Cherum Peak Hike – in Arizona’s Cerbat Mountains

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(Fig. 01)
MAP-Big Wash Road
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Area Description: Cherum Peak is the 2nd highest peak in the 23 mile long Cerbat Mountain range that runs slightly northwest-southeast, about 25 miles north of Kingman, Arizona. It lies directly east of the 130-mile long Black Mountains range and is separated by the Sacramento Valley bordering southwest of Kingman. The long Detrital Valley and plains drains northwest of the mountains into southern Lake Mead. A series of peaks can be found towards the southern end of the range, including Packsaddle Mountain at 6,431 feet and Cherum Peak at 6,983 feet with the community of Chloride on the northwestern side. The northern section of the Cerbat Mountains is composed mostly of the Mount Tipton Wilderness, with Mount Tipton being its peak at 7,148 feet . The Dolan Springs community is at the base of the wilderness on the northwestern side of the Cerbat Mountains.

Reaching the Trailhead: To reach the Cherum Peak Trailhead (Fig. 01) you have to turn off US-93 at mile marker 51 and drive 15 miles up Big Wash Road. Refer to (Fig. 02) above. This well graded dirt road eventually provides you with dozens of sharp, hair-pin turns with extensive drop-offs, outstanding views and drop-dead scenery (Figs. 03 thru 06). As you drive south along the ridgeline on the way to the trailhead, elevation 6,000 feet, you pass two well maintained campgrounds, Windy Point Campground and Packsaddle Campground, both with restroom facilities.
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MAP-Cherum Peak Trail
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Trail Description: The elevation for the trailhead (Fig. 01 is 6,000 feet. Though different accounts vary, the total length of this trail is about 3 miles. Easy to follow, this trail is extremely well laid out and maintained and provides lots of switchbacks up and around several smaller mountains on its the way to the top of Cherum Peak (elevation 6,983). See the enlarged portion of (Fig. 07) above for a layout of the trail. With an elevation gain of nearly 1,000 feet, the hike is moderately strenuous. It climbs steadily for a gain of about 700 feet of elevation over the first two miles. For the next mile you hike along the high crest of the Cerbat Mountains where the trail ties into a little-used jeep road before branching off for the last half mile with about another 300 foot elevation gain to the summit. The final 50 feet to the summit has no trail and is very rocky, requiring hand scrambling to reach its top.

11/06/2012 Trip Notes: Harvey Smith and I spent nearly six hours today hiking this trail and the surrounding area. As we left the trailhead, we wound our way through a forest of pinyon pine (Fig. 08) and the occasional juniper tree. Once past this area, the large central portion of the trail is surrounded by what is referred to as the Arizona chaparral community (Fig. 09); low brush that includes shrug live oak, manzanita, Wright's silk-tassel, broom snakeweed, skunkbush, New Mexican locust, Gambel oak and desert ceanothus. After about a half mile of hiking, imagine our surprise when we looked up an spotted three steers (Figs. 10 & 11) walking the trail about a 100 yards ahead of us. Other than a few raptors (such as hawks, eagles and large ravens) we encountered a variety of smaller birds, the most common being western scrub jays (Fig. 12). On the way up Harvey also spotted a tarantula (Fig. 13) walking in our pathway. On our journey to the peak, this three-mile hike took us over or around three smaller mountains with every summit and switchback providing better views (Figs. 14 thru 18) than the previous one. After nearly 2-1/2 hours of hiking and picture taking, we were finally looking up at the summit (Fig. 19). The views from the summit were outstanding and well worth the every bit of the effort to get there. To the northeast you can see Red Lake, a dry lake bed that fills with water during extended rainstorms. Beyond Hualapai Valley to the east are the Music Mountains. On a clear day you can see all the way to the San Francisco Peaks over by Flagstaff or Mount Charleston to the northwest. To the west (Fig. 20) , the town of Chloride and the Sacramento Valley are spread out below you, and beyond is the dramatic skyline of the Black Mountains.  Looking south you can see the city of Kingman (Fig. 21) in the distance and, directly below you, the open pit mining operation of Mineral Park (Fig. 22). In the 1950s and 60s Mineral Park was actively mined for copper by the Duval Mining Company. Today it is operated by the Cyprus Copper Corporation. We were both astounded by the size of this mining operation. Click here to read more about this operation ... Mineral Park.
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E-P1020912 Stitch Stitch
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E-P102091-4 Stitch
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