Mummy Mountains Knees in Mt Charleston Wilderness, Nevada
Overview of Mummy Mountain’s Knees in Mt. Charleston Wilderness, Nevada
Mummy Mountain’s Knees are on the Eastern end of Mummy Mountain just before the toes. To see a really awesome image of Mummy Mountain where the Mummy comes out clearly, view the 4-Peak Circuit Page slide show. Mummy’s knees, pretty much unknown to most hikers, are a beautiful bristlecone pine forest arising out of what appears to be a solid slab of granite. Mummy’s knees are a cliff ledge surrounded by imposing cliffs facing sheer drops. The view from Mummy’s knees is spectacular including Mummy Mountain summit area, the North Ridge of Kyle Canyon, Lee Peak, Charleston Peak, the South Ridge of Kyle Canyon, Griffith Peak, Harris Mountain and the saddle between the two framing the length of Lovell Canyon with Potasi Mountain in the background. One can also see Mummy’s Toes with La Madre Mountain in the background, Centennial Hills, Gass Peak, the Sheep Range and Mt. Charleston Observatory.
Since few people know of the existence of Mummy’s Knees, that summit is a very peaceful solitary experience resting on the solid granite surface beneath ancient bristlecone pine trees. I’ve been up to Mummy’s Knees around 4 times now and have never seen a soul on that summit.
Trailhead Directions for Mummy Mountain’s Knees in Mt. Charleston Wilderness, Nevada
The adventure begins at the Trail Canyon Trailhead in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness about 30 miles from the Las Vegas Strip (as the crow flies). See the directions to the trailhead on the Mummy Mountain West page.
Trail Description for Mummy Mountain’s Knees in Mt. Charleston Wilderness, Nevada
All Approaches Lead to Mummy Mountain Knees
I began this trip with the intention of ending up at Mummy Mountain’s Toes, as reflected in the video. I’d been up to Mummy Mountain Knees 3 or 4 times before but never documented that adventure. Curiously, the topography of the area tends to suck one up to the knees and once you have arrived there it is somewhat of a dead-end, though very beautiful, with cliffs all around an the only entrance and exit seemingly a pretty straight line up and down the avalanche slope between Mummy Springs and Mummy’s Knees. You need to go out of your way to make another destination such as the Toes or the Eastern approaches to Mummy Mountain summit. I’ll make another attempt at Mummy Mountain Toes. It appears there is a faint route about 2/3rds up the main route to Mummy Mountain Knees that splits off to the left toward Mummy Mountain Toes.
Trail Canyon Trailhead to the North Loop Trail Junction
At any rate, from the Trail Canyon Trailhead head up Trail Canyon (the only direction the trail goes) for about 2 miles to where the Trail Canyon Trail intersects with the North Loop Trail. This first part of the route is a pretty substantial ascent! At the intersection you have 3 choices: Turn left and head up the North Loop Trail to Charleston Peak; Turn right and head up to Cockscomb Ridge; or continue straight on the North Loop Trail circling around toward the East side of Mummy Mountain. If you’re heading toward Mummy Mountain’s Knees you will need to take the third choice and continue straight on the North Loop Trail.
North Loop Trail Junction to Raintree
The North Loop Trail will circle around the right (East) end of Mummy Mountain (the prominent cliff that is Mummy Mountain’s Toes) gradually ascending to the base of the toes where the ancient 3,000 year-old Raintree is located. Along the way there are spectacular views of Harris Mountain, Griffith Peak, the saddle between (which together make up the Harris/Griffith Circuit) and Fletcher Peak.
Raintree to Mummy Springs
Once you arrive at Raintree you again have 2 choices: Turn right and continue along the North Loop Trail to the trailhead (or take the cut-off to Fletcher Peak); or continue straight on Mummy Springs trail to Mummy Springs and beyond. If you are heading toward Mummy Mountain’s Knees, continue straight toward Mummy Springs.
After about 1/4th mile you will arrive at Mummy Springs. Don’t be mistaken, it does not look like a spring. There is a ledge about 200 feet up a wash that is wet in a few places. This wet area on the rock remains water soaked year-round and is Mummy Springs. In the Fall, Winter and Spring the water dribbling over the rock turns to ice and builds up thick layers until it becomes a beautiful frozen cascading waterfall!
Mummy Springs to Mummy’s Knees Summit
Continue on past the base of Mummy Springs. It looks like the trail ends, but after only about 10-20 feet through the bushes the trail reappears and begins to switchback up the hill, circling around above Mummy Springs. About 100 yards directly above Mummy Springs the switchbacks become steeper as they begin to ascend a steep avalanche slope up the side of Mummy Mountain.
After about 1/8th – 1/4th mile the switchbacks are interrupted by a brief 20 foot class 3 climbing section (see the slide show and the video on this page). Above the class 3 climbing section the switchbacks continue and as you get closer to the summit of Mummy’s Knees, the avalanche slope becomes very steep, but still relatively easy to navigate without slipping.
About 1/2 – 1 mile above the class 3 climbing section you’ll arrive at the summit of Mummy’s Knees!