|Tramp Ridge (L), Virgin Peak (C), & Mud Hills (R) from Paradise Peak|
|Mica Peak from Paradise Ridge|
|Horse Spring Corral|
|Paradise Peak Trailhead|
Paradise Peak (3917') is the highest point on Paradise Ridge which rises very close to Tramp Ridge (5262') to the west of Gold Butte Road. The trailhead for the peak is located 13.7 miles down the graded dirt Gold Butte Road from Whitney Pocket passing the spur road to Devil's Throat about midway. There is a sharp bend to the right and a cow grate to mark the spot. Make an immediate right turn to park after crossing the cow grate. There should be a barbed wire fence to the north when you exit your vehicle. Today, ten hikers emerged from their cars and gathered their legs after a long bumpy ride. We were, in fact, what appeared to be "in the middle of nowhere!" This is what paradise looks like!
|Canyon Dip (Tramp Ridge in Background)|
To get to Whitney Pocket, exit I-15 at #112 (Riverside Bunkerville) and go east for 3 miles. After crossing the Virgin River, turn right onto Gold Butte Road. Follow the bumpy paved road for around 20 miles. You have arrived at Whitney Pocket. There is a toilet located in the parking lot to the right.
|Hiking down to Canyon Dip from Fence Crossing|
When you do finally get to the trailhead, please remember to park only on the dirt. Do not drive over desert foliage!
|Climbing up to the Ridge from Dip|
|Almost to Ridge|
We started up the hill near the fence and, soon, a trail appeared. It is small. The trail follows along the fence up the gentle hill toward the dominant ridge in the background. This is Tramp Ridge - named for its journey of 6 miles after breaking off from Azure Ridge found to the southeast. Gold Butte Road travels alongside Tramp Ridge for over 10 miles. Paradise Ridge is part of its complex make-up. The trail comes to where the fence has collapsed and crosses over it. Next, it leads down the hill on a diagonal to the rocky canyon below. We crossed the small canyon then started up the hill on the other side, still on a diagonal trajectory.
|Mud Hills and Gold Butte Road from Paradise Ridge|
The steepest part of the whole climb comes next. We set our own little switchbacks to make the climb easier but the object here is to reach the top of the first part of the trailing ridge.
|Tramp Ridge from Paradise Ridge|
Once on top, turn around and note the direction of the future descent. We used the curve of the distant road for our landmark. The climb continued at an easier rate, up the trailing ridge.
|Rita and Ralyn hiking the Ridge among Cacti|
|Whitney Pocket in Distance|
A trail reappears, sort of, as you near the summit ridge. Before you get to the top of the summit ridge, the trail heads in a diagonal direction up to the top. From there, just stay on or near the top of the ridge as you climb up and over a few false peaks. One of these false peaks has a large cairn built on the side. This is one of presumably three mining claim cairns. It was claimed in July of 1968 as the document inside a tobacco can proclaims. The claimer is from Salt Lake City but, other than that, the handwriting is difficult to discern. On another of the false peaks, we discovered a couple of beautifully preserved brachiopod fossils.
Another interesting thing about the ridge is its abundance of pineapple and old man cacti as seen in the second photo of this entry.
|Found a Nice Fossil on Return|
When we reached the peak, John H. noticed the second of the two mining cairns on the ridge just a little further down. We all went down to look and that's where I took the first photo of the entry.
|Taking a Break at the Canyon Dip|
|Hiking down the Fence Trail|
Paradise laid out before us! From the high Virgin Peak Range to the colorful Mud Hills and over to the Grand Wash and Arizona, the view was vast without a single man made object in viewing range ... except for Gold Butte Road. And, the road was a simple sliver of dirt. We stayed for a few moments then headed down the way we came. When we reached the canyon dip, we stopped for our break. There were several rocks for easy sitting here in a little bit of shade. The weather was perfect but the sun got warm when the breeze wasn't present. From there, we continued up and down the trail toward the cars.
|Be vewy vewy kwiet!|
Down the hill, I saw the white rocks that lined the old road over to the right. So, we crossed over the desert terrain to reach the rocks.
|Burro Trail down to Horse Spring|
There, desert hares started coming out of the joshua trees and yuccas! Here and there, one or two would hop away. We were left wondering if it was breeding time for the critters.
|Following a Burro Trail|
The old road led us to a largish wash. We turned left and followed along the wash and crossed Gold Butte Road. Exactly here, there is a burro trail that heads down toward the terrain "V." Here, all burro trails lead to Horse Spring! And, sure enough, after about 3/4 mile, we hiked into the spring area. The BLM has built a substantial fence structure around the spring pond, most likely to keep animals from trashing the water. They have also cleared a lot of the brush in this area since last year. I didn't see the wildlife camera this time! It's probably somewhere!
|Horse Spring Corral and Area|
The Horse Spring Corral sits beneath the cliffs on the opposite side of the wide canyon area. The corral is very fancy and is built with wood and a lot of rocks.
|Stone Fence snaking up Hill|
Up the hill on the other side of the canyon is a snaking rock wall. I have it from a good source that the fence is simply a fence. Without access to barbed wire, the ranchers used rocks to achieve their goal of controlling their cattle.
|Starting up the Wash next to Wall|
|Colors along Wash|
Raising cattle was never a lucrative business in the Gold Butte area so ranching died out leaving behind ruins of carefully made corrals all over Gold Butte. We returned to the cars by hiking up the wash next to the colorful wall. There is also a burro trail here that leads the way. This excursion is interesting for history and geology. Today's group of hikers were drinking it in enthusiastically! As icing on the cake, we stopped at the large sinkhole named Devil's Throat on the way back to Whitney Pocket. Great day!
5.2 miles; 1250 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours hike time; 2.5 hours drive time each way
|Wash & Burro Trail|
|Wash & Burro Trail|
|Devil's Throat Area with New Information Sign|