The Mountains of Arizona •
Bullshead Benchmark • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
• Mohave County

Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
Bullshead BM as seen from Matherine's Landing Road
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
The peak from where I left the road
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
The last 20 feet
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
View of Laughlin's casinos
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
View of the highpoint rocks
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
North view
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
West view of Lake Mohave, and behind, Spirit Mountain
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
View of the summit from the north, as I descend
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
View upward as I descend lower
Bullshead Benchmark, Arizona
The benchmark and the two witness markers, and another view of the peak

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Date: April 22, 2018 • Elevation: 1,575 feet (1,572 feet per LIDAR) • Prominence: 322 feet (per LIDAR) • Distance: 0.8 mile • Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes • Gain: 475 feet • Conditions: Clear, slightly warm

ArizonaMainPBUSGS BM Datasheet

We were in Laughlin this weekend, moving furniture into our new place. We had arrived early Saturday morning, then I spent most of Saturday assembling the IKEA furniture pieces. The weather was warm in the afternoons (mid 90s), but cool in the mornings (60s).

I looked for the closest "ranked" summit to Laughlin and found this peak, located in the hills that line Katherine's Landing Road, north of Bullhead City and east of Davis Dam. It holds "Bullshead" Benchmark, and is the ostensible highpoint of this small range of rocky hills.

Sunday morning, I left our condo and drove over the bridge into Bullhead City, then north on AZ-68 for a couple miles, then left again (north) onto Katherine's Landing Road for a little over two miles. Where the road achieves a highpoint before dropping down back toward the river, Bullshead Benchmark hill rises to the east, immediately beside the road.

Despite its modest elevation and prominence statistics, it's a nice looking rocky desert hill. And as I would discover, it is not an easy stroll up and back. The hill is covered in loose rock, making the hike a challenging one.

I parked in a pullout a little southwest of the road's highest point, rolling in about 7:45 a.m., the weather still very pleasant, temperature about 70 degrees. I walked up the road briefly, then onto the dirt and chose a ridge at random and started in. I gained a few dozen feet, where I had better views of the ridges and gullies surrounding this peak.

I was west of the summit, and everything looked about equal, so I went straight in and started up a steep gully. The going was decent at first, but as the gully steepened, the rock was less stable. For about a hundred vertical feet, the rock was barely attached to the slopes. Each step kicked loose little mini-slides of rock and gravel. I had to move carefully here and it was not enjoyable, more work than I had planned for.

Shortly, I was on the main ridge, the summit to my left, about 30 feet higher. I walked around a few rock outcrops and up easy slopes to gain the summit, about 30 minutes after starting. I found the benchmark and the two witness markers. There was no register, though. The views were great in all directions, and I suspect not many people come up here. The markers looked unscratched after all these years.

I had no desire to go back down the gully I came up. I found a path that circled off the summit, and I hoped this was a good path all the way down, figuring I had missed it on the way up. It wasn't much of a path, and 50 feet later, it disappeared. However, I was now committed to this way for the descent, now following ridges north and west instead of due west.

I could see a good-looking ridge and studied its profile. It had rock outcrops, then slopes, but no cliffs. I started down onto it. Each outcrop was easy to get around but often very loose. Rocks would break off from the main mass if I put any weight on them. I had to check each hold carefully and move slowly. The gravel slopes were like ball bearings. I took one spill and scratched up my arm.

Anyway, I kept to this ridge and methodically worked down the ridge, up and around each rock outcrop, until I was essentially off the mountain and back into the drainages. I followed one out to the road and emerged onto the pavement about a quarter-mile north from where I had parked. Once on the road, I just walked back to my car, my round trip time about 70 minutes. It was a shade past 9 a.m., and it was warming fast.

I got more than I had planned for on this little hike. The loose gravel and rocks were a chore the whole way up and down, but the views were excellent and the hike was short, less than a mile round trip. I wouldn't suggest to make this a primary destination if you're in the area, but if you do choose to climb it, follow the ridge I took down. It starts near a "Don't Move a Mussel" sign put up for the boaters. The ridge will be obvious. Nothing was worse than Class-2, but it was slippery.

(c) 2018 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.