Pages Uploaded in June 2013

Daytrip - Wilson Cliffs and Cottonwood Valley
Daytrip - Rainbow Spring Road to Rainbow Spring
Cactus - Pencil Cholla (Cylindropuntia ramosissima)
Plants & Flowers - Rocky Mountain Phlox (Phlox multiflora)
Plants & Flowers - Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica)
Daytrip - Side Trips Along Wheeler Pass Road - West of the Pass
UPDATED Birds - Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)
Plants & Flowers - Utah Penstemon (Penstemon utahensis)
Wild Horses - The Family Portrait - Wheeler Pass Road
Plants & Flowers - Miniature Lupine (Lupinus bicolor)
Plants & Flowers - English Daisy (Bellis perennis)
Cactus - Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis
Plants & Flowers - Bristly Hollyhock (Alcea setosa)
Cactus - Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia engelmannii)
Cactus - New Cactus Index
P&F Requiring ID -  NEW Category - Plants & Flowers Requiring Identification
Plants & Flowers - New Plant and Flower Index
Daytrip - Wheeler Pass via Cold Creek
UPDATED Daytrip - Wheeler Pass via Pahrump
Daytrip - Wheeler Pass Road
Plants & Flowers - Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata)
Plants & Flowers - Angel's Trumpets (Brugmansia suaveolens)
Plants & Flowers - Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus arborescens)
Plants & Flowers - Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Plants & Flowers - Desert Sage (Salvia dorrii)
Plants & Flowers - Desert Sand-verbina (Abronia villosa)
Plants & Flowers - Tidy Fleabane (Erigeron concinnus)
Plants & Flowers - Mojave Prickly Poppy (Argemone corymbosa)
Plants & Flowers - Mesquite Mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum)

Hike to Rainbow Spring

EP-P1010961This past week my friend Harvey Smith and I headed out to find the Rainbow Spring on the western side of the Spring Mountain Range. After a relatively easy drive to the spring’s trailhead, we hiked the short distance to the spring. After reaching the spring we decided to continue hiking east to the 6,750 foot ridge of the Wilson Cliffs. Click the following link for pictures and information …Rainbow Spring.  In trying to determine exactly where we were on the ridgeline of the Wilson Cliffs upon my return home, I ended up creating the following page … Wilson Cliffs and Cottonwood Valley.. Check it out!


Another Trip to Wheeler Pass Road

EFP-Image00019There are literally dozens of dirt side-roads that branch off of Wheeler Pass Road, most of which require a high clearance 4x4 vehicle. This past week, Harvey and I packed up his Rhino and headed back to the Spring Mountain Wilderness area that surrounds Wheeler Pass Road north of Pahrump, in search of an old abandoned mine site that we had become aware of through a friend of Harvey's who had been there. Click the following link to take this trip with us ... Side Trips Along Wheeler Pass Road - Pahrump Side.


New Cactus Index

EP-P1050051After creating a new plant & flower index (see previous post) I decided to revamp my cactus index by using the same format. Take some time and visit this category and use the new  Cactus Index  to peruse the cactus that are now posted here. I currently have nearly a dozen more cacti to add here that I have identified, but haven’t had to time to “write-up”. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will be able to find the time to add these to this listing.

Recent Flower Posts

2012 Flowers 03As you may have noticed from seeing the “recently Added Pages” list above, I have added numerous new flower pages to my Plants and Flowers category. I also redesigned the index for this category to make it easier to locate information on a specific plant or flower. Take some time and visit this category and use the new Plant & Flower Index to peruse some of the many plants and flowers now posted here. This is a constant, ongoing process, that seems like it will never be finished. In fact, I still have dozens of pictures of plants and flowers that I have yet to identify. As a result, I created a new category titled, Plants & Flowers Requiring ID . If you know the name of any of the flowers listed here please contact me so I can add them to the index.


