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Peak 1267 Loop Route
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument
Peak 1267 Loop
Peak 1267 Loop
Hiker departing the trailhead (view N towards low saddle)

Overview

The Peak 1267 Loop Route is a fairly easy 6-mile loop that circumnavigates Peak 1267. With the peak at only 1,267 meters (4,157 ft), this isn't high country, but the limestone crags of the summit tower above the surrounding landscape.

There are two canyons that trend north along the east and west sides of Peak 1267. Washes that flow down the two canyons merge on desert flats north of the peak. As described, this route starts at the head of the east canyon, runs north to near the confluence, then returns up the west canyon and back to the trailhead via Lincoln Mine Road. The route, of course, can be hiked in the other direction.

The canyons traverse a landscape of broken and remixed geology with chunks of time scattered about like a child's building blocks. The route passes Precambrian metamorphic rock, Permian Red Beds, and even the Kaibab and Toroweap limestones that cap the Grand Canyon.

Link to hiking map.

Peak 1267 Loop
Atop low saddle, route runs gently downhill (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this hike is pretty safe without any unusual hazards or even any boulder fields to traverse.

However, this is wild and remote country 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, although most fly south of this area.

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

Peak 1267 Loop
Animal trail passing a burned Joshua tree (view N)

Getting to the Trailhead

Peak 1267 is located out in Gold Butte northeast of Lake Mead, about 3.5 hours northeast of Las Vegas. From town, drive out to Gold Butte, then drive south on the paved Gold Butte Road to Whitney Pocket at the end of the pavement.

From Whitney Pocket, continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road to Gold Butte Townsite. From the Townsite, drive northwest on Red Bluff Spring Road 5.9 miles to the north end of Lincoln Mine Road, on the right.

Alternatively (slower), from Whitney Pocket, drive south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road to Mud Wash North Road. Turn right and continue southwest to Mud Wash Road. Drive west on Mud Wash Road until it ends, then turn left onto Red Bluff Spring Road. Drive south 8.6 miles to Lincoln Mine Road, on the left.

Either way, turn east on Lincoln Mine Road and continue 2.5 miles to the trailhead.

Peak 1267 Loop
Four bighorn sheep (two at left) on Peak 1267 (view NW)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the route starts heading due north up the gentle hillside for about 150 yards to the first low saddle (Wpt. 02). Peak 1267 lies ahead to the left, and the route bends a bit right running down the broad, shallow wash for the next 0.7 miles. At that point, the shallow wash joins the major wash (Wpt. 03) to the east that drains a fair bit of Tramp Ridge.

Heading north in the shallow wash, the low, rounded ridge on the right separates this wash from the major wash farther right by as little as 100 yards. In fact, hikers could have started heading due east from the trailhead and quickly entered the main wash. Hikers doing the route in the opposite direction (clockwise) should make note of this as the shallow wash would be easy to miss.

In the main wash (Wpt. 03), the route continues down the canyon. Another canyon merges from the right, and together they flow into a narrower section of canyon.

Peak 1267 Loop
Route follows wash towards curious geology at first narrows

Here, the geology is quite curious. The entire landscape appears to be limestone, so it was formed in layers on the bottom of the ocean. Yet here on the west side of the canyon, faulting has mixed an outcrop of dark and light metamorphic rock into the limestone. The areas is broken by many faults, some of which can be seen on the east wall of the canyon.

This region was jumbled by major faults that bring together Precambrian limestones (dating from more than 500 million years ago [mya]) and Permian limestones (300-250 mya) nearby to Precambrian metamorphic rocks. Apparently the chunk of dark and light metamorphic rock here got caught and pulled into in the mix.

Continuing down canyon, the wash opens and the hiking is easy as the wash winds back and forth bouncing off the rock walls. Eventually the canyon jogs right (Wpt. 04) and the trace of an old mining road can be seen ahead on the left. Hikers have a choice to make: down through the narrows or up over the road.

Peak 1267 Loop
Curious geology (dark and light metamorphic rock in limestone)

Choosing the narrows, the wash bends right and enters a narrows section of water-polished dark limestone. While this probably is the more interesting choice with curious rocks and a bit of easy scrambling, it seems that each narrow spot is guarded by catclaw acacia trees that well deserve the other name: wait-a-minute bush. Hikers making the choice to venture into the narrows will pay in blood.

