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A “Bonanza” of Forest Beauty

Peak Summited2021 Bonanza Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadBonanza Peak Trailhead
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Road ConditionsRoad rough but passable
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsMinor obstacles posing few problems

7/6/2021 – Peak 4 of the Las Vegas Six Pack of Peaks Challenge

Bonanza Peak (10,400’), 8.88 miles and 2,975 feet in total elevation gain

I can’t even begin to describe how pleasant and relaxing this hike was, so I won’t. Instead I’ll cite a write up from Bird and Hike, Hiking Around Las Vegas, Spring Mountains, Bonanza Peak Trail (birdandhike.com) although our hiking distance does differ by almost a mile. With the ease of gain in elevation during the climb, I personally would lean more toward my distance than that given by Bird and Hike. Either way, it is a great hike with stunning views.

“This hike is strenuous, 4-miles and 3,000-ft elevation gain (one-way), but the grades are fairly consistent and never extreme. The trail starts at the Bonanza Trailhead above Cold Creek, climbs some 80 switchbacks to the crest of the Spring Mountains, and then heads south along the crest, passing a few more switchbacks, to the summit.”

“The trail is forested all the way to the summit with trees that provide lots of shade. The lower trail is forested with ponderosa pinewhite fir, and mountain mahogany, and higher up forested with bristlecone pines. There is even some common juniper, uncommon in this part of the world, higher up. There are great views through the trees to the east from many places along this scenic trail, but the views are especially grand from Bonanza Saddle (views east and west) and from Bonanza Peak (views east, south, and west). Above Bonanza Saddle, there are even nice views north.”

I began my day, once again, by getting up early and heading out to be at the trailhead by 5am. From Las Vegas it is about a 1hr 20 minute drive most of which is on the 95 freeway. After about 36 miles on the 95, there is a turn onto Cold Creek Rd. This road is a double wide paved road with no lane dividers. After following this road for about 15 miles, it turned into a dirt (rocky) road. This is about a 2 mile drive that leads to the Bonanza Peak Trailhead. The sign at the start of the dirt road indicates high clearance vehicles, but I drove my Hyundai Elantra (slowly) and had no issues. I wouldn’t recommend it in inclement weather though.

When I arrived at the trailhead parking, I was the only vehicle there. Of course it’s Tuesday so I didn’t expect to see too many hikers today. In fact, I saw zero. I had the trail and the summit all to myself today which added to how excellent this hike was.

The first 3.25 miles to Bonanza Saddle was a very pleasant trek through the forest with multiple switchbacks and a very easy incline. Lots of shade on the way up and a very lite breeze. After the saddle it was another mile or so to the summit. The weather was pleasant all morning. Probably upper 60’s at the start and staying in the 60’s and low70’s until I was almost down. It was in the mid 80’s at my car at 10am, but it didn’t feel like it with the shade and the slight breeze. The views on the ascent, at Bonanza Saddle and at the summit were awesome. In fact, at one point, once I crossed over the saddle to follow the ridgeline to the summit, I could see a large mountain range way off in the distance. On the right side and behind that range was San Jacinto Peak. Who knew!

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