Spirit Mountain Wilderness includes 33,518 acres of land in the Newberry Mountains (which include Spirit Mountain) of Clark County in Nevada. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, the Wilderness Area is 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Laughlin. Most of the wilderness is a part of the Lake Mead Recreation Area.
Within the Spirit Mountain Wilderness Area is a place that is considered sacred among the Native American cultures of the area. The mountain has a significant position in the religion and mythology of the area’s Yuman Tribes, who see it as their spiritual birthplace and believe it to be where all life started. Others who lived in the area include the Amacava (the ancestors of those now known as Mojave peoples) and possibly the Southern Paiute. In addition to its rich history, the area offers amazing landscapes, an abundance of recreation opportunities and is home to a myriad of wildlife as well as archaeological resources.
When looking to spend time at higher elevations in the desert, Spirit Mountain Wilderness is an excellent choice to explore.
Spirit Mountain Wilderness is a part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. From Las Vegas, take highway 93/95 south toward Boulder City. Before getting to Boulder City, take the highway 95 turn-off (just past Railroad Pass). The sign at the turn-off lists Laughlin, Nevada and Needles, California.
Continue on Highway 95 for about 35 miles (56.3 km) to Searchlight, where you can find gas and some food. Continue on Highway 95 past the small community of Cal-Nev-Ari for a few miles to the sign on the left for Christmas Tree Pass Road turn-off. This is a well-graded dirt road, on which you will proceed eastward for eight miles (13 km). After the road crosses a pass, keep your eyes out for a dirt road that heads to the north (from Christmas Tree Pass Road). Continue on this road for about a quarter mile (.4 km) to a small turn-off which has a few parking spaces to the left. From here you can see Spirit Mountain and its granite peak, to the north.
Parking is available within Spirit Mountain Wilderness.
There is no public transportation to Spirit Mountain Wilderness.
About 40 minutes from the Spirit Lake Wilderness Area is the Katherine Landing Campground at the Lake Mohave Marina. Home to 173 sites, the campground offers restrooms, showers and laundry facilities which ensure campers are comfortable during their stay. Trailers and RVs of up to 40 feet can be accommodated, and each site has a picnic table and a barbecue/fire ring, as well as water, sewer and electrical (30 amp or 50 amp power) hook-ups. Wi-fi access is available for those who do not want to unplug.
About an hour from the Spirit Mountain Wilderness Area is the Cottonwood Cove Resort, which includes the Cottonwood Cove Campground. This large desert campground is on the Nevada side of Lake Mohave and is an upper campground and a lower campground, which is closer to the lake. RV and tent camping is possible at the upper and lower campgrounds, though the lower campground is recommended for tent camping and is considered a bit more private.
There are 145 total campsites, each offering full RV hook-ups as well as a picnic table and fire ring. Bathrooms with showers and a laundry facility are available at the campground, ensuring it is easy to clean up after a day (or more) of outdoor adventure.
About 35 minutes from the Spirit Mountain Wilderness Area is the Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area, which is home to a campground. The campground includes 24 sites and is open year-round. Sites, which include utility hook-ups, are first-come, first-served and can accommodate RVs and trailers of all sizes.
Each site has a shade ramada, a grill, and a fire pit. Three of the sites are ADA accessible (a permit is required). Campers at the Big Bend of Colorado Recreation Area campground will also have access to the campgrounds bathroom and shower facilities.
A great way to explore Spirit Mountain Wilderness is on foot by going for a hike. The area offers rugged landscape and hikers will be treated to granite boulders, rocky outcroppings, and cavernous canyons.
One trail, located near Searchlight, Nevada, is 3.8 miles (6.1 km) long and allows you to explore Spirit Mountain (the peak of which is the highest point of the Newberry Mountains) and its landscape, along with amazing views of the surrounding area. During your hike in the Wilderness Area, you will likely encounter few people and have the chance to enjoy the solitude of the mountain.
Found in Grapevine Canyon on Spirit Mountain are the Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs. Also known as Christmas Tree Pass, the petroglyphs can be found throughout the canyon, many of which at the canyon’s entrance. The area includes the largest number of petroglyphs, which are believed to be over 1000 years old, in southern Nevada.
With more than 700 petroglyphs, you will have the opportunity to view geometric shapes, human figures, and animals among the markings. In addition, as you explore the canyon you can view wild grapevines that cover portions of the canyon’s walls, along with three waterfalls flowing down the walls of the canyon.
Spirit Mountain Wilderness is a part of Lake Mead Recreation Area, which includes Lake Mead. The lake boasts beautiful blue water and year-round adventure opportunities. Explore the lake by boat, kayak or canoe or take a swim to cool off after an outdoor adventure.
There are a number of marinas at the lake (boat rentals are available) and you will find plenty of coves to further explore. Fishing is also a popular activity at Lake Mead.
Just five miles below Laughlin and about 35 minutes from the Spirit Mountain Wilderness Area, on the shores of the Colorado River is Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area. In this state recreation area, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun and to enjoy excellent scenery. During your visit, you can relax and have a picnic, spend some time fishing, go for a swim, or take a boat, kayak or canoe out on the water.
There is also a campground that has full hook-ups and restrooms, making it an ideal location for those looking to explore the area without being far from the amenities of Laughlin.
Found in Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort (both on street level and the South Tower’s third floor, Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Museum presents over 70 of the most unique cars, trucks and motorcycles that have been developed. You can also view antique slot machines and vintage gaming tables.
You don’t have to be a huge car fanatic to appreciate these vehicles and enjoy the rare opportunity to experience seeing so many of them in one location!
A few miles of nearby Laughlin’s northern Colorado riverfront have been developed into a trail system that offers walking trails, as well as fishing areas and a day use park. Known as the North Reach Trails, the area aims to provide recreation opportunities for visitors and residents while also protecting the resources of the area. Enjoy exploring the area and then easily grab a meal or do some shopping in Laughlin afterward!