ID Pending

Picture Notes: I found this beautiful little flower while driving down Wheeler Pass Road on the east side of Wheeler Pass. With sometimes upwards of 60 species with a single genus of flower, it is very difficult to locate the right one. After spending considerable time searching, I’m still not sure what it is. Below are the two closest identifications that I have found. If anyone can help me ID these, email me at
Description: Open.
Wild blue or Woodland Phlox; Phlox divaricata
Baby Stars; Linanthus bicolor (also called Leptosiphon bicolor)


Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)

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This page last updated on 09/03/2017
(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: I found this Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Figs. 01 & 02) on 06/05/2013 at the very top of Wheeler Pass. Though it appeared a little weathered, it was somewhat hidden, and protected, growing between a large rock and some nearby shrubs. Click this link to learn more about this outing … Daytrip - Wheeler Pass via Pahrump. The next time I found one of these blooming cactus (Figs. 03 &04) was on the Fletcher Canyon Trail inside the Mount Charleston Wilderness Area on 06/14/2017. Click this link to learn more about this hike ... Fletcher Canyon Trail Hike.
(Fig. 02)

(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)

Description: Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis), a.k.a. Mojave Claret Cup Cactus, (Echinocereus triglochidiatus) and Mojave Hedgehog, is mound-shaped plant formed of many, densely packed stems that grows to a height of 12-16 inches. It is densely covered with gray, twisted and interlocking spines. The entire plant is a cylindrical mound, without a trunk, that is composed of up to about 500 individual bluish green stems, each usually less than about 2 inches diameter. The surface of the stems are ribbed, containing about 10 ribs per stem. Its has gray, round, curved (wavy) spines that grow to about 2 inches in length. Its twisting spines often interlock with those of neighboring stems to form a dense web of spines covering the entire mound. The spines are round rather than angled.

Habitat: Creosote Bush Scrub, Joshua Tree Woodland, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland. The plants grow in gravelly soils in grasslands, shrub-lands, pinyon/juniper, or aspen communities. The plants often grow against a rocky outcrop or within the rocky outcrop. Kingcup Cactus is a fairly common component of desert vegetation found on well-drained gravelly and rocky soils on upper bajadas and slopes into the mountains in the Upper Sonoran life zones: (Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands), Transition (Yellow Pine Forests), and Canadian (Pine-Fir Forests). They are fairly common in the Pinyon-Juniper woodlands on Mt. Charleston and in the Mojave National Preserve. So they can occasionally be found as low as 500 feet in elevation, they can be found as high as 9,000 feet in elevation. 
Flowering: Early for most cactus, it blooms between early to mid spring (Apr-Jun). Its inflorescence consists of solitary flowers that emerge from near the tip of individual stems. The flowers are a funnel-shaped; orange to deep red, and about 3-1/2-inches diameter (Fig. 04). It produces a cylindrical reddish fruit, about 1-inch long, 1/2-inch diameter. The flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are the primary pollinators and must stick their entire head into the flower to reach the nectar chambers at the flower's base. In the process, the hummingbird's forehead gets dusted with pollen. (Sometimes they look like another species of hummingbird!) The flowers stay open at night, unlike many other species of cacti whose flowers close in the evening. The flowers last three to five days.

Desert Sand Verbina (Abronia villosa)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: All of the pictures shown here (Figs 01-04) were captured on my 03/19/2011 visit to Death Valley National Park. They were taken around the Lake Manly marker and turnoff along the western side of Badwater Road.
Description: Desert Sand Verbina (Abronia villosa) is a glandular-pubescent much-branched annual wildflower with stems either prostrate or ascending and somewhat sticky. Up to 20 inches across and 3-6 inches high, it grows in creeping prostrate masses along the ground. It has oval-shaped dull green leaves and many peduncles bearing rounded inflorescences of bright magenta or purplish-pink trumpet-shaped, 5-lobed, fragrant flowers, 2 to 3 inches wide that have flower stalks up to 10 inches long, with 1-3 inch stems trailing up to 3 feet. Its opposite, slightly hairy, light green leaves are ovate to round with wavy edges 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches long. As its name implies, it grows in sandy flats, sand dunes and desert roadsides below 1,500 feet. It has a very sweet fragrance, and is also very sticky. It likes full sun and sandy soil and is common in the desert regions of southern California, this plant is also found in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Mexico, as well as along the coast. They usually grow between February and May.
(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)

Rocky Mountain Phlox (Phlox multiflora)

