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No. 30 Bonanza Peak (10,397') Nevada

This guide is based on a Sage article by Bob Michael.

Topo Map: Charleston Peak 7½
Coordinates: Lat 36 21 34 Lon 115 44 47
Trip Stats: unknown


The access road to the trailhead (Cold Creek Road) takes off US 95 a few miles north of the Lee Canyon road (Nev. 156). You can't miss it - it's also the access road to a new prison. The mostly-paved road ascends "the mother of all bajadas" about 15 miles past a very remote residential development to the northern terminus of the Bonanza Trail, where the forest very abruptly begins at about 7600'.


Most of the route to Bonanza Peak is through a magnificent Ponderosa/white fir forest. We both observed that the forest seems denser and bigger here than in the Charleston Peak area just to the south. The well-graded trail soon begins a relentless series of switchbacks (I think we counted 71) to climb 2,500' up the steep face of the range. After gaining the crest of the range at about 10,000', the trail heads south and gradually upward through another splendid grove of ancient bristlecones. A little cairn a few hundred yards north of the peak, at the point where the trail turns decidedly downhill, shows where to strike upslope to the ridge and the last couple hundred feet of elevation gain to the gentle summit.


Although the trail is in heavy forest, just to the north is a strangely barren area which extends far to the north over 9977' Willow Peak. This area burned in a catastrophic fire in the 1970's. Except for a few scattered mature conifers which somehow escaped death, there is nothing but grass, weeds and brush; the forest is not regenerating. I suggest that this shows that the lush forest on the Springs is indeed an Ice Age relic. It can maintain itself, if not severely stressed, in a steady state, but cannot now re-establish itself from "scratch".

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Updated: February 9, 2012