Chuckwalla Mountains, Black Butte


By: Ron Jones


A group of three met Saturday morning in the coffee shop at Desert Center. We used the route for Chuckwalla described by George Neuner in SAGE #160. Following Cuno's anecdotes and puns up the mountain we were on the summit in an easy one and one-half hours, and had returned to the car before lunch.

That afternoon we drove west on I-10 through Desert Center turning south onto the signed Red Cloud exit, ten miles west of Desert Center or nine miles east of Chiriaco Summit. We spent Saturday afternoon watching the ants and starting on the social hours early before the night time camp fire.

Sunday morning we followed Dick and Shirley Akawie's driving approach for Black Butte described in SAGE #131 from 1976. From I-10 we drove 2.1 mi south on the Red Cloud Road to the road along the Eagle Mountain ore carrying railroad line, 0.1 mi along the track and then 1.8 mi farther on the Red Cloud road to a junction with the Gas Line road which is paralleled by a power line. We went 8 mi south on the well graded Gas Line road to the obvious intersection with the Bradshaw Road shown on the Chuckwalla Mtn. quadrangle but not shown on the AAA Riverside County map.

Turning east on the Bradshaw road one goes about 7.3 mi, passing the cement foundations of a ruined building on the right at about 7.1 mi, to the difficult-to-see jeep road shown on the topo. It is currently marked by a thin three foot high metal post and some red streamers. Any passenger car can drive this far. All high clearance cars, vans, or pick-ups can negotiate the 3.1 plus miles north on the jeep road to the old camp near the unseen, to us, Gulliday Well. We walked a half mile or so along the road and then climbed directly up the large wash leading directly to Black Butte. Again we took about one and one-half hours to the summit where we celebrated Cuno's second climb of both the weekend's peaks. The weekend left me with ninety peaks climbed and only three to go on my first go-around on the list.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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