Choosing the old mining road, hikers stay left onto the road. Parts were hacked out of the rocky hillside and parts are held up using handmade stone walls. The road is moderately steep, and by the time hikers have made the saddle, they will have paid in sweat (nothing is free). Descending the north side of the ridge, the road eventually disappears into the hillside, but the route returns to the wash (Wpt. 05) and continues downstream.

The canyon winds west pinched between layered limestone cliffs, then bends back to the north. In this area, the route begins to leave the canyons and crags behind and starts out onto what feels like a broad, open basin of desert flats surrounded by limestone ridges.

Peak 1267 Loop
Dark and light metamorphic rock in limestone landscape

On these "desert flats," the view northeast is grand. The view in that direction is bounded 1-1/2 miles away by a ridge of limestone, which is an unnamed ridge running parallel to Tramp Ridge (but part of the Tramp Ridge complex). Towards the center of that ridge, a red outcrop bursts from the cliff wall. This appears to be a thrust fault where older limestone was pushed up and over younger sandstone (the process that formed Red Rock Canyon NCA), but this is not the case. The red outcrop is not Aztec Sandstone, rather it is Permian Red Beds. The Red Beds formed in place, with the limestone forming on top of them after this area went back under the sea.

Continuing down the wash, the high limestone ridge on the left begins to fall away. When the ridge on the left is little higher than the surrounding landscape, the center of the wash will be approaching the eroded edge of a low alluvial ridge ahead on the right (now the other side of the wash). At a large, isolated limestone boulder (Wpt. 06), which makes a useful landmark, the route turns left out of the wash and heads west-southwest to cross the last of the limestone ridge (Wpt. 07) and drops into the valley on the other side and joins an old mining road (Wpt. 08).

Peak 1267 Loop
Light metamorphic rock

As a slight alternative, when departing the limestone boulder and starting across the flats, the flat landscape will begin to angle up, and hikers can stay on the flats, angling northwest, to an old mining road that circles around the toe of the low ridge and runs up into the canyon to the left.

This valley (Wpt. 08) runs north-south on the west side of Peak 1267. The route merges with the old mining road and heads south into the canyon. The hiking is easy, and the ridges on both sides soon tower above the valley bottom.

The cliffs in this canyon also are more than meets the eye. On the east side, the limestone ridge is Pennsylvanian (late Carboniferous Period) Callville Limestone, dating from about 320 mya. On the west side of the canyon, the limestone is much younger Permian Kaibab and Toroweap limestone dating from about 270 mya. The wash, and therefore the route, follows the trace of the fault that separates these two kinds of limestone.

Peak 1267 Loop
Dark metamorphic rock

The old road on the valley bottom makes for easy walking, although sometimes it is easier to just walk in the desert. There is little cryptobiotic soil here, so leaving the old road makes little difference to the ecosystem. The old road ends (Wpt. 09) at the head of the valley, and the route continues up the wash intermittently following the sandy wash and animal trails.

The wash runs up the canyon at a generally easy grade, but steepens somewhat as it approaches the head of the valley. Eventually, however, the route breaks out onto the last saddle (Wpt. 10) with great views north and south.

Descending the other side, animal trails continue but eventually fade into the landscape. Even so, the walking is easy in this burned area, and the route continues downhill until reaching Lincoln Mine Road (Wpt. 11).

Turning left, the route follows the road up into the canyon, below the towering cliffs of Peak 1267, and returns to the trailhead (Wpt. 01).

Peak 1267 Loop
Barrel cactus growing on curious metamorphic rock
Peak 1267 Loop
Spring wildflowers: Woolly Easterbonnets, Woollystar, and brome
Peak 1267 Loop
More curious geology: red-stained limestone
Peak 1267 Loop
More curious geology: red-stained limestone
Peak 1267 Loop
Healthy shrubs - the fire didn't get here
Peak 1267 Loop
Continuing down the canyon (view N)

Alternative 1: Old miner's road over saddle

Peak 1267 Loop
Old road left over saddle vs. narrow in canyon bottom
Peak 1267 Loop
Hiker on old bypass road (view N)
Peak 1267 Loop
Hiker atop saddle on old bypass road (view NE)
Peak 1267 Loop
Hiker descending off saddle on old bypass road (view NE)

