and Photos by Joel Brewster
Being a Henderson resident, I have always wanted to climb Black Mountain,
the highest peak in the mountain range just southwest of Henderson.
I had attempted it twice previously, both times at least five years
ago when there were no homes or roads within many miles of the mountain.
Both times, I was unsuccessful due to route-finding errors and inexperience.
Now it is much easier, as there is actually a trail that leads to the
On January 10th, Mike Shackleford and I set out to conquer Black Mountain.
We drove south out Anthem Parkway as far as we could and parked near
a construction site. It was a gorgeous day as we negotiated a route
across the desert towards Black Mountain. We had to dodge bulldozers
and trucks as we picked our way across numerous construction roads.
Soon we came to a water retention basin, which is where the trailhead
is actually located. We followed a road for a short distance before
opting for a cross-country route towards a ridge that leads to the peak.
As we made our way in the direction of this ridge, we stumbled upon
the trail. It is fairly easy to follow except in a few places where
it goes over piles of volcanic rock. We followed this trail as it winds
its way up the ridgeline to the summit.
On the summit we were treated to a tremendous view in all directions.
Clearly visible was snowy Mt. Charleston, Red Rock and Mt. Potosi in
one direction; and Frenchman Peak, Lake Mead, Boulder City, and miles
of inhabited desert in the other direction. There was no register on
the summit, but the view made up for it. Mike and I were startled to
see how far the homes had encroached on the mountain in the last five
years and wondered how much farther they would come in the next five.
After a short lunch break, we headed back down the trail. We followed
the trail to its end, near the water retention basin we had passed on
the way up. We saw one hiker just starting out as we passed the trailhead.
I later learned that Tom and Barb McGibbon had actually hiked Black
Mountain the same day! We must have just missed them as they started
around noon, right when we were finishing.
From there, we had to navigate our way back across the desert and construction
to locate our car. The entire time for the hike was about four and a
half hours, but would probably only be three hours if we started from
the actual trailhead. It was a great hike, and I was glad to have finally
made it to the summit. Since Amy, Toby and I are moving across town
in early February, I declared this to be my "Farewell to Henderson"