Picture Notes: I took this picture (Fig. 01) on 06/05/2013 while coming down Wheeler Pass Road on the east side of Wheeler Pass, headed towards the town of Cold Creek, Nevada. To learn more about this area, click on this link … Wheeler Pass via Cold Creek.
Description: Rocky Mountain Phlox (Phlox multiflora) As there are more than 60 species tied to the Phlox family, it has been difficult to pin this plant down, however, this is my best guess for this dainty little wildflower. The Rocky Mountain Phlox is a tap-rooted, more or less mat-forming perennial, with numerous stems occasionally loosely almost erect, but rarely as much as 4 inches tall. The leaves are opposite, inconspicuously slightly rough- surfaced, linear, flexible, the better developed ones mostly .5-1.5 inches long and 5/64 inches wide, with the pairs close to each other on the stem. There are 1 to 3 flowers at the ends of the of short-stalked stems. Calyx hairless or sometimes cobwebby- short-hairy, slightly shorter than the corolla tube, the 5 lobes sharp-pointed, rather narrow and often thickened, but not very firm, the membranes between the 5 ridges of the calyx flat. Corolla are usually white or occasionally bluish/pinkish, the tube .4-.5 inches long, the 5 broad, rounded lobes .25-.5 inches long. They bloom between February and May and may stay in bloom through August. They can be found along washes, wooded areas and on rocky slopes in western forests, usually in partial shade from higher foothills to above timberline in the mountains – 1,500-5,000 feet. A western plant, their distribution is Idaho to western Montana and south to Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

Another possibility for this plant is Cold Desert Phlox (Phlox stansburyi), a.k.a. Pink Phlox. It is native to the southwestern United States from California to Utah to Texas, where it occurs in desert and plateau scrub and woodland habitat. It is a perennial herb taking an upright, branching form. The hairy linear or lance-shaped leaves are 0.39 to 1.2 inches in length and oppositely arranged. The inflorescence bears one or more white to pink flowers with narrow, tubular throats which may exceed 1.2 inches in length. The base of the tube is encased in a calyx of keeled, ribbed sepals. The flower corolla is flat and five-lobed.

Mesquite Mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: I found the specimen in (Fig. 01) on 02/09/2012 while hiking around Grapevine Canyon. One of my fellow hiking friends, Cathy Pool, capture the shot in (Fig. 02) on 11/12/2009 in the Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California. I would like to thank Kathy for helping me to identify this plant.
Description: Mesquite Mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum), a.k.a. Desert Mistletoe is a perennial woody hemi-parasitic shrub with branches 3.9–31 inches long, that grows on other trees. The foliage is dichotomously branching, with minimal opposite pairs of leaves. It is native to the southern deserts of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Baja California. It can be found in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts under 4000 feet elevation. There are eight species in the Southwest, all within the genus Phoradendron. Three species occur on hardwoods, the other five infect conifers.The mistletoe is a leafless plant that uses a haustorium to attach itself to host plants, often leguminous woody desert trees such as Cercidium and Prosopis. It takes water and minerals from its host plants but it does its own photosynthesizes, making it a hemiparasite. The haustorium is a root-like structure that penetrates the host plant's bark and cambium, reaching the xylem and phloem where the haustorium extracts water and minerals, primarily carbon and nitrogen compounds, from the host tree or plant.
During the winter, October to January, it produces inconspicuous, fragrant, greenish-yellow flowers .039-.12 inches in diameter. Female desert mistletoe plants produces numerous, small spherical, translucent, sticky white, pink, or red berries that are adored by fruit-eating birds including cedar waxwings, euphonias, bluebirds, thrushes, robins, and solitaires and especially Phainopeplas (Phainopepla nitens), a silky flycatcher, which then spreads the seeds. Phainopeplas cannot digest the seed of desert mistletoe, so the birds disperse the seeds when they defecate or wipe their bills. The leaves are tiny and scale-like. The stems are green. These aerial hemiparasites grow on the branches of woody shrubs and trees. The main host plants are Acacia, Olneya, Parkinsonia, and Prosopisspecies, which are desert trees and shrubs in the Pea Family (Fabaceae). When the seeds germinate a modified root penetrates the bark of the host and forms a connection through which water and nutrients pass from the host to the mistletoe. It takes approximately 2 to 3 years for shoots to develop, following initial infection, and another year before the plant is producing berries. Young or small trees are seldom infected by mistletoe. In nearly all cases, initial infection occurs on larger or older trees because birds prefer to perch in the tops of taller trees. Severe buildup of mistletoe often occurs within an infected tree because birds are attracted to and may spend prolonged periods feeding on the mistletoe berries.

