New York Peak Mojave National Preserve Desert Hike

The New York Mountains are a micro-range in the northeast corner of Mojave National Preserve. The highest peak in the range (7,533 feet) offers a sprawling desert vista, and is considerably easier to reach than other peaks in Mojave, which require slower hiking around cacti and other obstacles.

Those driving a low clearance vehicle will not be able to make it all the way up the dirt road leading to the Keystone Canyon Trail. Instead, pull to the side when the road gets too rough, and continue on foot. This is a 7-mile hike for those with a 4X4 and a nine miler for those who don’t. Between the road and the summit is 2,400 feet of elevation change.

For those on foot, the road is hard packed and movement is easy and swift. Posts in the road mark the end of the drivable portion. Continue up the canyon past a few roadside campgrounds. The terrain remains relatively easy to hike as the rugged road parallels and overlaps a dirt wash. Remain in the main channel and follow this deteriorating road up Keystone Canyon. Even if side-washes look appealing, remain with the main wash as this will bring you closest to the peak. At the top of the road/wash is a large soil deposit. Above the deposit is an abandoned mine with a few yards of rail line leading out the entrance.

Mojave National Preserve New York Mountains
The view from the mine

It is time to leave the clear easy trail and forge uphill to the summit. Climb the step wash just behind the mine. It is rocky but clear of any dense vegetation or other impediments. Hike your way up to the ridgeline, shifting your target to the saddle to the right of the high point in the ridge directly above the wash. Cross through the Juniper and Pinyon Pines, possibly stumbling upon a narrow footpath, which leads up to a clearing in the saddle.

On the other side of the saddle, lies the peak. All that stands in the way is the top of Caruthers Canyon. Take a line across the right side of the canyon, maintaining your elevation. Large rocks and vegetation force a bit of meandering, but the terrain remains good for hiking. Climb to the ridgeline at the top of Caruthers Canyon where sweeping views await. Look down the other side of the ridge toward the Clark Mountains and the 15 freeway.

Turn left toward the round summit of New York One. Beyond and to the left, the rocky Pinnacle of New York Two, the range’s highest point, should attract your attention. The views from the top are indeed panoramic and worthy of the class 3 climb required to reach the register. The west side seemed to provide the easiest access. Once atop the great rock, have a look down on Pinto Valley and the southern end of the New York Range, a mesmerizing collection of steeple-like rock formations. After soaking in the view, return the way you came. No fee or permit is required to hike to New York Peak in Mojave National Preserve, so get out and enjoy.

Mojave National Preserve New York Mountains
Looking down on New York One from New York Two

To get to the trailhead: From the 15 freeway, exit on Nipton Road. Turn right on to Ivanpah Road and head south for 18 miles. Turn right on an unmarked dirt road. Bear left at the V. Those driving low clearance vehicles should find a place to park when the road gets to tough. At the next fork in the road, turn right down the marked road toward Keystone Canyon. The 4X4 parking is at the end of the road.

Trailhead address: Unnamed Road to Keyston Canyon off Ivanpah Road, Mojave National Preserve, CA 92364
Trailhead coordinates: 35.27675, -115.2518 (35° 16′ 36.3″N 115° 15′ 06.5″W)

Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.
Trail Map

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These photos were taken in January of 2010. Click to enlarge.
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Tagged with · Desert Canyons · Free Trails · Off Trail · Summits
Distance: 7 miles · Elevation change: 2400 feet

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5 Comments on New York Peak in Mojave National Preserve

  1. Richard Dorr wrote:

    I just finished reading the story on the New York Mt. 1 & 2
    My experiance in this area was an important part of my life, my parents & granparents (Alexander) lived in this area for many years & I spent a great deal of time working at the abandoned mine (the Dorr Mine) you referred to.
    Why did you choose to explore the summit from Caruthers rather than driving to the old mine road from Pinto Valley and then hiking to the summit on the old mine road (approx. 2 miles) & then to the summit? I climbed to the top of that peak when I was 12 years old, my father had built a monument of rock & left all who climbed there, our names in an old tobacco box inside the monument, I guess overtime it was destroyed by others. I am 73 at this time & one of the few Dorr’s & Alexander’s left to record the history of the E. Mojave & it’s homesteaders. My dad left the area in the 50’s but we continued visits through the years, I was last there in 1978.
    Richard Dorr

    • thorn wrote:

      looks like there may be some private property along that road, and it doesnt go as far up as it used to, it is very deteriorated. that does look like an interesting route for a long hike though, ill be looking into whether private property blocks the path or not

  2. thorn wrote:

    Very helpful info on this page…made it!! the peak of NY 1 was a little too crazy and i was alone so i skipped the last bit but i got on top of NY 2 .. what a GREAT hike to get up there.. very challenging, route finding, super steep in places.. and so much fun!! keep an eye out for rattlesnakes

  3. […] There is not an actual trail. This was my first hike that wasn’t on a trail. I laughed when I read the trail instructions: […]

  4. Christian Mingles wrote:

    I just bagged New York Peak this past weekend. There are actually two peaks most often referred to as New York 1 and New York 2. New York 2 is the higher one behind New York 1 and the more challenging. This hike should be started from Carruthers Canyon not Keystone as Keystone is much harder to find. Those in good shape should be able to bag New York 2 in around six hours round trip. Reaching the summit is class 3 and it is quite difficult to find a doable route. It does exist on the north facing side of the peak. The best way to access New York 2 is to follow Carruthers Canyon all the way up to the saddle then hike around to the north facing side of the peak. The views from the top are truly stunning and you are highly unlikely to see any other hikers. This is more of a range than a hike. No trail of any kind is noticeable.