Summary: This hike is definitely a climb, but it is fairly gradual and the switchbacks are not as brutal as the ones leading to Griffith Peak or Raintree. Although the trail is too narrow to safely "pony" a horse, mules or donkeys should have no problem. Is you have a loose suckling along, the slopes may be too rocky and steep for them to scamper about. Riding stock has done a great job of keep the soil hard packed on this trail, with very little loose rock or other problem areas. Keeping in mind the altitude, this is a super trail to work your animals on, and a good practice trail for your hunting horses to condition before season. Unless you have first hand knowledge of where some of the springs are located, you'd better pack all your water in. The meadows at the saddle are a very pleasant place to rest, lunch, or explore; but is not large enough to support an overnight horse camp, or grazing. Tie your horses instead of hobbling once you reach the saddle.
Trailhead: Follow instructions for Bonanza Peak to reach this trailhead in Cold Creek. The Bonanza Trail is a point to point with one trailhead in Cold Creek and the other in Lee Canyon. Because it is over 18 miles in length, you can break it into smaller sections to make one day hikes leading to peaks, valleys, meadows (like this saddle), or other points of interest. If you're used to hiking trails in Kyle, Lee, or Red Rock canyons; you'll be in for a surprise with the view you get looking into Death Valley. On a clear day, you can see Amargosa Valley, Cottonwood Mtns, Inyo Mtns., and the edge of the Sierra Nevadas. If you go a couple of miles past the saddle and reach Bonanza Peak, you'll be able to see the Pahranagat Range, and into Groom Lake (Area 51). You can also see the Kingston range beyond Sandy Valley and Pahrump. Up close, enjoy the beautiful Clark valley and Wheeler Pass area. Good view of 4WD road into Carpenter Canyon. (Lat:36.38201 Lon:-115.74064)
Trail Guides for Bonanza Saddle :
Hiking Around Las Vegas
by Jim Boone (Jim L. Boone)
USFS free trail guide handout for Spring Mtns (pickup at visitor center Kyle Canyon)
by Spring Mountains Natl Rec Area (USFS and USFWS)
120 Best Hikes in Southern Nevada and Beyond (CD)
by Branch Whitney (Branch Whitney)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Horses,
Ranger Contact: USFS Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, Spring Mtns NRA (702) 515-5400, emerg (702) 872-5306
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kat Green, who has posted 86 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Kat on 4/1/2006
David from West Virginia brings up a good point - PLEASE don't travel this remote area without a map, water, and other basic preparations. This is a primitive, desert area and there are zero provisions available in Cold Creek. Do NOT attempt to cross Wheeler Pass unless you've checked weather conditions and access with USFS FIRST. No drinking water available anywhere - leave the precious little water for game: elk, mule deer, wild horses as well as smaller mammals prolific (by desert standards) in this area.
Reviewed by david r on 7/25/2004
visiting from west verginia. we travel from enter pahrump we made some errors in traveling(without maps) throught wheeler pass. miss alot of turns for some how we got down using willow creek(or the wash)"my ant said that". place was great
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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