The white to reddish fruits are edible, but native tribes ate only the fruits of mistletoes growing on mesquite (Prosopis), ironwood (Olneya tesota) or catclaw acacia (Acacia greggii). Desert mistletoe plants, but not the berries, contain phoratoxins which can easily lead to death via slowed heart rate, increased blood pressure,convulsions, or cardiac arrest. Some of these compounds can cause hallucinations, but there is no way to judge dosage. People seeking a "high" from mistletoe still turn up in morgues each year. Native peoples used plants other than desert mistletoe to seek visions.
EFP-stuff 052
(Fig. 02)

Rainbow Spring Road (Summary Page)

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This page last updated on 10/21/2017
(Fig. 01)
MAP-Rainbow Spring-2
(Ref. A)
Directions: To reach Lovell Canyon Road from the Stratosphere on the Las Vegas Strip, take the I-15 to Blue Diamond Road (SR-160 aka Pahrump Highway). Head west on SR-160 for 24 miles, passing the turn to Red Rock Canyon, passing Cottonwood Valley, and passing Mountain Springs. About 3 miles west of Mountain Spring Summit, watch for a highway signs and a right turn onto Lovell Canyon Road. Lovell Canyon road is a paved road that dead-ends at the Torino Ranch, about 11 miles out. After exiting SR-160, drive north on Lovell Canyon Road for 1 mile to an unsigned dirt road on the right; this 3.1 mile dirt road is US Forest Service Road 45537F (Rainbow Spring Road). It passes Bootleg Springs turn off and ends at Rainbow Spring (Ref. A).

Area Description: Located running east off Lovell Canyon Road, Rainbow Spring Road is a 3.1 mile long unmaintained back-country road about a mile north of Highway NV-160 on the west side of the Spring Mountains that runs along the southern boundary of the Spring Mountain Wilderness Area that provides access to Rainbow Spring, Bootleg Spring, and the back side of the Wilson Cliffs in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. At an elevation of 4,825 feet, it starts in Mojave Desert Scrub vegetation, but quickly climbs into the Pinyon-Juniper Woodland. At about 2.83 miles out, the road passes a short spur road to Bootleg Spring. Continuing on for another 0.3 miles, the road ends at a narrow spot in the canyon. At 5,500 feet elevation, this is the trailhead for the short hike to Rainbow Spring. This soft gravel dirt road is suitable for high-clearance vehicles, but may require 4WD in some of the upper portions.

(Ref. B)
10/12/2017 Trip Notes: Today Harvey Smith, Bob Croke, Jim Herring and I attempted to reach Rainbow Springs and the ridges of the Wilson Cliffs east of the spring. Having not been here for fours years, I got confused and mistakenly thought the access road was the first right off Lovell Canyon Road. Wrong. Unfortunately, some mapping services erroneously refer to this road as Rainbow Spring road. This ungraded dirt road was very rough and narrow. When we reached the end of the road we parked and hiked about 1.3 miles around the surrounding area looking for the two springs (Ref. B). Even though we did find two areas that were reminiscent of springs (Fig. 02), neither were what we were looking for. While hiking around we came across one of the largest agave roasting pits I have ever seen (Figs. 03 & 03a) After hiking around for nearly two hours, we finally returned to the truck, had a picnic lunch and then began driving back to the highway. On the return trip we stopped at the "World Famous" Mountain Springs Saloon and a refreshing cold beer. Click here to learn more about this saloon ... Mountain Springs Saloon. After doing some additional research when I got home, I realized that we should have taken the 2nd turn off Lovell Canyon Road, US Forest Service Road 45537F (Rainbow Spring Road), about a mile in from the highway.

(Fig. 02)

(Fig. 03)

(Fig. 03a)
Hiking Notes: The elevation at the start of US Forest Service Road 45537F (Rainbow Spring Road) is 4,825 feet. The trailhead elevation at Rainbow Spring Rd. and the metal post-and-pipe fence, just below the spring, is 5,496 feet. This metal obstruction was installed in February 2015. It serves to keep out motorized vehicles (which are illegal in wilderness areas) while still allowing horses to access the trail. A few hundred feet beyond the fence, the elevation of the Rainbow Spring is 5,558 feet. About .17 mile due east from the spring there is an Agave Roasting Pit. About .03 tenths of a mile beyond the roasting pit is the start of a use-trail. From here, depending upon what route you take, it is about 1.3 to 1.5 miles to the ridge line overlooking Cottonwood Valley. The elevation gain is roughly between 450 to 650 feet depending upon the route and where you reach the ridge line.

