Colosseum Gorge Trail, Ivanpah Mountains Trail and Cima Dome
March 31 - April 1, 2007
We ran some easier trails mostly in the Mojave Preserve for a
relaxing weekend in the desert. With little rain this
winter, spring is a dry time in the desert this year with few
flowers but still plenty to see and do. So we loaded up
for an easy exploratory trip.
The Colosseum Gorge Trail provides a great view of the
Colosseum Open Pit Mine (gold) as well as assorted
old mining cabins. It starts just north west of the the Prim Golf
Club that is often seen on the way to Las Vegas
on I-15 and heads west just north of Clark Mountain.
The Ivanpah Mountains Trail runs south along the west face of
the Ivanpah Mountains, starting east of Cima Road
and the I15 at Mountain Pass. It has many beautiful views and some old
mining ruins, the most impressive of
which is the 60 foot headframe of the Evening Star Mine which produced
tungsten and tin from about 1939 to 1944.
The area around Riley's Camp is very impressive. We camped off this trail
and had a great place for our evening
meal, camp fire and rest.
The Cima Dome Trail runs west from just north of Surprise Rock
along the north side of the Cima Dome. Cima
means summit in Spanish and the Cima Dome is a batholith, a volcanic mass
of quarts monzonite that is lava that
never completely surfaced. It forms a nearly round 1,500 foot tall bump
that is about ten miles across on the
desert floor. It is so huge it is hard to tell you are on it! After
that the trail descends to an area of cinder cones and
lava flows. Some eruptions in the area were up to 7 million years
ago and some as recent as 10,000 yeas ago.
We visited one of the closed cinder mines in the area and then exited the dirt!
We stopped at Kelso, a
nearly empty town now but in its day key to the rail lines
in and out of Barstow and through this part of the desert. The
Kelso Depot has
been wonderfully restored. Its
original purpose was to supply trains with water and helper engines to
help them over Cima Grade. Today it is
the a museum and provides offices for the Mohave Preserve. Well worth the