Pinto Mountain, Orocopia Mountains


By: Roy Ward


24 people met at the picnic area of Cottonwood Spring Campground. This is reached by going east on I-10 about 25 mi from Indio, then turning north into Joshua Tree National Monument and driving 8 miles. We carpooled and traveled about 4 mi NW of the Old Dale Road. There we took a dirt road going due north toward Pinto. for about 1-1/2 miles. We arrived after sticking two vehicles in the sand. These were dug out without much trouble. We hiked north across the sand and up a large fan to a canyon which we followed till it branched. We took the ridge between them. The best way is stay in the right hand canyon until almost the head of it - then come out to the ridge on the left and on to the peak. We were on the peak a little after 11:00am, ate lunch, then hiked back to the cars and were off for Orocopia.

We caravaned back to the I-10 crossing of the road to Mecca. After crossing the super slab where the Mecca road curves right, we turned left on a black top road for .6 mi then turned right, south, at 1.0 mi stay right then follow the main road for another 3.7 mi. The road ends as far as most cars are concerned, as it crosses a deep wash. We camped and had a nice evening fire. The next AM we crossed the wash and stayed on the jeep road along side a major wash on the west until the road went up a small sharp knoll. Here we dropped into the wash, following it until it branched. We followed the left branch and as soon as possible climbed out the right side and dropped back into the wash to the west. This bypasses a large waterfall in the right hand branch. Follow the main wash, at the next junction of equal size turn right, next fort left and at next turn right. At the head of the wash come out on the right side and contour around to the left, to the saddle, then up the ridge to the peak. We were on top in l-1/2 hours. Here we had a beautiful view of the Salton Sea. After a snack and some picture taking, we retraced our steps and arrived back to the cars before noon. We had several newcomers to the desert and all bagged their first desert peak.

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