06/26/2013 Trip Notes
  Today we decided to drive to the Rainbow Spring, located on the western side of the Spring Mountain Range. While the temperatures back in Henderson reached a high of 108-degrees, with gusty winds.  and and an elevation of around 6,700 feet, the highest temperature we experienced during this hike was 80-degrees.  Even though our only goal was to reach the spring, we followed the use-trail that eventually took us up to the top of the ridge overlooking First Creek Canyon and Spring Mountain State Park in Cottonwood Valley, slightly north of the park’s hiking route to Sandstone Creek Canyon. At a stop about half-way up Rainbow Spring Road to capture a shot of a rabbit and a deer (missed both), I took the picture in (Fig. 01) of the Potosi mountain range to the south. Just shy of three miles up this loose gravel road, some boulders prevented us from traveling any further. After a short walk of only a few hundred feet, we began to encounter a fair amount of water running rather swiftly down the road (Figs. 03 & 04). Following this water stream for several hundred feet brought us to a quite large, lush meadow (Fig. 05), with a very old barbed wire fence (Figs. 05 & 07) running through the middle of it. Walking through the meadows tall grasses, we encountered several wildflowers (Figs. 06-08) being fed by the abundant water coming from the springs. The more we walked up this meadow, the wetter it became (Fig. 09). Once our feet started sinking several inches into the water soaked ground, we turned out of the meadow, never reaching the actual spring, and continued to hike up the road which led us to a very well defined use-trail. Following this trail (Fig. 10) we headed in a north easterly direction for approximately nearly an hour. After dozens of switchbacks that led us across three small mountain areas, we reached the end of the trail, the edge of a 6,750 foot ridge-line overlooking First Creek Canyon (Fig. 11). Continued below ….

(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
Because we arrived here so early in the morning, most of our pictures were taken while looking into the morning sun. As a result, none of these pictures accurately display the color and depth of what we were looking at. Staring down at the floor of Cottonwood Valley, more than a 2,700 feet below us, the views were absolutely breathtaking. Almost spellbound, we hiked up and down the ridge-line (Fig. 23) for more than an hour and a half, soaking in all the views we could absorb (Figs. 12 thru 18). Having not seen a single flowering or blooming plant on the hike to the ridge, I was amazed at not only seeing considerable vegetation, but several blooming cactus and wildflowers (Figs. 19 thru 22). I even chased a butterfly for about 10 minutes until I finally captured a picture (Fig. 20). Beautiful weather, a relatively easy hike, superb views and good company, it was a great day. See note at the bottom of this post.
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
(Fig. 15)
(Fig. 16)
(Fig. 17)
(Fig. 18)
(Fig. 19)
(Fig. 20)
(Fig. 21)
(Fig. 22)
(Fig. 23)
Because today was my friend Harvey Smith’s birthday,
I dedicate this hike to him for sharing it with me.

I just wanted to provide you with another happy birthday wish and let you know that you are not alone. Should you ever need someone to lean on, I will be here for you. In this world, where everything seems uncertain, only one thing is definite. You'll always be my friend, beyond words, beyond time and beyond distance. Looking forward to many more years of fun and friendship. I hope this day was special and will provide lasting memories for many years to come. Cheers!

Happy birthday

Back to ... [Lovell Canyon Road & Spring Mountains - Summary Page]

Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: The picture in (Fig. 01) was taken while hiking in the Joshua Tree Wilderness Area off of Nipton Road,west of Searchlight, NV. The pictures showing the Creosote Bush during its flowering period (Figs. 02 & 03) were captured while hiking the Old Spanish Trail route as it passes through Cottonwood Valley on the south side of NV-160.
Description: Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata), a.k.a. Little Stinker, greasewood and Chaparral,  is a perennial evergreen shrub growing to 3.3 to 9.8 feet tall, and rarely to 13 feet where there is heavy rain. The stems of the plant bear resinous, small dark green leaves with two opposite lanceolate leaflets joined at the base, with a deciduous awn between them, each leaflet 0.28 to 0.71 inches long and 0.16 to 0.33 inches broad. The leaf color, often shiny with wax, depends on season (water): leaves are dark green to yellowish green during spring when water is available, but they turn brown during summer or when water is not available.The flowers are up to 0.98 inches in diameter, with five solitary yellow petals. Fruit is a white, fuzzy, ball about 0.25 inches in size.The plant blooms when water is available, usually in the spring after winter rains and during summer after thunderstorms.Galls may form by the activity of the creosote gall midge. The whole plant exhibits a characteristic odor of creosote, hence its common name.
The Creosote Bush is one of the signature plants in the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave Deserts. It is most common on the well-drained soils of alluvial fans and flats in elevations up to about 4,500 feet. In parts of its range, it may cover large areas in practically pure stands, though it usually occurs in association with Ambrosia dumosa (burro bush or bur-sage). It has been shown that the root systems of mature creosote plants are simply so efficient at absorbing water, that fallen seeds nearby cannot accumulate enough water to germinate, effectively creating dead zones around every plant. It also seems that all plants within a stand grow at approximately the same rate, and that the creosote bush is a very long-living plant. Right at the end of the last ice age about 11,000 years ago, an individual creosote bush began growing, and it is still growing today!! This would make it the oldest individual on Earth. Creosote Bushes grow in ever-widening circles, with their center bushes dying out and sprouting new bushes to the outside (thus no one twig is 11,000 years old). They are so good at soaking up water, that after localized heavy thunderstorms, you will see patches or bands of bright green creosote bush stretching out across the landscape where it rained, while the surrounding landscape remains brown. It is thought to be the most drought-tolerant plant in the desert and can go without rain for at least two years, and survive in areas receiving only 3" of rain per year on average.
(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)

Wheeler Pass via Pahrump

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(Fig. 01)
MAP-Wheeler Pass Road System
(Fig. 02)
Directions - Wheeler Pass Road 
MAP-Wheeler Pass Road Overview-2
(Fig. 03)
The point noted in the lower left corner of the map in (Fig. 02) is about 10.5 miles up Wheeler Pass Road from either of the entry points off of NV-160 in Pahrump, as noted in (Fig. 03). As you can see from the map in (Fig. 02), there are several primary roads that transverse the area taking you to the saw mill and charcoal kilns. Though there are no real designated hiking trails within this area, there are numerous stopping points that provide wonderful opportunities to view and experience the area.

Area Description: This is a very beautiful high mountain desert environment located inside the Wheeler Pass Herd Management Area (HMA), and some of which is located inside the boundaries of Toiyabe National Forest and the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area (SMNRA). The landscape in this area boasts of north-south mountain ranges up to 13,000 feet in elevation, separated by long narrow valleys ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 feet in elevation. The highest point in the county is the summit of Wheeler Peak in the Snake Range at 13,063 feet above sea level. The elevation of “cross-over” point at Wheeler Pass is 7,700 feet. Besides the beautiful, quiet and serene mountain environment, there are two areas of interest here. One being the Tecopa Charcoal Kilns. Built in 1875 they produced charcoal for the Osborne Tecopa smelter near Death Valley. Another is the Younts (Clarks ) Saw Mill which probably provided the wood. In addition to the feral horses that roam the area, one can sometime see herds of elk, deer, and signs of bobcat and mountain lion.

09/11/2014 Trip Notes: Due to the pristine nature of this area, I make it a point to visit at least once a year. Even though I have spotted wild horses, deer, and other wildlife here on previous visits, today's visit, other than the pure mountain air, filled with the smell of the pinion pines, seemed rather mundane. At the beginning of the trip I hiked about a mile up the wash that contains the upper portion of Wheeler Pass Road (Figs. 14-1 & 14-2). The view in (Figs. 14-3 and 14-4) were captured while hiking back down the wash along Clark Canyon Road after visiting the historic site of the Younts (Clarks) saw mill. (see below for pictures) The ledge in (Fig. 14-4) can be found in the middle of the picture in (Fig. 14-3).
(Fig. 14-1)
(Fig. 14-2)
(Fig. 14-3)
(Fig. 14-4)