Alternative 2: Route through Narrows

Peak 1267 Loop
Narrow canyon bottom vs. old road left over saddle
Peak 1267 Loop
Starting into gray limestone narrows (view NE)
Peak 1267 Loop
Polished limestone
Peak 1267 Loop
Every tight spot is guarded by a catclaw acacia
Peak 1267 Loop Peak 1267 Loop
Peak 1267 Loop
Nearing the end of the narrow section
desert tortoise
Desert tortoise carcass and feral burro scat
desert tortoise
Desert tortoise carcass and feral burro scat
desert tortoise
Desert tortoise carcass and feral burro scat

Continuing Down the Canyon

Peak 1267 Loop
After narrows, route continues down the canyon (view NW)
Peak 1267 Loop
Continuing down the canyon (view NW)
Peak 1267 Loop
Easy hiking (view NW)
Peak 1267 Loop
Layered limestone (view NW)
Peak 1267 Loop
Barrel cactus growing from fossiliferous limestone boulder
Peak 1267 Loop
Fossils in the limestone and desert ferns (Parry's Lipfern)
Peak 1267 Loop
The canyon begins to widen
Peak 1267 Loop
Cow pies (scat) from trespass cattle
Peak 1267 Loop
Last of the limestone crags on the flanks of Peak 1267 (view N)
Peak 1267 Loop
Permian Red Bed outcrop below limestone layers (view NW)
Peak 1267 Loop
Permian Red Bed outcrop below limestone layers (zoom; view NW)
Peak 1267 Loop
Broad, open wash in broad, open valley (view N)
Peak 1267 Loop
Solitary limestone boulder in wash before dirt hillside (view N)
Peak 1267 Loop
Solitary limestone boulder is a good landmark: turn left (view W)
Peak 1267 Loop
Route traverses gentle slopes (view W)
Peak 1267 Loop
Route traverses gentle slopes towards low saddle (view W)
Peak 1267 Loop
Vast field of invasive, fire-prone red brome grass (view SE)
Peak 1267 Loop
Tarantula hole with silk lining, but nobody is home
Peak 1267 Loop
Low saddle (view SW into next valley)
Peak 1267 Loop
Dead barrel cactus with a seedling trying again in the same spot
Peak 1267 Loop
Seedling barrel cactus amid spines of dead barrel cactus
Peak 1267 Loop
Descending off low saddle into the next valley (view SW)
Peak 1267 Loop
Hiker at base of limestone outcrop (view SW)
Peak 1267 Loop
Animal trail follows old road up the valley (view S)
Peak 1267 Loop
Route follows old road (view S towards backside of Peak 1267)
Peak 1267 Loop
Tarantula hole with silk lining and cover; this spider is home
Peak 1267 Loop
Canyon begins to narrow towards head of the valley
Peak 1267 Loop
Remains of another desert tortoise
Peak 1267 Loop
Animal trail continues up the narrowing canyon (view S)
Peak 1267 Loop
Looking back over early-spring landscape with sunlight (view N)
Peak 1267 Loop Peak 1267 Loop
Peak 1267 Loop
Weeds: tumbleweed high in the canyon; legacy of ranching
Peak 1267 Loop
Getting high in the canyon (view S)
Peak 1267 Loop
Approaching the last saddle (view S)
Peak 1267 Loop
Atop the last saddle; animal trail continues (view S into the rain)
Peak 1267 Loop
Wet hiker approaching Lincoln Mine Road (view S)
Peak 1267 Loop
Wet hiker on Lincoln Mine Road (view E)
Peak 1267 Loop
Wet hiker on Lincoln Mine Road (view E)
Peak 1267 Loop
Wet hiker returning to trailhead (view E)

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)
01 Trailhead 751588 4026348 3,519 0.00 0.00
02 First Low Saddle 751603 4026455 3,684 0.09 0.09
03 Merge into Main Wash 752063 4027404 3,446 0.71 0.80
04 Routes Diverge 751791 4028331 3,240 0.75 1.55
05 Routes Merge 751869 4028529 3,156 0.16 1.71
06 Solitary Limestone Boulder 751240 4029649 3,136 1.02 2.73
07 Low Saddle 750822 4029538 3,131 0.28 3.01
08 Route Joins Old Mining Road 750679 4029438 3,099 0.12 3.13
09 Old Mining Road Ends 750789 4028004 3,385 0.98 4.11
10 Last Saddle 750449 4026706 3,776 0.92 5.03
11 Route Joins Lincoln Mine Rd 750323 4026424 3,704 0.22 5.25
01 Trailhead 751588 4026348 3,519 0.82 6.07

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170917

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