Yucca Peak Fossil Beds Hike - Summary Page

10/04/2016 - Today was my fourth visit to the Yucca Peak Fossil Beds inside the Desert National Wildlife Range, this time with hiking partners Jim Herring and Blake Smith. For pictures and a description of today's hike, go to ... Yucca Peak Fossil Beds Hike - 10/04/2016 Trip Notes. Click the next link to visit the pictures and description of my previous hike of three years ago ...  05/16/2013 Update Yucca Peak Fossil Beds. You can also click the following link to learn more about the Desert National Wildlife Range ... Desert National Wildlife Range.

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(Fig. 01)
MAP-Yucca Peak Trailhead
(Fig. 02) Click to Enlarge
Trailhead Directions: If you continue east, a few yards beyond the Corn Creek Station parking area, you will come to a T-intersection and the road sign shown in (Fig. 01) above. Turn right onto Mormon Well Road, a well graded dirt road that can be driven at about 25 mph most of the way to the trailhead. After driving south for about 0.3 miles, the road bends to the left and starts heading east and up towards the mountains (Fig. 03). About 4 miles after making this turn you will pass Gass Peak Road on your right. As you continue heading east on the main road, you will go through Yucca Gap and out into the Yucca Forest (Fig. 04). The road gradually bends to the north and starts running up along the southeastern edge of the Sheep Range. At about mile 9.1 miles, the road cuts right, crosses a large wash, then cuts back left and resumes heading northward. Just past this point, at about 9.3 miles, the road makes a sharp right again and heads off to the east. There is a large parking area on the outside (left side) of this curve on top of a dirt cliff overlooking Long Canyon Wash (Fig. 05). Though none of the trails here are well worn or overly obvious, this turnoff is actually the trailhead for three different hiking locations; Yucca Peak, Yucca Peak Fossil Beds, and Long Canyon.

MAP-Yucca Peak Hike
(Fig. 02a) Click to Enlarge
Yucca Peak Fossil Route: From the parking area, a view slightly northwest (Fig. 06) looks directly towards the canyon that you want to head to in order to reach the fossil beds, located at the top of the dark flat ridge in the upper left corner of (Fig. 06). Walk north along the dirt cliff until you see a cairn on the edge marking a spot where you can drop down into the wash on a lightly used use-trail. Refer to (Fig. 02a). The route continues up and across the broad wash, heading a little bit north of northwest, aiming for the first big side canyon north of the parking area on the far side of the wash. The entrance to this canyon has limestone cliffs along the left side. As you hike across the wash coming down from Long Canyon, you begin to enter the wash coming down from the canyon you want to go up. As you begin to enter the canyon, the route passes a band of short cliffs on the left side of the wash that contain some interesting little caves in the cliffs. The route stays in the wash to a point past the little cliffs where a gully comes down the steep hillside (Fig. 07). You can look up the gully to the top of the ridge on the south side of the canyon and see a limestone buttress with a large cave at the bottom of the cliff. The route continues up the gully, moving to the right, requiring a series of switchbacks to climb the many small ledges and cliffs that are at about the same elevation as the cave. Click the image to enlarge and better see a dotted yellow line that shows the route as it passes to the west of the buttress on this fairly steep hillside, climbing to the top of the ridge. Once at the top of the ridge, you will find many fossils as you transverse east and south of the crest. Also be on the lookout for fossils as you climb up the hillside.
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)

10/04/2016 Trip Notes:  Today was my fourth visit to the Yucca Peak Fossil Beds inside the Desert National Wildlife Range, this time with hiking partners Jim Herring and Blake Smith. For pictures and a description of today's hike, go to ... Yucca Peak Fossil Beds Hike - 10/04/2016 Trip Notes

05/16/2013 Trip Notes:  Because I had quite a few pictures to add from today's hike to the fossil bed area, I created a separate update page. Click here for pictures and information on today's hike ... Update - Yucca Peak Fossil Beds.

04/18/2013 Trip Notes: Having missed the point at which we were suppose to climb up to the top of the ridge on my last visit, I was determined to get there this time. While the majority of the group headed out towards Long Canyon, Mike, Jackie, Buster and I headed out towards the fossil beds. Once we reached the hillside that we needed to climb to reach the beds, Buster decided to bow out and continue hiking up the canyon wash. As we climbed up the hillside, Mike and Jackie headed more towards the cave, thinking it might be an easier route to the top, only to find out that it led to a rather steep, impassable ravine. After trying to hike around the buttress (Fig. 09), they had to end up going back. If you click and enlarge (Fig. 09), you can see Mike standing at the bottom edge of the shaded buttress. EP-P1000129After taking taking a more northerly route to the right and hiking around several small cliff-like ridges, I eventually made it to the top. The view (Fig. 10) from the top of the ridge looking south across the Yucca forested valley towards the Las Vegas Mountain Range was impressive. (Fig. 08) is a blow-up of the very center of the image in (Fig. 10), showing the area where we parked.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I didn't have much time to stop and take pictures or explore the full length of the crest once I reached it. Over the course of the hike however, I did manage to capture several photos of rocks that contained various fossil corals, shells, sponges, horn corals, and crinoids. Refer to the two polyptychs in (Figs. 11 & 12). In addition to the many typical desert scrub we saw today, such as Creosote Bush, White Bursage, Mojave Yuccas, Banana Yuccas, Beavertail Cactus, Hedgehog Cactus, Barrel Cactus, Indian Paintbrush and others, I found the three plants shown in (Figs. 13, 14 & 15) while hiking up this steep ridge.

On our return trip, we stopped at Tule Springs at Floyd Lamb State Park for lunch. Our ever thoughtful group leader and trip organizer, Linda Groft, provided all the ‘fixings’ for a hot dog barbecue (Fig. 16). Besides a full range of condiments, she also had homemade baked beans, potato salad, and homemade pastries for dessert. Because I was busy starting the fire, cooking and dishing out hot dogs to order, I forgot about taking pictures until we were almost finished. Sorry if I didn't get your picture.
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
Fossils 01
(Fig. 11)
Fossils 02
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
(Fig. 15)
Floyd Lamb Barbeque
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03/01/2013 Trip Notes: From the parking area we dropped down into the Long Canyon wash and across the plain towards the canyon opening. Along the way we passed the home of a desert tortoise (Fig. 17). As these guys don’t come out from hibernation until around mid-April, we assumed that he was still buried deep within his hole. Well, unfortunately, my bad, we hiked right by the area that we were suppose to climb in (Fig. 07), and instead continued hiking all the way up the wash (Fig. 18) to the end of the canyon. Even though this was a nice hike and afforded us with some nice views looking back (Fig. 19). Obviously, having missed the area we were supposed to have been, we had very little luck finding any fossils, only seeing an occasional rock with evidence of some embedded shells, as seen in the triptych in (Fig. 20). On the hike back we came upon a relatively young, long eared jackrabbit, that to our surprise, sat motionless for nearly five minutes while we snapped a series of pictures, triptych in (Fig. 21). The last picture (Fig. 22) is a view east of the Las Vegas Range and the Arrow Canyon Range on the way back to the Corn Creek Field Station.
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 18)
(Fig. 19)
(Fig. 20)
Long Eared Rabbit
(Fig. 21)
(Fig. 22)