better.

At the top of this steep uphill, the road then passes by a rock outcrop in such a way that the rock forms a barrier, the road being about six feet wide here, with no shoulder or margin for error whatsoever (see photo at left). For walking, it was not a problem. However, I am thinking of those people who like to bring jeeps up here. I'd be terrified to do that myself.

We were now much closer to the top, yet the road's condition barely improved. We had yet one more steep uphill segment. This one was no more than 40 vertical feet, but the road was covered in extremely loose scree. It was a chore to barge up this portion, and my mother bailed and hiked through the adjoining slopes, where the rocks were slightly more solid. Once past this, we had just a few more feet to the top. We arrived at 10:15 a.m., a one-hour, forty-five-minute hike, covering about 2.5 miles.

We took time to snap images and sign in the log. The previous signature was from last November. There seems to be a small stream of visitors, numbering about 2 or 3 teams per year in recent years. Prior to that, there would be years between signatures.

The views were very nice in this clear dry weather. The best views were of nearby Potosi Mountain and of Mount Charleston and its snow-covered highest peaks. We could see the Las Vegas Strip, its buildings a boring gray color from this distance. There were dozens of surrounding peaks and ranges whose names I don't know offhand. We were on the summit for about 15 minutes.

The hike down went slow. The steepest portions were trouble due to their loose conditions. Neither of us fell, but we slipped often. We just went slowly and carefully. Soon, we were onto the better-quality road, from where it was an easy trek back to the car. We arrived back at 11:45 a.m., a 75-minute hike out. After resting briefly, we drove out the way we came. We happened to spot a desert tortoise crossing the road. When we pulled beside him, he pulled in his head and legs, but I got just enough of him in the photo at left. It has been a long time since I've seen a desert tortoise.

The hike had gone well, but I paid a small price: I got slightly burned, even though I was covered completely. I was also very dehydrated, despite drinking over two quarts. Even though it wasn't too hot (about low 80s), it was very dry and breezy. I felt worse than usual. We went for a buffet later in the day.

I am proud of my ma! She's 74 and drove on a rough desert track for the first time, plus hiked a decent-sized peak in the process. I hope I can be moving that well when I am older.

(c) 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.