06/05/2013 Trip Notes: My friend Harvey Smith decided to explore this area in his 4WD truck see if we could make it over Wheeler Pass and down into the town of Cold Creek. On this visit we decided to try something different than our previous visits and enter from WP-2 on (Fig. 03). After driving in for about 10 miles we split off of Wheeler Pass Road, following the Clark Canyon Road to its end at the old Younts (Clark) Saw Mill site. (Refer to the 05/24/2012 Trip Notes section below for pictures and information) Shortly after continuing up this road we encountered seven feral horses that appeared to be nibbling on a dirt embankment (Fig. 04). We couldn't figuring out if they were seeking some moisture or minerals from the soil. After ignoring us for the longest time, they posed (Fig. 05), turned up the road (Fig. 06), and departed up the opposite embankment, disappearing over the hillside (Fig. 07). This was by far the largest spotting we've seen here in all of our visits. When we got to the saw mill site, we decided to ignore the locked gate barring the road and the “Private property, violators will be prosecuted” signs and do a little hiking on the other side, “to see what was there”. The map in (Fig. 08) shows where we hiked. At one point we hiked along a ridge-line that provided us with some nice views of the surrounding area (Fig. 09). Notice the truck parked below in the center of the picture. No sooner did we get back to the truck did the owner arrive. When he got out to unlock the gate, we noticed that the person with him, his grandson we later learned, got out and put on a police gun belt that had a very big hand gun and three attached clips. He told us that the property was used as a police/military training facility. Whew! I have no doubt that they might have shot us for trespassing. From here we headed back down Clark Road to a fork that took us onto Autumn Road. This road follows a wash that provides some very interesting geology (Fig. 10). After a brief ride up Buck Spring Road, we continued on by following the Wheeler Pass Cut-off Road that ends back at Wheeler Pass Road, where we turned north, heading up Wheeler Wash towards Wheeler Pass.
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
MAP-Clark Road Hike
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
EP-P1010479Tecopa Charcoal Kilns: After a few more miles, we came to the site of the Charcoal Kilns (Fig. 11). They were built in 1875 by Nehemia (“Red”) Clark for Jonas.B. Osbourne who was operating a smelter at Tecopa, a mining camp in Inyo County California.

A single Lime kiln(1) was built for Osborne in 1877. Today, these broken down beehive-shaped structures are all that’s left of the three charcoal making kilns and the Lime kiln (Figs. 12, 13, & 14). The location of these kilns was chosen because it was the nearest wood for the smelters. A single kiln has an estimated capacity of 35 cords of wood which would produce 50 bushels of charcoal, enough charcoal to produce one tone of silver-lead ore. Evidence shows only tree limbs were cut in fuel and no extensive tree cutting was done. The charcoal produced here was carried by horse drawn wagons about 50 miles to the Tecopa Smelter.  In 1878, back in the boomtown of Tecopa, California, Osbourne designed and built a furnace big enough to smelt over 20 tons of silver and lead ore each day. It took forty-four men to keep the furnace working by cutting and hauling the ore, and feeding and constantly repairing the furnace. Unfortunately, after less than a year’s use, it completely failed and was abandoned in the fall of 1878. The three charcoal kilns here were used up until 1910. Wood for the kilns was provided by Harsha White, who operated a saw mill in Clark Canyon, and was in partnership with Nehemiah Clark. In 1950 two had fallen down. Natural erosion, vandalism, and theft of the limestone blocks has ruined much of this site. The main kiln was partially restored in 1971 and 1995. The fence is a safety measure for both the kilns and for visitors.
(1) The Lime kiln was used to produce lime which was utilized in making mortar. Limestone was crushed (often by hand) to fairly uniform 1 to 2.5 inch lumps. Successive dome-shaped layers of coal and limestone were built up in the kiln on grate bars across the eye. When loading was complete, the kiln was kindled at the bottom, and the fire gradually spread upwards through the charge. When burnt through, the lime was cooled and raked out through the base. Fine coal ash dropped out and was rejected with the "riddlings". Typically the kiln took a day to load, three days to fire, two days to cool and a day to unload, so a one-week turnaround was normal. The degree of burning was controlled by trial and error from batch to batch by varying the amount of fuel used.
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
MAP-Wheeler Pass Road (Northern End)
(Fig. 15)
The map above (Fig. 15) shows the northern portion of Wheeler Pass Road that we covered, from the charcoal kilns all the way to the town of Cold Creek. Shortly after leaving the site of the kilns we encountered several mule deer (Fig. 16) that made their way across the road and up a nearby ridge. Continuing up Wheeler Pass Road led us across a very large valley that offered outstanding mountain views in every direction. The view in (Fig. 17) is looking back to the southwest over the area that we had just traveled. The view in (Fig. 18) is looking northeast towards Wheeler Pass, the saddle in the center of the picture where we were headed. After a long series of switchbacks we finally ended up at the top of Wheeler Pass (Figs. 19 & 20). We spent nearly an hour hiking around the top of this ridge-line and I was actually amazed at the number of plants, cactus and flowers I found blooming here (Figs. 21 thru 28). [Figure 21 is a Prickly Pear Cactus; Figure 28 is a Mojave Kingcup Cactus] The view in (Fig. 29) is looking east at the area that we had to descend in order to reach the town of Cold Creek. There is no way this picture provides the depth and steepness of the trail that we were about to embark on. Rather than discuss the remainder of today’s journey here, I have added it to the another page titled, Daytrip - Wheeler Pass via Cold Creek  Click this link to read about the rest of today's trip.
(Fig. 16)
(Fig. 17)
(Fig. 18)
(Fig. 19)
(Fig. 20)
(Fig. 21)
(Fig. 22)
(Fig. 23)
(Fig. 24)
(Fig. 25)
(Fig. 26)
(Fig. 27)
(Fig. 28)
(Fig. 29)

05/24/2012 Trip Notes: This was my second trip to this area with rock-hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility. While the temperatures back in Las Vegas were approaching the mid-90’s, it was around 78 degrees with a slight breeze, an absolutely beautiful hiking day. At about 10 miles in, we made our first stop was at the bottom of Clark Canyon Wash where Wheeler Pass Road and Clark Canyon Road split (bottom left corner of (Fig. 02))  Hiking up a ravine to the top of a large hill opposite the wash, I encountered several specimens of plants and cacti (Figs. 30, 31 & 32). As we continued our drive Clark Canyon Road some of us sighted two deer scampering up a hillside, but unfortunately were not prepared to get a picture.
(Fig. 30)
(Fig. 31)
(Fig. 32)
Younts (Clark) Saw Mill: At the end of Clark Canyon Road we located the remains of the Younts (Clark) Saw Mill, shown in the grouping of pictures below. This mill supplied to the Tecopa charcoal kilns as well as lumber to the Bullfrog mining district surrounding Rhyolite, Nevada, some 70 miles to the north. Pryor to the railroad being completed the wood was hauled by wagons up to around 1905. There is evidence indicating that this site was in operation before the 1900’s. All that remains today is the large boiler (Fig. 33) that produced the steam that ran the large piston, which then turned a series of heavy steel wheels (Fig. 34), connected by belts that eventually turned a large saw blade (Fig. 35). A stamping on the base of the boiler (Fig. 36) indicates that it was made by the Pacific Iron Works of San Francisco in 1876. From this site most of us hiked back along the roadsides and accompanying washes for more than three miles, until Bill eventually picked us up for the long return journey home. Be sure to view the slideshow for more pictures.
(Fig. 33)
(Fig. 34)
(Fig. 35)
(Fig. 36)

09/22/2011 Trip Notes: Today's hike with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility took us high into the western side of the Spring Mountain Range. The view at the top of the page was taken at about the halfway point on our journey up Wheeler Pass Road towards the summit of Wheeler Pass. Even though we never made it to the top of the pass, we got to enjoy the wonderfully fresh mountain air, cooler temperatures, and some very nice scenery along our journey. Several of us decided to hike along the roadway on the way back and let Bill pick us up on the return down the mountain. If you look at the two panoramic pictures (Figs. 37 & 42)  you might get the feeling that there is nothing but desert landscape with little to no life to be seen, however, the four shots shown in (Figs. 38 thru 41) that were taken while walking along the road on the way back are proof that there is life in the desert.
(Fig. 37)
(Fig. 38)
(Fig. 39)
(Fig. 40)
(Fig. 41)
(Fig. 42)

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Slideshow Description:
The slideshow above contains 131 pictures of this area that were taken over three different visits here.

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