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Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Shark Tooth Peak
Jumbo Peak
Shark Tooth and Jumbo peaks at the head of Cedar Basin (view S)

Overview

Jumbo Ridge Highpoint (5,692 ft) is the highpoint on Jumbo Ridge, but not the summit (5,761 ft). The summit is a tower of 5th-Class granite that is inaccessible to most hikers. The Highpoint, however, provides all of the hiking excitement (but excludes climbing excitement) achieved by summit climbers with views every bit as grand and expansive as those from the summit.

Jumbo Ridge Highpoint, located at the south end of Gold Butte National Monument, is extremely remote, steep, and rocky, but once hikers make it to the trailhead, the route is obvious to follow: up sideslopes winding among rocky outcrops to the ridgeline, then north along the ridgeline to the highpoint.

Views from the Highpoint are spectacular and extend across Cedar Basin to the north, as well as southeast into the Grand Canyon and southwest to peaks in southern California -- pretty much the same as those from the true summit.

Link to map.

Shark Tooth Peak
Shark Tooth--Jumbo Peak Trailhead (view SW)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a wild and remote area without services of any kind (no restrooms, no water, no gas, no food). Bring what you need to survive. Be prepared and be self-reliant. It is a big place and someone will find you eventually if you stay on a main road, but be prepared to survive alone for a day or two, or even longer on side roads. Consider signalling the tourist helicopters that traverse the area coming and going from the Grand Canyon.

This hike is relatively safe, but be extra careful on rocky outcrops on the highpoint where hikers could fall and help is a long ways off.

While out, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this is a remote area, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Jumbo PeakDirect route runs up the side of the ridge (view W from trailhead)

Getting to the Trailhead

Jumbo Ridge Highpoint is located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 3.5 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte National Monument. From Whitney Pocket, continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road to Gold Butte Townsite. From there, Scanlon Road is the main road running southwest. Drive south on Scanlon Road for 1.9 miles to Quail Springs Wash (watch for a flash flood warning sign). Turn left and drive up Cedar Basin Road, which follows Quail Springs Wash into Cedar Basin.

At 3.3 miles out, Cedar Basin Road forks at a white 55-gallon drum in a forested area, stay right on Cedar Basin Road. Passing historic corrals, Cedar Basin Road continues south into a broad canyon generally following a wash. When the road turns left out of the wash and starts up across the gentle hillside, watch for an open area among burned trees that serves as the trailhead. Don't get too far from the wash. Park here; this is the trailhead.

Jumbo Peak
From the wash, the route stays right of rocky outcrop (view W)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the route runs west to cross the wash (Wpt. 02), then continues southwest and up into a shallow side canyon, staying right of a rocky outcrop.

Running up the side canyon, the route passes through an area of skeleton trees that did not survive the last fire. Near the top of the side canyon, the route bends a bit left and climbs onto the adjacent ridgeline, arriving at a flat spot (Wpt. 03) where the top of the ridge blends into the steep slopes of the hillside above.

From the flat spot (Wpt. 03), the route ahead can be seen all the way to the crest of Jumbo Ridge, initially aiming southwest towards the north side of the summit tower.

After hiking up and across the hillside about 150 vertical-feet, the slope steepens. After a steep 300 vertical-feet, the grade eases as the route enters a flatish, bowl-like area. At this point, adjacent to a large boulder (Wpt. 04), the route turns 90-degrees right to angle up and across (heading northwest) the more-gentle slope.

Jumbo Peak
Red Brome grows dense in old burn area

Ahead, a double-topped false summit looms in the distance. The route climbs over the false summit, passing through the notch on the top. From the false summit, the true summit is a short distance ahead. The route continues northwest and drops into a saddle before climbing the last rocky slopes to the Highpoint. Gaining the Highpoint requires a step or two of 3rd-class scrambling, but hikers who can make it this far won't have trouble.

From the Highpoint, the views are spectacular. Hikers can look northeast into the corner of Arizona and maybe Utah, southeast into the Grand Canyon, southwest to high peaks in California, west to Las Vegas, and northwest to the Spring and Sheep ranges.

Return to the trailhead by following your footprints back down the mountain, or consider hiking north along the crest of the ridge to the base of the granite tower. Hikers can pass through the tower on the left (east) side and then continue southeast down the ridge into a deep saddle. From the saddle, it is an easy hike down and northeast to the trailhead.

Jumbo Peak
Flat spot (view SW)
Jumbo Peak
Gentle hillsides become steep (view SW)
Jumbo Peak
Angling across steep hillside aiming for summit tower (view SW)
Jumbo Peak
Adjacent to large boulder at top of steep slope (view SW)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Still adjacent to large boulder, route turn northwest (view NW)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Hiking towards north on false summit (view NW)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Approaching false summit (view NW)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Atop false summit (view NW towards Highpoint)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Approaching Highpoint (view W)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Jumble of boulders at the Highpoint (view W)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Highpoint (view S towards true summit)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Don't overlook close-ups! Mountain Phlox (Phlox austromontana)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Summit (view SW towards Bonelli Peak)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Summit (view NW towards Overton)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Summit (view N towards Mormon Mountains)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Summit (view NNE towards Virgin Peak and NW Arizona)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Summit (view E towards Grand Wash Cliffs)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
Summit (view SE towards Grand Canyon and Jumbo Peak)
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
View Southeast
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
View southwest
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
View North
Jumbo Ridge Highpoint
View North-Northeast

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates and Distances based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download hiking GPS waypoints (gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Jumbo Peak Trailhead 754281 4010898 4,685 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Wash Crossing 754197 4010889 4,678 0.05 0.05 GPS
03 Flat Area Atop Ridge 754026 4010739 4,834 0.18 0.23 GPS
04 Route Bends 753618 4010549 5,370 0.39 0.62 GPS
05 Jumbo Ridge Highpoint 753345 4010772 5,679 0.29 0.91 GPS
01 Jumbo Peak Trailhead 754281 4010898 4,685 0.91 1.82 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150828

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