Black Mountains


By: Ted Brasket


If you've been to Laughlin, Nevada, you couldn't help noticing the rugged skyline across the Colorado River in Arizona. That's the Black Mountain range. The drive route to Sitgreaves Pass on Oatman Road (Historical Route 66) and the map will get you the three highest peaks in the area (see the end of this article for specific driving instructions). There are many more mountains to explore, but that's another story. The trailhead parking at Sitgreaves Pass is a rare treat. No bouncing over 4x4 roads involved. Take your low slung sport car and a tent for a change.

From the parking area, cross the highway and climb steeply up to the high point north of the highway. From here you can see all the peaks on this map and many more. The compass bearings on the map to Mt. Nutt and Nutt are from this point. Thanks to wild burros and big horns in the area, there are some trails. A fast pace can be set for the first two miles. From northwest of point 4350, drop off the low point of a gentle ridge. It's a steep 400' drop to the bottom of the wash. From a low spot on this ridge, and reading 30 degrees (15M) to prominent point 3889, is about the best place for the descent. Cross the wash and up the bank is a long white rock formation. Get on the ledge nearest the top of this formation and go around the end of it. From this point you can find your way above the huge dry waterfall and below the shear cliffs coming down from point 3889. This is a rugged, scenic wonderland. Note the huge horizontal opening in the cliffs below point 3889 on your way to the canyon bottom. Cross the canyon bottom at 3400' then go up the other side. There is route finding fun and some easy 3rd class up through the cliffs on our route. If you prefer loose, steep washes you can stay left of the cliffs on the way up. From Mt. Nutt, a good time can be made for the rest of the loop. The tri- state views are outstanding. Laughlin, up and down the Colorado River, Spirit Mountain, Tipton, the Haulapi Range, etc.,etc.

Peak 4955' - Class 3 6 miles, 1800' gain, 4-1/2 hours

Do this peak from the same trailhead. When doing the loop described above, note the only obvious route up peak 4955 on the way by. This peak deserves a name. It's a spectacular, lofty sight from the highway below. Jeanette and I took rope for this one. It is highly fractured rock with gravel where you don't need it.

Driving instructions: Driving east on I-40 exit just west of Needles and follow the Bullhead City signs through town. A bridge across the Colorado takes you to Arizona. A short distance into Arizona, you'll come to Highway 95. Go north approximately 7 miles to Oatman Road. Turn right, east. Stay on this roadgoing through the historic town of Oatman and on up to Sitgreaves Pass. Park on the south side of the highway, just 50' west of the summit. Driving north on CA 95 from Vidal Junction, drive under I-40 in Needles. 95 turns into Broadway. Follow it to K street and turn right to the bridge.

From Laughlin, NV, cross the bridge into Arizona. Go straight through the first stop light. That puts you on a fairly new by-pass around Bullhead City. In approximately 5 miles, take Silver Creek Road, an excellent dirt road, east for 11 miles. This road ends on the Oatman Road between Oatman and Sitgreaves Pass. Turn left on this scenic highway a short but slow drive to the Pass at 3550' elevation.

From southwest at Kingman on I-40, get off at Exit 44. Follow Oatman road signs. It's 19 miles to Sitgreaves Pass.

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