DRIVE: Since Mount Palmer and Grapevine Peak share the same trailhead, follow the Drive directions for Grapevine Peak, Guide No. 2.12 to the start of the climb..
CLIMB: From the saddle at 7520 feet elevation head S for about 0.4 miles, following the ridge to a spot just NW of point 7980. Drop SSW here for about 400 feet and 0.4 miles to a saddle, then SW over point 7780. Continue along the ridge over the next bump (point 7680+) and down to a saddle. Turn S here, losing about 300 feet of elevation in 0.5 miles to another saddle. Continuing S, hike uphill along the ridge to point 7760+, located about 1.0 mile NW of the summit at UTM 871852. Now you're finally on the summit ridge of Palmer. Hike SE along the bumpy ridge to the deep saddle just before the summit mass. At this point you can climb directly up the cliff ahead of you (loose Class 3) or bypass it by the following route: From the saddle, climb up 30 or 40 feet toward the cliff ahead, picking up a faint, ducked trail which heads right (S). Follow this trail as it traverses a chute and then drops 15 feet to a notch. Proceeding through the notch to the next chute, ascend it for 50 feet to where you can exit right and follow easy slopes to the summit. NOTE: Mt. Palmer is a long day hike. Small groups in very good shape can do it in 6-7 hours roundtrip, but larger groups with slow hikers will need considerably more time. Do allow plenty of time to return to the cars in daylight and take ample water and food with you for this trip.
ROUND TRIP STATS/2WD: 4200 feet elevation gain, 11 miles, 10 hours
ROUND TRIP STATS/4WD: 3300 feet elevation gain, 9 miles, 8-9 hours
- This peak is located within the boundary of Death Valley National Park.
- Mount Palmer was named in honor of Dr. Theodore S. Palmer, a biologist who participated in the Department of Agriculture's Death Valley Expedition in 1891. The expedition was particularly interested in discovering new plant and animal species as well as studying the many life zones encountered from the floor of Death Valley to the summits of the Panamint Mountains.
- Bailey Hot Springs, about 5 miles NW of Beatty, NV on US 95 has large indoor hot pools for soaking your tired bones after climbs of Grapevine and Palmer. There is a nominal fee for use of the pools.
- There is primitive camping found along the road to the trailhead at various pullouts. There is no water or other facilities.
- A full size pickup truck with pop-up camper made it to the saddle in Oct 2020. One area may require rock stacking. Pinyon pines encroach the road, but many were trimmed years ago.