Sunday, April 07, 2013

Hiking Silver Peak

Last week I hiked Silver Peak.  It's probably not the one you're thinking of.  Summitpost has many Silver Peaks listed, but not this one.  The Silver Peak I hiked is a 6300 foot peak in the Granite Mountains on the southern side of the Mojave National Preserve.  Here's a google map centered on the peak.

The weather was great.  The photo above is taken on the dirt road to the trailhead.  Silver Peak is the tree covered peak in the distance on the right side.  I used the information in Andy Zdon's book, Desert Summits, along with  As usual, I also used the USGS 7.5 quad map (Bighorn Basin). 

This was my first hike of the year.  I chose this peak thinking it'd be an easy warmup for my hiking season.  I was wrong.  Apparently my fitness level is quite poor.  I reached the summit, but was fighting off cramps in one hamstring for most of the day.

The hike is roughly 9 miles round trip with 2400 feet in elevation gain.  It took me 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach the top.  I descended slowly nursing my leg, so my total hiking time was 5 hours.  

Here are the maps I used.  The first is taken from the hikespeak site.

It's an easy hike, with no route-finding required.  I just followed the old 2-track mining road that ends about 50 feet below the summit.  This must be a popular hike, since I saw a ton of footprints and rock cairns.  Other hikers must be bored to stop and build so many cairns on a trail that doesn't require them.  To be fair, the cairns were helpful on that last 50 feet to the summit, helping to find the easiest route to the top.

From the summit, the Kelso Dunes are visible to the north.

The next photo shows the Providence Mountains in the distance.  The valley I hiked up is on the right.

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