Mummy Mountain, at 11,528 feet, is the second highest peak in the Spring Mountains, just 390ft short of Mt. Charleston, the highest, 11,918ft. However, when it comes to sheer massiveness, Mummy Mountain surpasses Mt. Charleston with a summit an entire half mile in length and wider than a football field. In terms of beauty Mummy Mountain again surpasses the barren Mt. Charleston with a landscape of ancient living bristlecone pine trees and sculpted, sun bleached bristlecone pine wood.
From the summit one can see sweeping views of Griffith Peak, Mt. Charleston and the ridge between, Kyle Canyon and Mt. Charleston Village, Lee Canyon, Las Vegas and the Strip, Gass Peak, the Sheep Mountain Range and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 States), La Madre Mountain Wilderness and the Keystone Thrust spanning upper Red Rock Canyon and Calico Basin, Pahrump, Telescope Peak, the Panamint Mountain Range (above Death Valley) and very faintly the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. There’s a lot more if you look carefully.
Driving to the trailhead at Trail Canyon is pretty easy, up I-95 North from Las Vegas, take a left at the Kyle Canyon exit, continue about 20 miles up Kyle Canyon to Mt. Charleston Village, pass a fire station continuing straight where the road bends to the left. You’ll arrive at a parking area (same parking used for Mary Jane Falls). In all, it’s less than 40 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
Head up Trail Canyon trail for about 2 miles until you reach the junction of the Trail Canyon trail and North Loop Trail. Take a left at the junction. You’re now on the North Loop Trail. Pass Cave Spring and continue the switchbacks upward for another mile until you see a sun-bleached bristlecone pine tree trunk marked with an “M” and an arrow pointing to the right.
Now any official trail disappears. Continue up a very steep scree avalanche slope I call “The Horrifying Half”. Take a right up the ridge at the top.
In about an 8th of a mile when you reach a rock wall turn left and skirt to the right and upward around the left edge of the rock wall. Continue up and take a left skirting along the base of the Mummy Mountain cliff face. In another 8th mile take a right up a V-shaped canyon on up to the summit. Note that there is no marked trail beyond the “M” tree, you’re pretty much on your own. A kind of trail will at times appear and disappear between the “M” tree and the summit, so go by the landmarks. Look back often so you know how the way should look when you return. It’s easy to get disoriented on the return trip and go down a false route ultimately ending in a huge cliff drop-off!
On the return trip if you want to loop over to the upper North Loop Trail avoiding descending down the “Horrifying Half” and reascending the North Loop here’s the key: Once you descend to the top of the “Horrifying Half”, descend about 50 ft, take a right and continue just below the top left side of the upper ridge. Skirt to the left of the rocky outcrop. Descend about 50 feet along a fallen tree. Take a sharp right and hug the rocky outcrop. Cross under a suspended tree trunk. Continue to weave your way along the upper ridge staying as high on the ridge as possible without ascending any vertical boulders. After the first 8th mile the ridge widens out. Stay on the Kyle Canyon cliff side of the ridge. A faint trail will appear and disappear along the way. Stick to the landmarks, not the trail. After a mile or so, when you see an abandoned ski lift tower take a left and descend off the ridge on to the North Loop Trail…surprisingly only about 50 yards from the ski tower! Now you can continue along the North Loop Trail to Mt. Charleston summit having saved yourself about 1000 feet descent and reascent.
Have fun! This is my favorite summit in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness!