Teutonia Peak is a rocky 5,755-foot mountain on the edge of Cima Dome in Mojave National Preserve. The dome, which is 1,500 feet tall and covers seventy square miles, is the most symmetrical dome of its type in the United States. If that geological geometrical fact doesn’t strike your fancy, the hike to the panoramic rocky summit will. It is 3.4 to 4 miles round trip with 700 feet of elevation gain, passing an abandoned silver mine and a thriving forest of Joshua trees along the way to the summit of Teutonia Peak.
A sign at the trailhead offers this description of Teutonia Peak Trail:
While crossing the slope of Cima Dome in its first mile, Teutonia Peak Trail passes through the densest concentration of Joshua trees in the world. After passing the remnants of the old Teutonia Mine, the trail gains 750 feet ascending the rocky peak in the distance.
Indeed, the hike starts with a gradual trail through an impressive forest of Joshua Trees, followed by a steep hike through yucca and barrel cactus to the 5,755-foot summit of Teutonia Peak, which offers great views of Cima Dome and the surrounding desert landscapes.
Set out heading south from Cima Road on a gradual jeep trail through a dense forest of large Joshua trees. Maintain a southwest bearing toward the Teutonia Peak, crossing another jeep trail about half a mile from the start.
At just under one mile from the start, Teutonia Peak Trail makes a sharp bend to the right, passing a spur trail on the left to Teutonia Mine. Just past this unmarked junction, Teutonia Peak Trail leaves the jeep, heading up a single track trail to Teutonia Peak. This junction is marked, but the route to Teutonia Mine is less clear.
At the spot where Teutonia Peak Trail makes the sharp bend to the right, a jeep trail breaks off to the left toward the mine. The old road is wide, but no markers indicate that this is the route to the mine. If you turn left here, you will pass the small wooden ruins of what looks like a collapsed shed, before arriving at a trio of ruins a quarter mile from Teutonia Peak Trail. On the north side of the jeep trail you will spot the large wooden ruins of a collapsed structure. Just off the south side of the road across from these ruins, is a large mine shaft dropping into the earth that is covered by an iron grate. Straight ahead, between the two, is a fenced-off mine shaft. While this shaft is not covered in a grate, be safe and stay behind the fence.
The history of Teutonia Mine is described by the sign at the trailhead:
This silver mine was first worked in 1896, but was quickly abandoned. In 1906, Charles Togel discovered the old mine, interested investors, and built roads and a small camp called Togel City. However, Teutonia Mine was soon abandoned again – like so many others in the Mojave Desert.
Return to Teutonia Peak Trail and make the left turn up the single track just past the spur to Teutonia Mine. From here it is a short walk, crossing a final jeep road to reach the base of Teutonia Peak, 1.15 miles from the trailhead (excluding the spur trail to Teutonia Mine).
Climb stone steps on the lower slopes of Teutonia Peak as the ascent begins in earnest. After 0.17 miles of switchbacks, the trail reaches a saddle on a ridge northwest of the summit. The grade steepens as you continue toward the top and the views expand. You will be treated to a fantastic perspective of Cima Dome to the southwest. The strange horizon curves away in the shape of a large even dome, looking like a landscape distorted by a fisheye lens.
The maintained single track comes to an end 1.7 miles from the start (excluding the spur trail to Teutonia Mine) at a notch just below the rocky pillars at the top of Teutonia Peak. Experienced climbers may scramble up the rocks to the summit, but that is not necessary to enjoy the splendid views offered by this short hike.
Before returning the way you came, you may wish to descend a tenth of a mile off the east side of the summit for a broad view over the landscape northeast of the peak, including Kessler Peak, which rises from the desert floor on the opposite side of Cima Road. This ledge also has a good perspective back up at the rocky crown of Teutonia Peak.
It is 3.4 miles out and back to the top of Teutonia Peak with 700 feet of elevation gain. Adding Teutonia Mine to the agenda expands the expedition to 4 miles with the same elevation gain. No fee or permit is required to hike to Teutonia Peak in Mojave National Preserve, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: From Cima, drive north on Cima Road for 6 miles to a turnout at the trailhead. From the 15 Freeway, exit Cima Road and drive south for 11 miles to the turnout. The trailhead is on the south side of the road a quarter mile west of the White Cross World War I Memorial.
Trailhead address: Cima Road, Mojave National Preserve, CA 92364
Trailhead coordinates: 35.31625, -115.5525 (35° 18′ 58.5″N 115° 33′ 09″W)
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